studio - American Radio History
STUDIO
SOUND
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..S
The more we listened
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....S
....S
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In spite of.itslsophi;ticated stylingVienna is, like all
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SOUNDCRAFT. A HARMAN INTERNATIONAL COMPANY. CRANBORNE HOUSE. CRANBORNE IND. ESTATE. POTTERS BAR. HEFTS EN6 3JN TEL (0707) 665000 FAX: (0707) 660482
STUDIO
AND BROADCAST ENGINEERING
Red Square Invites
Editorial:
News:
- see page
30
Studio Sound's viewpoint on the role of live music
News and events from the world of pro -audio including the Fostex ADAT
DSP Conference
of DSP as discussed at a recent UK AES conference
Dolby's Model 740 Spectral Processor gives equalisation
a new slant. Keith Spencer-Allen gets an angle
News Review;
Music News:
A report by Keith Spencer -Allen on the possible future
Zenon Schoepe looks at the shape of MIDI controllers
AESProducts:
Product news direct from the San Francisco AES show
Live Mixing Consoles:
10 Da y s In Moscow
Augen 408 OMX:
Roer
g Llndsa y
An update on currently -available PA consoles
Mike Lethby reports on
a recent Red Square festival
the Dutch way
Ralph Denyer talks to a live sound man who has worked
with everyone from Frank Sinatra to Frank Zappa
Prince is probably the biggest live draw of them all
says Mike Lethby, by royal appointment
y
Bombay
ix;
The Indian film industry is the world's largest.
Caroline Moss assesses the supporting studio scene
wa
Sony C800 and C800G: Keith
to Sony's new valvenmi sus
Business:
The future and pricing of CD -R and the efficiency
of press presentations. Barry Fox comments
PerspY ective:
Electrical safety and the project studio.
Budget not bodge -it, advises US columnist Martin Polon
Tascam MSR-24S.
.
Craft:
9
13
15
21
22
28
30
38
Dom Yasmis recording
Yamaha PM4000: Patrick Stapley on Yamaha's new live mixing console
Prince:
5
24 tracks, 1-inch tape and Dolby S
as heard by Sam Wise
Keith Spencer -Allen hosts the engineer's survival course
43
46
48
53
56
60
63
65
74
3
A new angle to the Dream Machine...
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STUDIO
m
SOUND
AND BROADCAST ENGINEERING
November 1992
Volume 34 Number
ISSN 0144 5944
11
EDITORIAL
Editor: Tim Goodyer
Assistant Editor: Julian Mitchell
Production Editor: Peter Stanbury
Jus Musicalfis
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 Stepley
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
EDITORIAL & ADVERTISEMENT OFFICES
Spotlight Publications Ltd, 8th Floor, Ludgate
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Spotlight Publications Ltd 1992. All rights
reserved.
©
Origination by Ashford Scanning Studio Ltd,
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Printed in England by Riverside Press, St Ives plc,
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Studio Sound and Broadcast Engineering
incorporates Sound International and Beat
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Studio Sound is published monthly.
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Subscription Enquiries
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iN' 's:',,,' ,..'
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»
tn,..o....,.
Total average net circulation of 19,114 issues during
1991. UK:8,262. Overseas: 10,852. (ABC audited)
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Director: Doug Shuard
Publisher: Steve Haysom
L____
At a recent gig, UK rave act Altern 8 declared rock 'n' roll dead, employing a witch doctor
to invoke spirits to watch over its corpse and (ironically) sacrificing a Fender Stratocaster
to commemorate the event. Only days later I called the Virgin Records press office to
discover that they were in over their heads trying to handle enquiries related to a
forthcoming tour by aged progressive rockers Genesis. Add to this the recent spate of
`traditional' stage theatrics tours by the likes of Michael Jackson, Guns 'n Roses and
Prince, and there is a strong suggestion that someone, somewhere had got it wrong about
rock 'n' roll.
But the question has to be raised: what is the purpose of live music in the '90s? After
all, the general direction of instrument development is leading us towards a situation
where instruments are no longer strictly `live' tools synthesisers, drum machines,
MIDI wind controllers, drum pads and even electric guitars produce little or no acoustic
sound. Such instruments become nonfunctional out of reach of a mains outlet, implicitly
questioning the definition of `live' performance. And even if you are using the older, truly
acoustic version of a drum kit for example, what proportion of an audience hear this
rather than the sound provided by the sound reinforcement rig? Admittedly the
performance is `live', but the sound...? So why continue to battle the vagaries of
musicians' performance, hostile acoustics and the logistics of live venues when the studio
environment can be made so amenable to the creation of music?
In fact, the matter of live performance raises several issues of surprising importance.
The first of these concerns old -style rock music; while it is intellectually acceptable to
claim that very little ground has been covered beyond that of Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin
and Deep Purple, such an argument leaves subsequent generations of music fans starved
of first -generation musical performance. Instead, they are offered the past as a collection
of poor recordings and a large helping of folklore. Indeed the whole business of viewing
past live performances could be likened to looking at old black and white photographs
and believing that the whole world once appeared only in shades of grey. Coming further
up to date, the current dance phenomenon dubbed `rave' only really produces records so
that they can be replayed to a live audience; certainly, few such recordings are purchased
for use as `home entertainment'.
Curiously, rave culture gives us the cue to understanding the continued function of
live music
the experience of being part of a communal musical event, as any advocate
of jazz or classical music will surely confirm.
The old problems presented by live acoustics live on reflections from venue walls if
they have them, phase cancellations as unpredictable as the wind if they have not. The
fact that thousands of people are prepared to sacrifice the consistent performance of their
hi-fi in favour of the uncertain performance of the artist and the PA system (not to
mention the occasional soaking handed out by the weather) is a tribute to the continued
power of music irrespective of the state of the technology supporting it and of any specific
musical genre.
Returning to the questionable posturing of Altern 8, it is true that rock music is
showing its 30 -odd years and that it no longer serves youth culture in the way it once
did, but there are still generations of teenagers who are demanding a piece of the action
as one old -style rock band put it, `It's the natural thing you did at the start, the
natural blood starts to flow...'
-
Tim Goodyer
Cover: U2 Zoo Tour
Photograph: Mike Lethby
United Newspapers publication
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eight track one and consists of a
largish remote and 3U box which
houses the disks. As an all round
recording system its still in its
infancy, although software to remedy
certain chase and lock problems is
filtering through, Madden 'We have
absolutely no problem with the sound
of the system, its great, but you have
to use it as a master. It doesn't lock to
SMPTE at the moment only
references to it and so when we had
some slippage problems with the 3M
Intimate studios, great for drums and table tennis
tape on the multitrack, the Roland
couldn't follow it when really it
Madden brought in producer Errol
should have. But we are promised
Henry to base his Intimate
new software for this and complete
Productions company there and
machine control through a Mac.'
renamed the place Intimate Studios,
In fact the studio likes the system
although The Smokehouse name has
a lot, so much that they intend to add
been kept as a monicker of times
another eight tracks to the main
Pennington Street in London's
past.
studios capacity and put an eight
Dockland is the home of The Sun and
The studio now has two rooms, the
track stand -alone system in the
The Sunday Times newspapers, one
second being a programming room for programming suite. They hope that
of Britain's more controversial
Henry's work although its proving
having a Roland recording device will
tabloids and one of the more popular
popular with its MCI desk and racks
appeal to home programmers and
Sunday broadsheets. Most human
of MIDI equipment including Akai
tempt them out of their home studios.
traffic along the street consists of
1100 HD, MIDIMoog, PPG, C -Lab
At £35 an hour for the main studio
demos against the papers editorials
Multi -Port and a Yamaha TG100. The and £20 for the programming room
(the latest being a Jewish demo
main studio is more conventional
(this doesn't include the DM80)
against the publication of the
looking and attractive with its
Intimate are trying to encourage
Goebbels' diaries in The Sunday
skylights and nest of highly cherished young programmers and bands to
Times), page 3 models, tory
valve microphones huddling in a
either demo their songs or turn their
politicians and more recently
corner. The control room houses less
demos into something worthwhile,
musicians.
conventional things.
although the studio does not turn
The musicians, while glancing at
Paul Madden bought a Harrison
down established acts, Errol Henry
the fortress gates of News
console from Marcus studios and then and his assistant Chris Madden
International, the home of the papers, bought another from Red Bus studios. (Paul's brother) have just finished six
head for number 120, where an old
Not for two rooms but to be bolted
of the tracks on Lulu's latest album,
recording studio has been refurbished together to offer 64 channels and to
they were initially promised just one,
and reborn.
form the heart of Intimate Studios.
and since opening albums have been
Back in 1989 it was The
Spares do not seem to be a problem as completed for The Jones Girls on ARP
Smokehouse Studio owned by Jeff
Madden opportunely bought all
and PAN on Big Cat Records.
Ward. He spent quite a lot of money
Bauch's when they went out of
Outboard equipment is many and
on a naturally lit recording area with
business. Automation for the desk is
varied and includes some classics, all
overdub space and a fair sized control from Optifile's 3D system and until
in racks and available. They are
room, but it was never going to be
recently all recording was to two
Ludwig drums, synths (PPG Wave
enough the beat the recession
Otani MTR 90s. Now one has gone
2.2, Juno 1 to name just two) and
head -on. The studio was closed and
and in its place is Roland's new
mics (Sony C12s, U87s, D12s to name
left empty until May this year when
semipro DM80 hard disk
just three). The main room can hold
Paul Madden, who owned a studio
recording- editing system.
30 musicians with an overdub room.
called Madhouse in Luton, found it
Paul Madden, 'I'm from the old
Officially the studio isn't residential
and a leasing agreement that would
school, I'm a musician and needed the although if need be bands can stay on
allow the studio to be very flexible
live room for drums which sound
Madden's boat, which is moored at
and responsive for fledgling bands.
great in there. I don't believe in
nearby St Catherine's Dock.
digital tape recorders especially now
Intimate Studios are trying to
you can use tape like 3M's 996 and
move with the times and encourage
get nearly the same result for much
good performance through good
less money. We knew though that the service and equipment at a
MBPs new Series 5 and Series 10 low
future was in hard disk recording and reasonable rate. If that fits your bill
cost on-air consoles for local,
were looking for a basic editing
then check them out.
college and hospital radio stations
system. We looked at Sound Tools but
Julian Mitchell
made their first brief appearance at
it seemed to offer more than we
Intimate Studios, The
the recent SBES exhibition before
needed. The Roland system is so easy Smokehouse, 120 Pennington
being stolen. both desks are
anybody who is used to an analogue
Street, London. El
prototypes, nether
A$
carry serial
multitrack can learn how to use it
Tel: 071 702 0789.
numbers. Any Info to Alison Brett at
almost immediately.'
Fax: 071 702 0919.
Soundcraft. Tel: 0707 665000
The Roland system is basically an
Intimate
Madhouse
Prototype Theft
A date with ADAT
In a surprise announcement made at
the San Francisco AES show, Alesis
declared their intention to make the
technology behind their ADAT
available to Fostex for use in their
own digital audio recording system.
Ivor Taylor of Fostex UK
comments: 'We spent a long time
looking at which way to go. We
already had a similar level of
technology from time code DAT, so we
originally looked at the ADAT on a
competitive level and found it to be a
clever, low-cost, reliable format which
looks like having a long future.'
'We are very excited,' says Alesis'
Allen Wald, 'because Fostex have a
very powerful engineering and
marketing team and we really admire
what they do it's actually not that
different from what we do at Alesis.'
-
The unorthodox collaboration
between these American and
Japanese companies coincides with
the first official showing (also in
San Francisco) of Tascam's answer to
the ADAT, the DA -88. Along with
DCC and MiniDisc, these machines
are set to present us with another
'format war' as the DA -88 records to
Hi -8 video tape as opposed to the
ADAT's use of S-` HS.
'We think we have a superior
format,' speculates Wald, 'and Fostex
wanted to do a deal to bring a Fostex
ADAT to the market.'
'We didn't want to introduce a
third format,' Taylor confirms.
'Having multiple formats for
customers is bad, bad news
anybody who uses both Macintosh
and IBM computers will tell you how
bad that news is. This situation gives
us the possibility of supporting a
format with a long -term future.'
-
In -Brief
Central Productions, the
subsidiary of Central TV based
in Nottingham, has bought a
Lightworks random access
nonlinear video editor to edit
dramas for ITV.
Genelec are to install one pair
of 1033As and two pairs of
1031As in the new premises of
The Music Conservatory of
Gothenburg, Sweden. Also
Andre di Cesare, a record
producer based in Montreal has
decided to buy a pair of Genelec
1033As as main monitors and a
pair of 1031A as nearfields.
9
World Studio Group, 216 30
N.Lucerne Blvd, Los Angeles,
CA 9004. Tel -Fax: +1 213 465 7697.
exicon
HEARD IN
All THE RIGHT
PLACES
Worldwide Distributors
Neue and AMS
Amber Technology
AUSTRALIA:
(61) 2- 915 -1211
Audio Sales
AUSTRIA:
finally merge
(43)223 643223
TransEuropean Music
BELGIUM:
As from the 1st of October Neve
Electronics and AMS Industries
Buddy Brundo (Conway Studios) and Chris Stone (WSG) with
assembled WSG members
World Studio
Group
A worldwide studio booking agency
has been set up by Record Plant
founder Chris Stone. The World
Studio Group however will not be
dealing with any studio, just the top
125 recording studios in the world.
The Group already has 25 members
although the service is not expected
to start until the end of the year or
the beginning of next.
The Group has been set up in the
last two months and announced
officially at last months AES in San
Francisco. They have seen a niche for
this service which has been caused by
a change in the booking methods of
the people who pay bills to the
studios. Booking decisions are now
seen to be made more by the creative
contingent than by the record labels
or. film companies. The argument is
that those people would like an
organisation whose judgment they
trust to point them in the right
direction as to what studios have
what facilities and where.
The World Studio Group hope to be
that organisation and are looking for
125 studios worldwide to work with.
The studios will be asked, on an
invitation only geographically
weighted basis to join. Every year the
members will be assessed again to
make sure their high standards are
kept up. Criteria would include
equipment levels; ambience;
amenities; tech support; a cost
efficiency ratio based on cost per
minute of music kept; downtime; tape
cost; location; attitude and service for
each industry speciality.
Once a studio has been accepted
they will pay the WSG a 10%
10
Studio Sound, November 1992
commission of actual time booked and
used, and they pay WSG when they
are paid by the client. Their
membership also qualifies them to
book other member studios through
the WSG for their clients when they
travel, for which they receive 5%
commission on the same basis.
Studios who are nominally signed
up include Conway, LA; Andora, LA;
Right Track NYC; Skyline, NYC; Bad
Animals, Seattle; Paisely Park,
Minneapolis; Arden, Memphis; Music
Mill, Nashville; Skywalker Sound N,
San Francisco; Crescent Moon,
Miami; BOP, Bophuthatswana;
Caribbean Sound Basin, Trinidad;
Capri Digital, Italy; Wisseloord
Studios, Holland; MG Sound, Vienna;
Hitokuchi -Zaka, Tokyo; Mosfulm,
Moscow; Rhinoceros Sydney,
Australia; Metropolis and Nomis in
London; Guillaume Tell, Paris;
McClear Place, Toronto and El
Cortigo, Spain.
Buddy Brundo, owner of Conway
Studios in Los Angeles the first
studio to join the Group commented,
The WSG is a solid concept and the
timing is absolutely perfect. I've met
people who might have been
adversaries but now we are partners
in the challenge to make money in a
very tough business world.'
Philip Vaughan of the British
APRS recognised that as a
commercial venture the market
would decide how successful WSG
would be. He was also keen to point
out that the Group was not a
competitor to APRS, something Chris
Stone also underlined. Shirley Kaye
of SPARS commented, 'In these days
of heightened business competition,
SPARS encourages innovative
developmental business ventures
which will broaden the economic base
and working relationships of its
members'.
(32) 2 466 5010
merged their business interests. The
merger has no direct effect on each
company's product line, but does
mean that Neve's headquarters at
Litlington will undergo a phased
closure with the loss of 80 Neve UK
employees.
The Managing Director of the new
merged company will be Mark
Crabtree, the former MD of AMS. The
Chairman will be Hans Haider,
Group President of Siemens Audio
and Video Systems and the Deputy
Chairman will be Laci Nester -Smith,
the former MD of Neve Electronics.
The new company's headquarters
will be at Burnley, Lancashire.
Manufacturing will continue at
Burnley and the Neve facility in
Kelso, Scotland, where considerable
investment has been made over the
past six years. Also the current AMS
London sales and service centre will
be expanded.
MD, Mark Crabtree commented,
the strategy of the new company is to
enhance the name and reputation of
AMS and Neve jointly, while
continuing to support both AMS and
Neve product lines utilising the skills
and experience of each.
DENMARK:
Agencies
SWEDEN:
New Musik
(45) 86 190899
Studiotee KY
FINLAND:
(358) 0 592055
Beyerdynamic
FRANcE:
(33)14 4099393
Audio Export /Neumann
GERMANY:
(49)713 162410
Bon Studio, Ltd.
GREECE:
(30)13645155
HONG KONG:
Ace International Co. Ltd.
(852) 424 -0381
Grisby Music Prof.
ITALY:
(39)111108411
Eledori Co., Ltd.
JAPAN:
(81) 33
NETHERLANDS:
TM
(31) 03408 10117
NEW ZEALAND:
Prole! International
(64) 4 385-4874
Siv. Ing. Benum & Co.
NORWAY:
(41) 2145460
Frei Audio
PORTUGAL
(351)
is Seadna Production Ltd, 115
Meadow Grove, Dundrum, Dublin 16,
Eire. Tel: +353 1 298 9077
Soundtracs have recently
announced the appointment of
Beyerdynamic (GB) Ltd as UK
distributors for their Solo and Megas
ranges of consoles. Beyerdynamic,
Unit 14, Cliffe Industrial Estate,
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UK AES DSP Conference
One of the most important factors
governing the future of digital
audio can be summed up in just
three letters DSP.
Keith Spencer -Allen reports on
-
this important international
conference
If any indication of how digital signal
processing techniques were
progressing, and finding applications
in a wealth of audio situations was
needed, the recent UK AES
Conference on DSP provided a host of
answers. Held in September at the
Kensington Town Hall, actually in
the council chambers where every
speaker had a desk and mic to
address the audience for questions.
The conference was a sell -out with
nearly a third of the delegates coming
from outside the UK
The two days were arranged into
five sessions comprising a total of
18 presentations that managed to
include introductory topics as well as
new possibilities for those already
active in audio DSP.
The first session -'The Digital
Signal Processor' swiftly brought the
conference up to speed on basic DSP
and current trends. David Walsh
(Loughborough Sound Image)
began by outlining the role of DSP
and then moved through algorithm
Psychoacoustics' kicked off with the
only non -DSP presentation. Simon
Carlile (University Laboratory of
Physiology, Oxford) described the
-
human hearing process 'the
wetware' in his words. He drew
attention to recent analysis
techniques using audio-visual horizon
TFF plots and discoveries showing
the auditory system should now be
viewed as a far from passive receptor.
Bob Stuart (Meridian Audio)
following, described work undertaken
to try and develop measurement
techniques that follow more closely
the human auditory system with the
aim of bringing the specification of an
audio system more into line with it's
use.
Ted Grusec (Ottawa Communi-
cations Research Centre) was
unable to present the results of work
on developing environments and
techniques for subjective evaluation
of codecs in person. However, a
comprehensive taped presentation
with slides followed by a phone -link
to Grusac in Canada led to a lively
transatlantic question- and -answer
dialogue.
Session three `Developing Audio
Processing' began with one of the
highlights of the conference. Tony
Constantinides (Dept. of Digital
-
types and their implementation,
ASICs versus general purpose DSP,
sourcing of hardware and concluded
with current DSP trends.
Having drawn our attention to the
fact that DSP is not actually new, the
technology having been around since
before WWII, Paul Lidbetter (Neve
International) ran through the
decisions to be made by the designer
to implement fixed or floating point
architecture. Although he considered
that floating point design offered
design advantages he emphasised
that careful application was needed
to match the increased costs with
gains in performance. A full
grounding in parallel DSP
architecture followed from Ken
Signal Processing, Imperial
College, London) presented a,
normally, 20-hour lecture on filter
design in 40 minutes, injecting
humour and a style of presentation
that defied anyone not to be
conversant with filter design and
impulse response measurement
the difference between HR and FIR
and their benefits.
Conference chairperson, Rhonda
Wilson (Meridian Audio) followed
with 'An Analysis of Filter
Topologies', examining their
suitability for audio applications
while concluding that Direct Form 1
topology is most suited for digital
Linton (University of Durham)
who concluded that such systems are
Eberlein (Fraunhofer Institute
for Integrated Circuits) looked at
now an economic reality although he
echoed Lidbetter's words in saying
that careful use is needed to retain
the power and cost -effectiveness.
There was considerable emphasis
throughout the conference on matters
of sound quality and the importance
of the perceptions of the listener.
The second session
'DSP and
-
-
filtering in audio.
Concluding the session Ernst
-
'Options for DSP Code Generation'
and described a more efficient
technique to reduce the time taken
from development to implementation
of complex algorithms.
This presentation also raised a
number of questions from the floor
suggesting that considerable work is
currently being undertaken in many
places to achieve the same ends.
The second day of the conference
consisted of two sessions on DSP
applications. Mike Kemp (Studio
Audio & Video) started the session
with a detailed description of the
design process he undertook to
develop an open -ended DSP system to
run on a standard PC. Both the
hardware and software content were
discussed and the presentation
concluded with a brief demonstration
of a working system.
One of the major themes of the
applications sessions was the use of
DSP in sound reproduction. Michael
Gerzon (Consultant) and Peter
Craven (Consultant to B &W
Loudspeakers) described a practical
adaptive room and loudspeaker
equaliser for domestic hi-fi use. This
entailed tackling both the acoustic
problems in DSP and them
presenting the end result in a
consumer usable form.
Felipe Orduna -Bustamante
(ISVR, Southampton) described
work on multiple- channel signal
processing techniques based upon
measurements made in the
reproduced sound field. The
processing could then be used to
manipulate stereo images
particularly in locations where
speaker -listener positions are not
optimum. Following was Ron
Genereux (SigTech) who outlined a
system developed for loudspeaker and
acoustic environment correction.
Genereux takes a different approach
to Gerzon & Craven aiming use at
professional monitoring systems.
Genereux described both the acoustic
problems as well as the difficulties
unique to creating inverse digital
filters for these applications.
On a quite different but related
topic, Stephen Elliott (ISVR,
Southampton) described research
on active control of sound and
vibration within cars. Systems for
monitoring engine noise and multiple
in -car sensing leading to the
introduction of antiphase signals
through internal speaker systems
were described including commercial
applications where good results up to
200Hz were being achieved. He added
example of use on internal aircraft
noise and concluded by saying that
these noise reducing systems would
become more practical if the
manufacturers of in -car audio
systems would work with them to
integrate the noise reducing signal
output within their electronics.
Afternoon sessions began with
Dave Betts (Cedar Audio)
presenting the role of DSP in Audio
Restoration. He covered some of the
basic digital noise removing
techniques with demonstrations and
then described the refinements and
algorithms employed in the CEDAR
system repeating examples to show
the current possibilities. David
Kirby from BBC Research Dept
followed with three very practical
case histories where the ability to
develop DSP applications within BBC
Research had led to some unique
solutions within TV sound. The
'rescuing' of an unbroadcastable
operatic soundtrack production from
unimaginable digital `nasties' against
a tight schedule by the use of DSP
and specific algorithm programming
held the audience's attention intently.
'A Cost -Effective Approach to DSP
for Audio Mixing' was a presentation
by Joe
Tozer (Sony Broadcast &
Communications) who described
the structure and design of DSP
application within the Sony
DMX-E3000 digital mixer. The
application used Sony developed
serial bus DSP ICs originally
developed for consumer applications.
There were several queries as to the
availability of these ICs
commercially.
The last presentation of the
conference was from Jeff Bloom
(Digital Audio Research) who
described the application of DSP
within the WordFit program for
automatic dialogue synchronisation
within film postproduction sessions
for dialogue replacement. He gave
practical video picture and sound
examples of the ability of the process
to precisely synchronise a dubbed
voice with the noisy rough guide track recorded on location even if the
attempt by the actor to duplicate his
original efforts were not very exact.
These systems are currently in use
for this specialised application
although Bloom did hint at wider
musical uses.
The Conference concluded with a
few words from conference chair
Rhonda Wilson. Ms Wilson drew
together all the individual threads of
the presentations
the applications
and the need to look also at the
environment for DSP use. She ended
with what sounded like a heartfelt
plea to 'please, only ask sensible
things of DSP'.
Copies of the excellently produced
proceedings are available through the
AES office at a cost of £18 for
members and £22 for nonmembers.
-
AES Secretariat. Tel: 0628
663 725. Fax: 0628 667 002
13
opean
rin
designed in Britain, built in Denmark, heard around the world
DynaudioAcoustics A/S
Sverigesvej
DK-8660 Skanderbor.
34 11
Telephcne (
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DynaudioAcoustics'
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The Studio
16 Embankment Gardens
GB- London SW3 4LW
lephore ( +44) 71 352 8100
efcx ( +44) 71 351
Imr
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C/3
Dolby 740 Spectral Processor
It was not the unit itself that first
caught my attention at the London
AES exhibition in June, but the lapel
badge referring to `EQ with IQ'.
Dolby? EQ? Haven't the company
spent the last 25 years telling us that
their recording products have
minimal or no effect on sound? Yet
here was a signal processor designed
to do exactly the opposite
cause an
-
effect.
While Dolby may never have a
signal processor which modifies a
signal to order, many of us have used
Dolby products to achieve specific
effects. The original A -type noise
reduction unit A301, for instance,
allowed access to the individual
processing bands if you knew what
you were doing. A more common trick
was switching out of decode on replay
from the multitrack; this frequently
added `sparkle' and a subtle
compression impossible to achieve in
any other way. Now, the Model 740
does not actually require any such
abuse but if we keep thinking of that
subtlety of effect something that
cannot be achieved in any other way
we are thinking the same way as
Dolby with their 740.
-
-
Spectral
Processing
The Model 740 is described as a
Spectral Processor and, as the title
suggests, aspects of the unit have
been developed from Dolby's Spectral
Recording process
Dolby SR. At
-
A
the time of writing, there has only
been a brief description of the
technical aspects of the 740
published, but this is enough to give
an outline of what the unit is doing.
The heart of the system is a lowlevel Spectral Amplifier which acts
happening within the processor. The
optimum operating level is with the
middle of the range (which consists of
three green LEDs and one orange
LED at either end). Too little signal
entering the processor will not allow
the unit to differentiate between high
only on low-level signals, e oI
and low signals and any tonal change
given threshold. These signals are
will therefore be across the complete
then selected by frequency band, as
signal as if the 740 were a
determined by the equaliser section
standard equaliser. Too great a signal
and by level as determined by the
level will cause there to be little effect
gain controls within those bands. As
on signals at any level. While a very
input signals increase in level, there
dynamic input may cause all these
is decreasing processing applied with
LEDs to light during a period of time,
very little occurring at high levels.
the nature of the processing is such
We can view the 740 as a low-level
that you do not perceive unnatural
processor or as Dolby put it,`an
changes if the level passes briefly into
audio magnifying glass'. It can also be an orange LED zone. Lastly in this
considered that the processing actions section, there is a red clipping LED.
are the exact inverse of a standard
There is no separate input level.
compressor that acts on high -level
The Equalisation section follows.
signals and ignores low levels.
This is laid out as a 3 -band crossover
with three gain controls that apply up
to 20dB of gain in the Low, Mid and
High bands respectively. When the
The 740 is a 1U-high rackmount unit
boost control is fully anti -clockwise,
housing two fully-independent
that band has no effect. The crossover
channels of Spectral Processing.
frequencies between bands are
Construction is robust in the usual
continuously variable between
Dolby style. Effectively, each channel
75Hz -1kHz (LF -MF) and
is divided into four sections:
500Hz -8kHz (MF-HF). Each of the
Threshold, Equalisation, Source NR
crossover controls has a centre detent
and Output.
which may seem rather odd but
Threshold is a gain control with a
actually gives a good reference point
graduated range of 20dB, which sets
from which to start. The manual
the level at which processing begins
informs us that with the controls in
and ends when used with the
these positions, the centre
5- segment LED `meter' above it. This
frequencies of the bands are 80Hz,
meter is a fairly crude but highly
800Hz and 8kHz respectively.
effective way of judging what is
In the same section, there is the
w
-
-
Description
selection toggle switch for effect
in-out and side chain with red and
green LED indicators. It should be
noted that the 740 does not have a
separate side chain output
independent of the main output.
Dolby suggest that there are benefits
to bringing the side chain out and
recombining it with the original
signal in the console rather than
within the unit itself. Dependent
upon your console, you might
consider automating the side chain
mix level so that it could
automatically alter with other
musical aspects of the work in hand.
Source NR is a single control which
allows the application of 12dB of
noise reduction in the form of a
sliding band -filter. Dependent upon
the nature of the signal input or the
degree of processing applied, it is
quite possible to accentuate
unwanted details of the signal such
as noise. There is an off position (fully
anticlockwise) and an easily visible
green LED to indicate operation. Just
below are two two filters which are
switchable between 100-200Hz and
4-8kHz in the processed signal.
Application is independent of the
noise reduction control and can prove
useful in conjunction with the EQ
controls.
Output is a simple control with a
gain and attenuation function,
together with clipping LED.
The only remaining front panel
control is the Stereo Link switch.
When linked, the processor responds
to the highest level signal within each
band from left or right input channel.
The manual points out that, if the
Threshold control of one channel is
turned fully clockwise, it is effectively
slaved to the other. EQ and Source
high quality unit providing versatile facilities and excellent sonic performance
15
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Input Clip
OUTPUT
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SOURCE NR
EQUALIZATION
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Filters
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154
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INPUT
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METER
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PROCESSOR
4-
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SOURCE
NOISE
REDUCTION
SIDECHAIN
THRESHOLD
Block schematic of the 740 signal chain
NR are independent of the stereo
link.
The rear panel of the review Model
740 contains little other than left and
right XLR I -Os and the power
connector. Full production units will
have a +4dB to -10dB level selection
switch as well.
Hands on
While the front panel controls are
clear and easy to understand, using
the controls properly does require an
amount of familiarisation. Selection
of Threshold level would be your first
operation and here the LED guide is
invaluable. Care should be taken over
the Threshold setting, as all the
effects are level sensitive and this
parameter should be optimised before
touching the EQ controls.
When you first adjust the EQ, the
effect appears very subtle even on
application of the full 20dBs of gain.
But a little thought about how the
three bands cover the complete
frequency range and that widening
OUTPUT
the Mid band into
the HF area
decreases the size of
the HF band, and
about the general
interaction of the
bands, gain and
input threshold and
it all suddenly clicks.
I found that it was
initially far easier to
work while listening
to the side chain
rather than the
ringing percussion, and make this the
featured aspect against the
original producer's intention and
without causing any unpleasant side
-
effects.
Now, there is also enough boost to
really mess things up as well. I had
trouble making precise modifications
in the LF region but this may come
with practice. Wide -band LF changes
are effective, however, particularly
combined signal as
when you are trying to gently `warm'
the effects of your actions are more
a sound.
evident.
It is worth watching the Threshold
Gradually it becomes obvious how
level since if this is reduced to any
this approach to equalisation works
practically. With a standard equaliser significant degree, much of the effect
you have achieved will be changed.
you boost a signal at a specific
On individual instruments, the
frequency with the intention of
effects of using the 740 are varied
highlighting some tonal
as is the degree of benefit that can
characteristic. In doing this, you are
be expected over the use of a
likely to affect other signals present
standard equaliser. For instance, it is
in the affected frequency range
possible to emphasise certain aspects
with possibly undesirable results.
of the tonality of drums and even the
Lth the 740 and the correct
surrounding acoustics. It is equally
Threshold setting, the controls are
easy to grab unwanted rattles and
predominantly acting on the lowerbuzzes. Discriminating between the
level signals and ignoring the highertwo is where the skill comes in. On
level ones. It is therefore possible to
signals where the only low -level
`look through' to the lower-level
element is ambience, the 740 offers
ignals for the characteristics you
lesser effects. Heavy metal -style
'sh to amplify, with a
guitar, for example, offered less scope
orrespondingly small effect on the
than acoustic guitar but this is what
hi her-level signals.
might be expected.
After a short period of
After a few hours of use I had a
experimentation, it becomes quite
pretty good idea of how I would use
natural to work in this way. I first
started by processing complete tracks the 740, when it would offer
considerable advantages over
and it quickly became clear how easy
standard equalisation and on what
it is to brighten dull material in a
types of signal.
way that does not sound simply like
the application of HF boost. I
brightened some recording which
-
(
II
were not prominent in the reverb. I
was surprised to find that I could
almost invert the musical balance on
a track which had low -level bells and
-
Conclusion
lacked HF in comparison with
current taste and obtained satisfying The Dolby 740 Spectral Processor
should be seen as another very
results. I also found it possible to
`reach into' a mix and pull out certain worthwhile addition to the toolkit. It
may require more thought than
points without unduly upsetting the
overall balance not every time, but standard EQ initially but the results
can justify the effort. It would appear
frequently enough to suggest that
to offer considerable opportunities in
this device has considerable
the field of mastering for both
applications in mastering.
What you can achieve with the 740 correction and enhancement while
presenting an overall alternative
obviously depends on the material
approach to equalisation that should
you have to work with but, with care,
be taken just as seriously as other
I found that I could gently move the
apparent location of a sound within a Dolby recording products.
Keith Spencer -Allen
stereo mix by pulling that sound
forward within the balance on the
Dolby Labs, 100 Potrero Avenue,
opposite stereo channel.
San Francisco, CA 94103 -4813.
Reverberation or ambience could be
exaggerated on certain signals and on Tel: +1 415 558 0200
one occasion I was able to achieve the UK: Dolby Labs, 346 Clapham Road,
opposite effect by emphasising a band London SW9 9AP. Tel 071 720 1111
of frequencies in a guitar signal that
-
- -
input channels, mono
or stereo
4 auxiliaries, with returns
2 band equalizer in each
channel
Pre fader listening and
channel on switches
8
M/S switch in each channel
Penny & Giles long scale
faders
2 stereo instruments
DC or AC powered
Weight 9.8 kg
Fits in a 19" rack
Broadcast
Telecommunication
P.O.Box 115
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'
(514) 437-4988
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Peavey Midibass
-
a handsome solution for the bass player who wants to generate sampled bass lines on stage
Zebra hoard
MIDI controller
Developed by Andrew Duncan, an
amateur musician and engineer in
Philips' CD-I R&D department in Los
Angeles, the Zebra Board is a new
type of MIDI controller that combines
keyboard and fretboard logic in one
instrument. Duncan presented a
paper on the Zebra Board at the last
San Francisco AES and states that
interest has already been shown by
such luminaries as Alan Holdsworth
and Stanley Jordan.
It will be manufactured by Harvey
Starr at Starr Switch in San Diego
and is expected to retail for around
$2,000.
While there is often something
decidedly `Californian' about many of
the new MIDI controllers
be they a
neck brace or pair of oversized gloves
Zebra Board is different. Rather
than cause you to react with the
usual `isn't that clever' closely
followed by `but I couldn't see myself
getting on with it', Zebra Board
actually makes musical sense and
does not ridicule the player by
making him act as if he were
possessed.
Duncan is very tied up in the
mathematics of musical theory and
talks in his paper about the
pattern-based nature of playing a
stringed instrument on a fretboard in
comparison to a keyboard and the
advantage it offers. The upshot is
that he has developed a 'MIDI
controller to model a generalised
string instrument' with a range wide
enough to simulate an 'infinite
fretboard'.
This means that the Zebra Board
combines the black and white notes of
a keyboard arranged in string-like
rows as a type of lattice pattern of
finger switches. Playing to the right
-
-
or `up' the 'fretboard' the notes ascend
chromatically while playing across
the `fretboard' to the next `string'
raises a perfect fourth as it would on
the lower strings of a normally tuned
guitar. The basic Zebra Board offers
23 `frets' left to right
and 12
`strings' across the `fretboard'.
Both hands are used to play the
10 -note polyphonic instrument in the
same way as a piano and because a
hand spans the entire width of the
board a wide range of notes is
available to each. Consequently
guitarists should find the concept
relatively simple to grasp while
keyboard players should adapt to the
overlapping nature of the note plan
fairly easily once the interrelation of
notes is understood.
Things start to get a touch bizarre
when it is revealed that chords can
effectively be played.on a single
'string'. This is a very definite
advantage because the duplication of
note values (notes are duplicated up
to five times on the board) permits
very compact chordings to be played
with complex voicings and in many
different inversions. Guitarists who
finger tap should adapt naturally to
-
-
the Zebra Board's potential especially
as all `frets' remain the same size as
you ascend the board.
While the MIDI capability of the
Zebra Board is unclear as yet, the
addition of aftertouch and other
performance controllers would seem
to be requisite at which point the
integrity and speed of the externally
connected sound generating module
could become a limitation. Either
way the Zebra Board is an exciting
development on paper at least that
deserves to be given an opportunity to
develop and evolve.
However, I have to disagree with
Duncan who states that Pattern
recognition and variation' is the
reason why `many musicians fmd
musical perception and expression on
string instruments to be particularly
rewarding.' I believe the satisfaction
has more to do with the string
player's requirement to create the
note that is to be played and the
exquisiteness of the palette of
possible ways in which that note can
be played- anything from badly all
the way through to perfectly for the
context. In this respect the Zebra
Board presents the musician with
off -the -shelf notes
perhaps a
`fretless' incarnation of the Zebra
Board would be a natural evolution.
At last a new instrument that is
also an innovative MIDI controller
and not just a gimmick. It makes
musical sense and seems practical
even without a hands -on
demonstration. Its progress should
be watched carefully.
-
Andrew Duncan.
Tel: +1 310 444 6590.
Peavey Midibass
On slightly more traditional tack,
Peavey has launched into MIDI
controllers with its Midibass. While a
guitar MIDI controller looks possible,
Peavey is insistent that the bass
player is the more natural choice for a
MIDI instrument and the most
wanting the predominantly
monophonic nature of bass lines
permits reliable and fast triggering to
be achieved consistently and it is the
bass player and not the guitarist who
is being replaced by synths on a
regular basis.
Peavey's Midibass is traditional in
shape and functions as a stand-alone
two-pickup instrument but
differences become apparent on
closer scrutiny. Polyphonic MIDI
data is generated by a combination of
electrical contact and hex pickup
triggering. Frets are split into four
discrete sections dedicated to the four
strings, and fretting a note tells the
bass's internals that you are
interested in that note while a hex
-
pickup near the bridge detects a
pluck which triggers that note's
envelope. Pulling or pushing a string
across its section of fret does not
cause retriggering and the whole
MIDI -note generating capabilities of
the Midibass rely heavily on
pitch -bend information to enable
sliding of notes in a faithful manner.
The instrument's performance when
coupled to external MIDI modules
therefore depends on the
pitch -bending capabilities of the
modules.
Midibass is joined to a power and
control module by an umbilical cord
from which the generated MIDI data
communicates to the outside world.
Peavey's Spectrum Base module looks
the natural companion to the
instrument offering 200 bass presets.
8 -voice polyphony and
multitimbrality.
General programming functions
and preset selection are performed
from the bass's fretboard by fretting a
note that corresponds to a given
programme number and flicking a
switch near the guitar controls to
confirm the selection which is also
shown on a small LED display at the
top of the guitar. Editing functions
are performed in a similar manner
but pressing a pedalboard controller
into service should simplify things.
Midibass has exemplary triggering
performance and looks like a
handsome solution for the bass player
who wants to gig with an instrument
that can generate modern sampled
bass lines live on stage.
Peavey Electronics, 711 A Street,
Meridian MS 39301, USA.
Tel: +1 601 483 5365.
Fax: +1 601 484 4278.
UK: Peavey Electronics, Hatton
House, Hunters Road, Corby,
Northants NN17 1JE.
Tel: 0536 205520. Fax: 0536 69029.
Music News is compiled
by Zenon Schoepe
21
AES San Francisco
This month's roundup of new
products comes directly from the
recent San Francisco AES show.
Sony
As an alternative to simple
truncation, Sony's K -1203 Super
Bit -Mapping Processor uses advanced
digital processing techniques to
maximise greater- than -16 -bit
recordings for standard 16-bit CD
mastering. The unit operates on
noise -shaping and psychoacoustic
principles and concentrates its efforts
on the 3kHz -4kHz signal range to
which the human ear is most
sensitive, moving quantisation noise
to the extremes of the audio
spectrum. Sony anticipate additional
applications in digital broadcasting
where the Dl and D2 VTR formats,
for example, use 20 -bit audio storage.
T addition to Sony's F -line
digital signal processors is t e
DPS-F7 Dynamic Digital Filter Plus.
the other units in this range, the
DPS-F7 is
of rac
calls on ten algorithms to produce a
range of filtering effects including
parametric equalisation, dynamic
switching and psychoacoustic
enhancement and offers 100 factory
programs and 256 user memories.
UK: Sony Broadcast &
Communications European
Headquarters, Jays Close, Viables,
Basingstoke, Hampshire RG22 4SB.
Focusrite
Broadening their sphere of activities,
Focusrite announced two new rack
mount units, the Red 1 4-channel
microphone preamp and Red 2 2channel equaliser. Calling on the
company's tradition of high -quality
circuit design these units also use
cost -effective hand production
techniques to bring them within
reach of a greater number of studios.
The Red 1 features -6dB to +60dB
input gain in 6dB steps,
channel- specific phantom powering,
phase reversal and input -level
switching. Metering is via circular
VU-type meters.
The Red 2 uses the same circuit
topology as the Focusrite console and
popular ISA 110 equaliser and offers
an HF section, upper and lower mid
parametric ranges of 600Hz -6kHz,
1.8kHz-18kHz, 40Hz -400Hz and
120Hz-1.2kHz, and LF section all
'th 15dB of cut or boost. There are
additional high and low-pass filters
with 12dB cut or boost and
channel- independent trim.
These units are strikingly stylised
and form the basis of a new series of
processors.
Focusrite Audio Engineering Ltd,
Unit 2, Bourne End Business
Centre, Cores End Road, Bourne
End, Bucks SU 5AS, UK.
Tel: 0628 819456
Fax: 0628 819443
Tel: 0256 55011
US: Sony Corporation of America,
Sony Drive, Park Ridge, New Jersey
07656. Tel: +1 201 930 6432
Allen & Heath
The new A &H GL3 live mixing desk
comes in 16 -input and 12 -input
configurations and may be expanded
to carry a total of 32 inputs. The
console offers six selectable aux
busses (pre or post -channel EQ and
faders), 4 -band EQ (HF shelf, two
swept mid bands LF shelf). A routing
switch allows routing of the aux
sends through both corresponding
four sub groups and L -R paths
facilitating the use of six discrete
mixes.
Allen & Heath Brenell Ltd,
Kernick Ind. Estate, Penryn,
Falmouth, Cornwall, TR10 9LU,
UK. Tel: 0326 372070.
22 Studio Sound, November 1992
factory-tested for linearity; the bass
driver incorporates Meyer Sound
long-excursion suspension and coil
designs while the high-frequency
driver is of an entirely new
configuration, incorporating a
titanium dome and silk suspension.
The HF driver is mounted on to a new
horn that employs compound flare
rates to achieve control of
very -high-frequency directivity.
Suggested applications include
midfield monitoring for recording or
audio postproduction, and main
monitors for studio projects.
Meyer Sound Labs, 2832 San
Pablo Avenue, Berkeley,
California 94702, USA.
Tel: +1 510 486 1166
Fax: +1 510 486 8356.
DDA
Forum is a new range of consoles
from DDA. Forum PA is an 8 -group
general sound reinforcement or
recording console; Forum Composer is
a compact 8- group, 24 -track
monitoring recording console with
LED metering; Forum Matrix is a
dedicated sound reinforcement
console incorporating a 18x8 matrix
section. The input module feature
4 -band EQ, six aux sends, a direct
output from one of the auxes and
5- segment LED metering.
The QMR 24 -track recording
console shown at the British APRS
Show now has full meter bridge and
patchbay options which can be
retrofitted without disturbing
existing studio wiring and a MIDI
mute system which can be readily
retrofitted.
Meyer
DDA, Unit 1, Inwood Business
Meyer Sound Labs' new HD -2 high
definition midfield audio monitor is
based on the highly acclaimed
technology of the company's HD -1
studio monitor. The HD -2
incorporates a 10 -inch low- frequency
driver and 1 -inch (diaphragm
diameter) high-frequency driver
mounted on a symmetrical 60° horn
in a vented enclosure. An active
crossover, optimised pole -zero
response correction filters,
loudspeaker component protection
circuitry and dual class AB1 power
amplifiers are built into the
enclosure. Each HD-2 loudspeaker is
individually factory-aligned under
high -resolution FFT analysis in an
anechoic chamber to meet exacting
frequency- and phase- response
specifications. Both HD-2 drivers are
Middx TW3 2EB, UK.
Tel: 081 570 7161
Fax: 081 577 3677
Park, Whitton Road, Hounslow,
Tascam
The current crop of new products
from Tascam includes the
highly -topical DA -88 8 -track digital
multitrack machine, RA -4000 4 -track
digital recording -editing system and
DA -60 4 -head time code DAT.
Taking advantage of prolonged
delays in the arrival of the Alesis
ADAT digital recorder, Tascam have
launched a competing system based
on Hi -8 videotape. The DA -88 offers
up to 100 minutes of recording time
on a standard 120 tape at either
44.1kHz or 48kHz sampling rates. Up
to 16 units can be chained together
giving a theoretical 128-track
maximum capacity to the system.
This can then be externally SMPTE
synced using an optional SY-88 sync
board and uses a dedicated sync tape
track rather than one of the recording
tracks. A DA-88 system can be
remotely controlled with the RC -848
remote which will address up to six
units (48 recording tracks).
The RA -4000 random access
recording -editing system and
RC -4000 remote user interface is a
dedicated system aimed at audio for
video applications. The RC -4000
offers a multitude of
function -dedicated controls intended
to make its use quick and instinctive
while the recording section is
configured to provide 2- channel
record/4-channel replay from its
internal 200Mb disk. Remote
transport control from a video editor
is provided via a 9 -pin serial port,
digital audio transfer via AES-EBU
and SP -DIF ports and syncing to
MIDI time code is also possible. Four
RA -4000s can be slaved together to
provide 16 -track operation and
further storage expansion is possible
via SCSI.
The DA-60 DAT machine features
a RAM buffer for instant start,
±12.5% pitch control (on playback),
two locate points, selectable copy
protection, and gapless punch in and
out. Connections to the outside world
take the form of AES -EBU and
SP-DIF digital I -Os, word clock I -0
and a 37 -pin parallel port for external
transport control. The SY -D6
synchroniser board provides a
SMPTE -EBU reader-generator,
SMPTE chase with offset and locking
to video sync.
UK: TEAC Corporation Ltd, 5 Marlin
Court, The Croxley Centre, Watford,
Herts WD1 8YA. Tel: 0923 819630.
US: TEAC Corporation Ltd,
7733 Telegraph Road, Montebello,
CA 90640.
Tel: +1 213 726 0303
lexicon
Latest news from Lexicon includes
the introduction of the 20120 AD
20 -bit A -D converter and a drastic
software revision (v3.0) for the
familiar Model 300 digital effects
system.
The 20/20 AD will operate either
as a 2-channel 20-bit processor or as a
4-channel 18-bit converter. Both
modes of operation offer improved
dynamic range over 16-bit conversion
Seeing red? The Focusrite Red 1 and Red 2 mic preamp and equaliser
(2- channel/112dB; 4- channel/100dB).
The unit also offers a variety of
operating modes, sync option and
interconnection interfaces.
The Model 300 upgrade takes the
form of two chips and makes it
possible to operate the unit either in
its normal configuration or in a
number of `dual machine' modes. In
Dual Mono the Model 300 becomes
two mono processors with fully
independent control, while Cascade
mode allows these two independent
channels to be linked in series
-with the additional facility of being
able to route the signal out of the unit
and back in between processing
stages. The new software also adds
five new processing algorithms to the
machine's facilities.
Lexicon Inc, 100 Beaver Street,
Waltham, MA 02154-8425, USA.
Tel: +1 617 736 0300.
CEDAR
Now in full production form is the
CEDAR DC -1 de- clicker module. The
DC-1 is a stand-alone, real -time
signal processing module utilising the
four -pass processing derived from
company's full production system
twin 32 -bit floating -point
processors capable of handling
50 million calculations per second,
20Hz -20kHz frequency response,
better than 90dB dynamic range and
better than 85dB S -N ratio over
analogue inputs. Amongst its other
features are AES -EBU and SP-DIF
digital I -Os, balanced and unbalanced
analogue I-Os RS232 remote
operation and 16- channel MIDI
-
control. The process is capable of
removing a claimed 2500 scratches
per second and is expected to find
applications in broadcasting,
mastering and archiving.
HHB Communications Ltd,
73-75 Scrubs Lane, London NW10
6QU, UK. Tel: 081 960 2144
AMS
The AudioFile Optica is a 4- track,
optical disk -based version of the
popular AudioFile Plus. The Optica
offers a low-cost approach to simple
track -laying tasks with the option of
transferring material to more
powerful AudioFile systems for
further refinement.
New software and hardware for the
Logic 1- AudioFile Spectra include online M-0 drive for recording and
editing directly to-from a removable
optical disk with a consequent zero
backup time and Exabyte backup
which provides four -times real time
backup and the ability to audition
cues from the backup tape.
Of the Optica, AMS state that this
`is the first in a new line of products
that addresses all stages of the sound
postproduction process'.
AMS, Billington Road, Burnley,
Lancashire BB11 5ES, UK.
Tel: 0282 57011.
Fax: 0282 39542.
Summit Audio
Two new products from American
sound processing specialists Summit
Audio. The MDSP -200 dual, peak and
average meter was designed in
response to a perceived need for
metering to match the climbing
standards of high -end mixing
consoles. The Meter is a modular unit
simultaneously displaying
instantaneous peak and average
signal levels. DSP technology
facilitates scaling and time constant
functions. The Meter is remotely
controllable.
The MMP-125 modular
microphone preamp is a
single-channel valve (tube) preamp
incorporating selectable gain
(15dB-65dB in dB increments), line
or mic inputs, a phase reversal
switch, pad switch, overload indicator
and claimed frequency response of
3Hz to 40kHz.
Summit Audio, PO Box 1678, Los
Gatos, California 95031, USA.
panel controls. This currently makes
the Core suitable for use with
automated SSL and Neve consoles
it was demonstrated with a
60 -input Neve VR at the San
Francisco AES Show.
Installation of the Core into an
existing studio setup requires only
the changing of two cards in the
console's centre section and the whole
job is claimed to take under four
hours. As the existing audio routings
can be left intact, the installation also
leaves the user the ability to choose
between the conventional operation of
the console and use of the Digital
-
Mixer Core.
The components of the system are
as follows: the AT&T Parallel
Processor is the processor at the
centre of the Core and will
accommodate up to 72 virtual
Tel: +1 408 395 2448.
UK: HHB Communications Ltd,
73-75 Scrubs Lane, London NW10
6QU. Tel: 081 960 2144.
Disq
The Disq Digital Mixer Core
represents a revolutionary new step
in the development of the digital
mixing console. Developed from
AT&T's military technology (itself
acquired from Russia), the Core is
actually a parallel signal processor
configured to handle digital audio. At
present the Core has no dedicated
control surface of its own but is
intended to be connected to an
existing console where it takes
advantage of the scanning system of
the automation system to read the
Disq Digital Mixer Core
23
3G Professional Mixers
from as little as £325
to as big as 16:4:3
Whatever the application, you'll find a 3G Mynah Series
mixer ideal for the job, without breaking the bank.
Each model in the range features true `solo in
place' on all channels, balanced line input,
phantom power and summed mono output making them perfect for live sound, stereo
recording or video editing and
conferencing. Additionally, there is a
choice of either two or four bus
models in either 8, 12 or 16
channel configurations.
Designed to offer the
features, reliability and
quality demanded by
today's engineers, 3G
Mynah mixers combine
the best of British
workmanship in a cost
effective package ...
Guaranteed.
--_.
7.1Pe-
3
YEAR WARRANTY
Sole UK distributor:
HW International, 3 -5 Eden Grove,
London N7 8EQ. Tel: 0 71 -60 7 2 717
HW International, 3 -5 Eden Grove, London N7 8EQ.
Please send me details of the Mynah Series and other 3G Audio Products.
To:
8/12/16 TRACK
MIXING CONSOLES
SIGNAL PROCESSING
Name
Address
POWER AMPLIFIERS
Postcode
0.1 -6MHz
5Vp -p MAX
IMPEDANCE TRANS.
BCJ -XJ -TR
DIGITAL AUDIO IMPEDANCE TRANSFORMERS
BCJ- XJ -TR: BNC - XLR (3 socket) and BCJ-XP -TR: BNC - XLR (3 pin). Impedance Transformers for conversion of 2- channel digital
audio signals between balanced 110 ohm (microphone type cable) and unbalanced 75 ohm (video type cable) resulting in longer
possible cable runs and thus allowing the distrubution of digital audio signals such as D1, D2, and AES /EBU over a larger area.
'ff0
FUTURE FiLM DEVELOPMENTS
NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL SALES
11 The Green, Brill, Aylesbury, HP18 9RU
Tel: 0844 238444. Fax: 0844 238106
Tlx: 837896 BRILL G
24
Studio Sound, November 1992
COUNTER SALES & COLLECTIONS
112 -114 Wardour Street, London, W1V 3LP
Tel: 071 434 3344. Fax: 071 437 9354
Tlx: 21624 ALLOFFD G
1
AES PRODUCTS
DL241
a
t
u
o
compressor
mixer channels; the AT &T Digital
u The DL241 is
Audio Interface accepts SDIF2 format
digital audio and presents it to the
Processor while the Digital Mixer
Core's GML Series 2000 Automation
Environment is one of the current
state-of -the -art mixing systems.
Harmonia Mundi Acoustica interfaces
are used on the Processor's outputs
and these can be provided to interface
with and standard digital format. The
resolution of the Core processor is
24 -bits
these are bitmapped or
dithered down to 16 bits for
mastering purposes.
The Core has been configured to
make it possible to take advantage of
powerful digital DSP technology
without the necessity to learn a new
control surface and operating
procedures; and although the
computer has been optimised to
emulate conventions systems of
panning, EQ and so on, the
manufacturers are making much of
the potential of such a system to
provide as yet undeveloped signal
processes.
The price of the Core could
presently regarded as being
devastatingly high although the
manufacturers are confident about
the future of this technology in the
audio industry.
Disq Inc, 1790 Broadway, New
York, NY 10019, USA.
Tel: +1 212 765 3417.
Fax: +1 212 581 8938.
a
user friendly
unit that sounds good and has
per channel pricing that
a
should put
a
scare into the
competition "
George Peterson.
Mix
-
-
Aphex
The familiar Aural Exciter Type C has
had Aphex Big Bottom bass
enhancement process added to its
facilities. As the original unit
synthesised and added harmonics to
the upper frequency element of an
audio signal, Big Bottom enhances
the lower frequencies making `an
eight-inch woofer sound like a
15-inch'. The process uses
adjustments christened Overhang
and Girth.
Aphex Systems, 11068 Randall
Street, Sun Valley, CA 91352.
Tel: +1 818 767 2929.
UK: Sound Technology Plc,
15 Letchworth Point, Letchworth,
Herts SG6 1ND. Tel: 0462 480000.
Studer-Revox
The Dyaxis 2 modular (8 to 48- track)
hard -disk recording system offering
an unlimited number of virtual audio
tracks, 24 -bit real -time digital mixing
and 5 -band parametric equalisation.
" I should not be
Genelec's 1032A
The system supports eight tracks of
real -time playback for every four
channels of audio I-0. Optionally
available is Dolby AC2 data
compression for 100 track-minutes
per processor on 3.5 -inch MO disks.
Facilities also include Auto Conform
and multitrack -style punch in and out
although this is not destructive.
at all
surprised to see the DL241 join
Drawmer's original DS201 gate
among the ranks of the
classics
"
Dave Foister.
Studio Sound
-
The system has machine control
master and slave capabilities using
TimeLine Lynx and Micro Lynx sync
systems.
Studer International, CH -8105
Regensdorf, Althardstrasse 10,
Switzerland.
"
I
In twenty years of reviewing products
have seldom come across such
product
a
good
"
Martin Homberg.
Fachblatt
Genelec
Genelec's 1032A is an active 2 -way
monitor speaker enclosure using the
company's Directivity Controlled
Waveguide technology to enhance
off -axis listening. The 1032A contains
10 -inch LF driver and 1 -inch HF
dome drivers bi -amped with 160W
feeding the LF and 120W feeding the
HF. A pair of 1032As are claimed to
deliver 124dB SPL at one meter.
Genelec, Tehaantie 17, SF -74100
Lisalmi, Finland.
Tel: +358 77 13311.
Fax: +358 77 12267.
Fostex
The DCM -100 and its partner, the
MIXTAB, form a new
digitally- controlled mixing system
from Fostex. The 1U-high DCM -100 is
an 8 -input (stereo or mono) unit
featuring two effects sends, two stereo
returns high and low EQ, pan
position, mute -solo and master output
all of which are controllable via
MIDI. The MIXTAB can control and
store 100 snapshots which can be
recalled using MIDI program
changes. Alternatively, the DCM-100
can be addresses directly via MIDI
-
tt Once again Drawmer have hit
on a winning formula based on
flexibility, ease of use and true
innovation. The DL241 is
destined to become a modern
classic amongst compressors"
Paul White.
Recording Musician /Audio Media
WHY NOT FORM
YOUR OWN
OPINION?
Drawmer
DRAWMER DISTRIBUTION LTD.
CHARLOTTE ST. BUSINESS CENTRE
CHARLOTTE ST, WAKEFIELD
WEST YORKS, WFI IUH, ENGLAND,
TEL: 0924 378669 FAX: 0924 290460
25
r,n nn nn nn
U UU UU UIJ
INV.
p. pA.oD
Tascam's DA -88 8 -track digital tape recorder
from a sequencer. DCM-100 units
can be linked to provide a theoretical
maximum of 48 inputs, which may all
be addressed by a single MIXTAB.
UK: Fostex UK, Unit 1,Jackson Way,
Gt Western Ind Park, Southall,
Middx, UB2 4SA. Tel: 081 893 5111.
US: Fostex Corporation of America,
15431 Blackburn Avenue, Norwalk,
CA 90650. Tel: +1 213 921 1112.
Euphonix
The Cube is a flexible outboard
routing matrix which is intended to
Stacked
- see page
digitally controlled analogue mixing
consoles or used as a self-contained,
computer-controlled unit. The Cube is
a flexible system with many potential
applications in the CSII architecture
it can be used to replace a
patchbay or fitted with DCAS and
used to provide additional aux sends,
additional mix buses, multichannel
film buses or mix minus buses for
broadcast.
Euphonix, 10647B Riverside
Drive, N Hollywood, CA 91602,
USA. Tel: +1 818 766 1666.
UK: Studio Sales, 9 Hatton Street,
-
in your
favour
Height:
34W -64"
(88-
162cm)
Weight:
9Ibs (4.1 Kg)
revolutionises the way mic
stands are stored and
transported. A weighted
dovetail, stackable base
lets you carry or store up
to six in the space of one.
A quick response on -off
clutch allows stand height
adjustment with just a
quarter turn.
Ultimate range of
innovative support systems
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The
l..J
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3 -5 Eden Grove London N7 8E61 Tel: 071 -607 2717
26 Studio Sound, November 1992
p
22
be integrated into the Euphonix CSII
The Liberty Mic Stand
Mn
London NW8. Tel: 081 963 0663.
Athan
The Athan Corporation's high -quality
replacement parts and enhancements
for profession multitrack tape
machines has been extended with a
hard-wearing tension guide swing arm assembly for the Otan MTR -90
machine. The arm has been under
development for two years and will
eliminate tape path misalignment
due to bending.
Athan Corporation, 50 So Linden
Avenue #10, So. San Francisco,
California 94080.
Tel: +1 415 589 5206.
Fax: +1 415 742 9091.
Quested
A passive 3 -way monitor called the
H208 is the latest design from Roger
Quested. The enclosure features two
8 -inch LF drivers a 3 -inch soft -dome
MF driver and 1'/8 -inch HF driver.
The 11208 is intended for
postproduction and home -project
installations and suitable for use with
amplifiers rated at between 200w and
400w.
Quested Monitoring Systems Ltd,
59 Maltings Place, Bagleys Lane,
London SW6 2BX, UK.
Tel: 071-731 7434
Fax 071- 7313280
Yamaha
The PM4000M Stage Monitor Mixing
Console is derived from the
company's recently -released PM4000
live console. The 'M' is available in 44
and 52 -input formats with eight VCA
groups, eight mute groups, 4- channel
parametric and variable high -pass
EQ on input channels. The console
can provide routings for no less than
22 discreet mixes simultaneously.
The new FMC9 AES -EBU Format
Convertor will convert up to eight
AES -EBU channels into Yamaha's
own proprietary digital format
making it of potential interest to
users of the company's digital audio
equipment. Data can be input at
32kHz, 44.1kHz or 48kHz and
appears on a 25 -pin D-SUB connector
in either Yl (DMP7D) or Y2 (DMR8)
format.
Yamaha have also released a 20 -bit
D-A converter called the DA2X. This
uses delta -sigma, single -bit
conversion giving a 110dB dynamic
range, 2Hz -22kHz frequency
response and THD below 0.001 %. The
DA2X accepts AES -EBU, SP-DIF
and Y2 format signals. The unit will
sync to 32kHz, 44.1kHz and 48kHz
sources and will accept signals with a
pitch variation of ±12 %.
Also new from Yamaha are
software upgrades for the
DMR8 -DRU8 digital multitrack
systems and the DMC1000 digital
mixing console, and Project Manager
Apple Mac software for use with the
DMC1000.
UK: Yamaha-Kemble Music UK Ltd
(Pro Music Div), Sherbourne Drive,
Tilbrook, Milton Keynes MK7 8BL.
US: Yamaha Corporation of America,
PO Box 6600, Buena Park, CA 906226600. Tel: +1 714 522 9011.
Soundcraft
The popular Spirit range of
Soundcraft consoles has been
extended by the addition of the
Spirit 4 Live console. The `4' is
intended for use as an FOH desk and
comes is 12, 16, 24 and 32 -input sizes.
All offer four subgroups, 3 -band EQ
(2 -band sweepable and high -pass
filter) and balanced mic and line
inputs.
UK: Harman International,
Cranbourne House, Cranbourne
Industrial Estate, Potters Bar, Herts
EN6 3JN. Tel: 0707 665000.
US: Soundcraft USA, 8500 Balboa
Boulevard, Northridge, CA 91329.
Tel: +1 818 893 8411.
Today's market is demanding
more complex productions and
higher audio quality on shorter
schedules and with tighter budgets. Studios and engineers need a
console that works as fast as they
can create. Old analog boards
have charm, but they are too big
and take too long to reset. The
new all digital desks are underdeveloped, complicated and far too
expensive. After four years of continuous development, one company is delivering the product that
makes sense today. Euphonix has
the speed, power and flexibility of
Total Digital Control with the simplicity and natural sound of analog signal processing. It's no wonder industry leaders have made
the move to the CSII. And when
Euphonix introduces the new additions to their product line, you'll
realize the last four years were
just a warm -up.
Sales and Service
10647 Riverside Drive
N. Hollywood, CA 91602
Ph. (818) 766.1666
Fax: (818) 766-3401
European Sales
The European Office
56 Albion Road, Pilstone
Nr. Leyton Buzzard
Beds, W7 9M', England
Ph: +44 (0) 296 661748
Fax: +44 (0) 296 661878
,
t
41.
-
WO
I
,.
ow'
Live Sound Desks
Genesis soundman Rob `Cubby' Colby at the Midas XL3
All
The Paragon series offers 40 channels
with a compressor -gate on each;
4 -band parametric EQ and 16 aux
sends.
Audio Technology Inc.
Tel: +1 503 624 0405.
Midas
The Midas XL3 console launched in
1990 is available in 24, 32, and
40 -input versions but can be
expanded by a further 16 channels
with the XL316 extender. Recently
introduced options include a
detachable VU meter bridge, a
centrally positioned master section,
upgraded flightcase, and automation
featuring both snapshot and dynamic
capability. A 56 -input automated
XL3 has just been installed at the
Chatelet Theatre in Paris.
MIDAS. Tel: 0562 741515.
Soundcraft
Soundcraft's top of the range live
console the Europa has been
enhanced with the introduction of a
stereo module and a dual matrix
module. Other live consoles from the
company include the Venue Theatre,
Venue II, Delta DLX and SR, Vienna
and the Vienna Monitor, The latest
addition to the range is the
nonmodular 4 -bus Spirit Live 4 which
is supplied in 12, 16, 24, and 32 -input
versions.
Soundcraft. Tel: 0707 660482.
Yamaha
New from Yamaha is the PM4000
live console (reviewed on page 46 of
this issue) which supersedes the
popular PM3000. The PM4000M
monitor version was launched at last
months AES along with the
midpriced MC0411 series of sound
reinforcement consoles which replace
the long serving MC04 range.
Yamaha. Tel: 0908 366700.
Soundtracs
The Sequel SR console featuring a
4 -band parametric EQ and available
with 24, 32 and 40-inputs. Megas
Stage is a dedicated 8 -bus SR desk
with three different frame sizes that
can accomodate a combination of
mono or stereo input modules, and up
to four matrix modules. Megas
Monitor desk provides 24, 32 or 40
inputs into 12 monitor sends. Solo
Live PA mixer is a 4 -bus split console
with the option of 16, 24 or 32 inputs.
Solo Rack is designed for 19-in rack
fixed installations, with 12 mono
inputs each with a swept 4 -band EQ.
Solo Monitor has been designed
specifically for stage monitor
applications and compliments the
Solo Live FOH desk.
Soundtracs. Tel: 081 399 3392.
Cadac
The J -Type is Cadac's most recent
theatre console and maximises on
flexibility by allowing modules to be
fitted in any order the operator
chooses.' The company's other new
desk the Concert features centrally
assigned switching and a full status
recall facility. Both consoles can be
fitted with Cadac's theatre
automation system which caters for
static and moving fader cues.
Cadac. Tel: 0582 404202.
TAC
The SR6000 offers a quite
comprehensive VCA grouping and
muting system. Unusually for a desk
in this market , it also has a single
VCA output group with a master
fader. Thus all 10 outputs can be
individually assigned to one overall
fader, without affecting the
relationship between them. The
SR6500 is the SR6000's companion
foldback console. The desk shares no
components with the SR6000 apart
from the frame. The specification
includes 18 discrete monitor mix
outputs, eight VCA -mute groups and
a choice 24, 32 or 40 mono inputs. A
new 4 -band swept EQ is also fitted.
Total Audio Concepts.
Tel: 0602 783306.
Allen & Heath
D&R's Axion
28
Studio Sound, November 1992
The GL3 is Allen & Heath's latest live
sound console. Designed as a general
purpose compact mixer, it can quickly
convert from front-of -house to
on -stage monitor use via
panel-mounted status-switching. The
console comes in 16 and 24 -input
frame sizes and an be expanded in
blocks of 8 up to 32 inputs.
Allen & Heath. Tel: 0326 372070.
Soundcraft's Spirit Live 4 a
four bus PA mixing console
D &R
The new Axion mixer was launched
at the Frankfurt Music Show. The
console is fully modular with two
standard frame sizes 32 or 40
channel, space for 12 stereo -return
modules as standard. Two consoles
can be linked as master and slave
with all buses connected together
without any loss of input channels.
The Axion has a programmable mute
system. Up to 64 mute patches and
eight VCA groups can be stored
internally in the console and with a
back -up battery that D&R claim is
good for five years.
D &R Electronics.
Tel: 31294018014.
DDA
The latest addition to the DDA range
is the midpriced Forum. The Forum
PA provides a general purpose 8 -bus
sound reinforcement mixer or
recording desk, while The Forum
Matrix is designed specifically for live
applications and features an 8 x 8
matrix. Other live consoles include
the D Series, the Q Series, the
Interface and the top -of-the -range
Arena.
DDA. Tel: 081 570 7161.
Ramsa
The WR -844 borrows many of its
features from Ramsa's flagship
monitor console the WR -5840. The
new range of 4 -bus live consoles are
supplied in 12,16 and 24-input sizes
with the largest measuring just under
one metre wide. Features include the
ability to individually assign one of
the four auxiliary sends as a
direct- channel output, low noise
discrete circuitry, dust-sealed
100mm faders, and moulded rubber
buffers at the rear to protect cables
from damage.
Ramsa. Tel: 0344 853550.
Just when you
thought your
needs exceed
your budget
SOLO. A new range of consoles with more features per
square inch than anything in its class. A pure and transparent
sound that has made Soundtracs a standard in studios and on
stages around the world. At prices that make sense for today's
cost conscious professionals.
SOLO LOGIC. A production console available in 16, 24 and 32
inputs (36, 52, 68 in remix) with fader and mute automation
as standard. Four band EQ with two swept Mids, assignable to
channel and monitor. Six auxiliary sends - four assignable to
monitors. Four stereo effect returns with two band EQ.
Assignable group outputs. Machine control.
SOLO MIDI. A recording console available in 16, 24 and 32
input fame sizes (36, 52, 68 in remix). Automated MIDI
muting on all channel inputs, monitor inputs, group outputs,
stereo effect returns and auxiliary masters. Four band EQ with
two sept Mids, assignable to monitor inputs. Six auxiliary
sends - four assignable to monitor inputs. Four stereo effect
returns with two band EQ, balance and level controls. Raised
meterbridge.
SOLO LIVE. A sound reinforcement console available with 16,
24 or 32 inputs. Four independent sub- groups, right /left
master and mono sum output. Four band EQ with two swept
Mids. Six auxiliary sends. Balanced inputs and outputs. Four
stereo effect returns. 48V phantom powering for all mic
inputs. Raised meterbridge.
SOLO RACK. A 19" rack mounted stereo version of the Solo
Live :n ailable in a 12 -2 -1 format.
Discover how easily the
your budget.
SOLO
will satisfy your needs and
SOUNDTRACS
91 Ewell Road,
Surbiton, Surrey. Tel: (081) 399 3392. Fax: (081) 399 6821.
Distributed in the UK by beyerdynamic. Tel: (0273) 479411. Fax: (0273) 471825
It could have been the classical festival of the decade
D AYS IN
MOSCOW
The Red Square Invites classical festival
staged in Moscow during July has already
joined the live sound industry's hall of
infamy. Mike Lethby reports
Two years ago a Russian cultural
entrepreneur named Omani Sokhadze
had a vision. As Director General of
Intertheatre, a Moscow performing arts
centre, he envisaged a grand celebration of his
country's musical heritage in Red Square.
Before 1991's failed coup such an event would
have been inconceivable. Even now, in Boris
Yeltsin's free but impoverished Russia, few would
contemplate (or have the political clout to
undertake) so bold a scheme.
His vision became reality last autumn with a
$6.5 million guarantee from the state and outside
sponsors. The week-long Red Square Invites
festival, scheduled as five concerts playing to
80,000 people a night in July 1992, was on.
It could have been the classical festival of the
decade.
Sokhadze had useful connections: AVL
Broadcast, a West London facilities house (whose
30 Studio Sound, November 1992
MD Andrew Somper was eager to expand his
company's activities into live event production)
and Andy Ward, a producer with a premiere
league track record including 1991's Pavarotti In
The Park.
In turn, Ward's contacts with Mario Dradi, José
Carreras' manager, helped secure the star's
services and a host of other internationally-known
performers.
As is happening more often nowadays,
television called most of the shots and it was the
broadcast production team who led from the front.
AVL, whose core business lies in mastering,
standards conversion and editing, coordinated all
of the broadcast, recording and live sound
elements. It is an area which Somper aims to
develop. `One of the keys is bringing together
extremely good creative and technical personnel,'
he says.
Ward and Somper started drawing together a
classy production team: TV production and sound
coordinator Toby Alington, sound designer Derrick
Zieba, staging production company Birchwatt, the
Fleetwood mobile and 021 Television.
Alington suggested the London Chamber
Orchestra as potential participants. Their
response was enthusiastic, offering to write a new
work with Dave Stewart and the Hothouse
Flowers.
Paul Staples came up with a radical site -design
whose centrepiece was a 120-ft -tall open pyramid,
supporting all the sound delay arrays, TV cameras
and follow spots.
Unfortunately, storm clouds were already
gathering in the form of delays and uncertainties
at the Russian end.
A production on this scale demands a six-month
lead time; it was only in March that Sokhadze
backed his concepts with cash. Confirming the
line -up took another six weeks. The timing was
already too late to cut the TV deals needed to
generate profits. Commercial sponsors, in turn,
began turning away.
Nor were promotional activities proceeding well.
Sokhadze had ruled out hiring an experienced
promoter, appointing a PR agency instead. Basic
promotional essentials like advertising were
virtually nonexistent. Ticket prices were too high:
a couple of weeks' wages for the average Russian
or $50 for foreigners.
Inside information
Translating technical information was
- hilarious with
hindsight - Birchwatt Productions' head,
a big
problem. On one occasion
Mick
Kluczynski, spent two hours on the telephone
establishing that a 20,000 -seat `grandstand'
Sokhadze thought he had found was in fact 20,000
cushions. On technological matters it got worse.
Birchwatt had realised why their faxes were going
unanswered: Sokhadze's office couldn't understand
them. Kluczynski: `The promoter was
inexperienced at large events and our task often
went beyond the expected brief.'
But by the time the trucks rolled up in Red
Square, the British team had several 'inside
sources' of its own. Orion, a Moscow PA hire
company, hac just taken delivery of a large
Turbosound Flashlight PA. Owner Sergei Korovin
gave Britannia Row's crew, who brought the
remainder of the PA, invaluable advice on the
ways of Moscow.
Even more crucial, Head Electrician Lawrence
Dunnett had been warned that no on -site power
would be available. In July, generators and trucks
were as scarce as grandstands, so this was bad
news. So Dunnett befriended the local electricians.
He already knew technicians from Moscow's
Olympic Stadium Valera, Vassylych and
Eugeniy. They introduced him to Aida, Victor and
their Kremlin electrical team. `Those guys were
absolutely brilliant,' says Dunnett, 'they helped us
make it all happen.'
Sokhadze's lack of promoting experience
ultimately proved to be the event's downfall. With
audiences running at barely 10% of expectations
each night, huge losses mounted daily and late on
Wednesday night, the plug was pulled on the LCO
show. Although participants had mostly been paid
in advance, there was nothing more in the coffers.
It was a sad end to a bizarre 10 days.
By then Mick Kluczynski had been in Moscow
for a month. He commented: `We've learnt a lot
from the Russians. but I don't think they've learnt
much from us they're very proud people and
seem to have missed the point about the
relationship between them and us.'
As the fstinl wound up, Sokhadze was already
talking in terms of 1993's festival. The idea of
gathering the cream of classical performers in a
stunning arena for a week is fine. The industry
can only hope that he has taken some highly
expensive lessons to heart.
Diary of a festival
WEDNESDAY, 1st JULY
16.00: Zieba and Hey decide to get as much
done to the PA as possible, despite having to work
under plastic sheeting on the mix tower. After a
few minutes of this, they make an excecutive
decision to build their own roof. The lighting crew,
who can't do a thing in the downpour, huddle in
the catering marquee peering morosely into cups
of coffee. Crew come and go wrapped in bits of
black plastic, like ravers after three days at
-
-
Paul Staples' set had to be moved at the Kremlin's request
18.00: Arrive in Red Square. The sight is
impressive. With the Kremlin Wall and Lenin's
tomb on our right, the first thing we see is a pair of
Star Vision screens dividing the seats from the
standing audience area. On towards St Basil's
Cathedral with grandstands to either side and
Paul Staples' stage set ahead, positioned at a
slightly skewed angle to the square. It transpires
the stage has been moved from its designed
position at the Kremlin's request.
19.00: Chris Hey is engaged in what diplomats
call 'tough talking' with the Bolshoi Orchestra's
leader who ordered 120 mics and a desk to be
supplied for the small stage for tomorrow. He
appears to have overlooked the fact that the stage
itself will barely accommodate 30.
THURSDAY, 2nd JULY
Alington and Bennett are finalising the stage
Glastonbury festival.
18.00: At last it has stopped raining. The sound
crew are fighting against the odds now to get even
part of it ready for Mr Carreras' rehearsal,
scheduled for 22.00.
23.15: The stage is finished; Mick Kluczynski
completes a tour of inspection sporting a vastly
oversized camouflage jacket and a broad smile.
José Carreras has arrived, but appears relaxed
about the wait. Messrs Hey, Alington, Cast, Zieba
and Bennett are finishing the orchestral miking
while the musicians tune up. It is now very cold
indeed.
23.20: José Carreras has nipped on stage
unnoticed. The baton falls. Red Square Invites
layout the boards must be painted tonight.
Carreras will now be arriving tomorrow evening,
and will come straight from the airport for
rehearsals. The crew crosses their fingers. With
luck the PA will be ready in time.
FRIDAY, 3rd JULY
9.00: I spend the morning trying to fax England.
Communications are dire: you are really on your
own here. There is no international line to the site
the nearest, and heavily oversubscribed, is in
Intertheatre's office 10 minutes walk away.
13.00: At lunch, the sky looks ominous. Shortly
afterwards, the weather goes ballistic. A short but
savage gale scatters the audience seating like
confetti, tears down speaker scrims, rips two large
pieces of wood from the stage set. Lightning
crackles. The intercom warns: 'Important
announcement .. all listeners ... power down
immediately.' The storm means that soundcheck
will be delayed because the soaked stage cannot be
finished. And this is supposed to be Russia's most
reliable period for weather.
Derrick Zieba of Dimension Audio was
appointed as sound designer and FOH
engineer for the festival, through his work
with the LCO.
He worked with the main PA contractor,
Britannia Row Productions, to design a PA
layout for an audience of 80,000.
The main FOH PA centred on a Turbosound
Flashlight TFS cluster, purchased in July by
Orion, which was suspended from a crane.
This was used to cover the grandstand seating
areas and arena audience seating.
In the stage wings, Britannia Row's
Turbosound TMS -3 arrays provided front fill,
while the delay towers (two main delays and
one further back) consisted of Maryland Sound
hi -low packs and TMS-3s.
Derrick Zeiba and Clinton Cast mixed FOH
for each show on two Yamaha PM3000
consoles, with Alan Bradshaw mixing monitors
on a Ramsa S840 desk.
-
-
.
The polite José Carreras
THE
PA
31
www.americanradiohistory.com
with an unfathomable mixture of noninformation
concerning their requirements. Meet the `Virtual
Violinist'. This is a man who demands a radio mic
because, he says, he must start his piece offstage
and make a grand entrance playing his fiddle. A
Sony radio mic is duly provided. Whereupon he
tells the crew, don't worry, I only mime on stage.
Zieba says the Moisseyev have already supplied
four different stage lists. When the troupe and
their orchestra finally arrive, the line -up is
substantially different again.
Bennett: `In the end we just left the stage for an
hour and let them set it up, then we went round
the stage, looking at the parts and trying to work
out the Russian is that a viola? It's like the
choir. Just before each show there's supposed to be
a liturgy sung by a choir. We allocated six
channels for them that we could have used
elsewhere. And guess what they didn't turn up.'
Alington: `And at the start of each show, there
was supposed to be a special peal on the Kremlin
bells. It turned out to be a guy standing beside the
stage with a set of handbells on strings.'
16.00: It looks, once again, like rain. Drops
spatter the square, but thankfully there is no
-
-
FOH Yamaha PM3000
has music.
Carreras has a reputation for suffering neither
fools nor poor PA sound gladly. There is some
nervousness backstage. After five minutes, he
stops the performance and calls for the stage
manager, Colin Rowell. Could his two mics
possibly be moved forward a yard? he asks Rowell.
If the sound guys don't mind, he adds politely. No
problem at all, replies Rowell, relieved.
However, during the rehearsal it becomes
apparent that there's a small but extremely
persistent buzz in the PA
potentially
horrendous problem. Everyone has a different
theory. Lights, as tradition dictates, are blamed
first to the indignation of Nick Jones's Theatre
Projects team.
A search is launched to find out whether
someone's patched something into a circuit
somewhere without telling anyone else.
Alington explains the joys of earthing in Red
Square. 'If you're going to hold a concert anywhere
in Russia, this corner of this site is the worst place
you could choose. Nothing would normally get
through our integral stage earth. But there's so
much going on at this end of Red Square that
there's a background of 5 amps constantly all over
the stage. We can deal with it, but it certainly
doesn't make our life easy.' The team has learnt
from various `sources' that radar and a powerful
long wave transmitter are two of the devices aimed
at the stage. `The other problem is that the
Kremlin's earth is so dirty it isn't really an earth
at all.'
The sound crew becomes the night shift while I
head for bed. Mr Carreras will finish his rehearsal
in the morning.
SATURDAY, 4th JULY
13.00: Half the sound crew have not slept. The
other half slipped away at 7.00 to get some sleep
before 11.00 rehearsals with José Carreras. But
The Great Buzz has finally been eliminated: there
are weary smiles all round.
It was a combination of the sheer quantity of
mains and signal cables around the stage, and the
unfriendly electrical environment. Much of the
cabling has been rerouted and Dunnett has done
some dark diplomacy with his Russian `sparks'.
One theory which later proves to be true
-has it that a KGB bunker full of powerful
computers lies directly under the stage site. Steve
Moss observes that the crew have been hammering
-a
-
-
32 Studio Sound, November 1992
long copper stakes into the cobbles precisely where
this bunker is supposed to be.
Alington says: `It was funny, because we had a
panic phone call from the Russians two days
before the trucks were due to leave, asking us to
confirm that none of the equipment had excessive
radiation or radio emissions. We wrote back
saying, yes, all our gear conforms to FCC and
IEEE regulations. Then we got into Red Square
and found you can virtually stand there and glow!'
14.00. The FOH team's impromptu roof will
have to come down, says Kluczynski. `It's
obstructing the VIP grandstand,' he explains.
`Sorry.' It's back to plastic sheeting.
21.00. Boris Yeltsin is due to make the festival's
opening speech before Mr Carreras' concert. The
arena looks depressingly empty. People are
encouraged to come forward, to fill the seating
blocks. Yeltsin's First Deputy steps out and make
his own speech, then shuffles his papers, steps to
Mr Yelstin's microphone
and makes Yeltsin's
speech. It seems the President is otherwise
engaged.
The Deputy has a party trick. He grasps the
AKG microphone neck, assuming it to be some sort
of flexible gooseneck design and bends it slowly
towards himself until, with an loud crack, it snaps.
(Sound assistant Doug Bennett tells me later he
was wearing headphones in the mobile and almost
fell off his chair when this happened.)
-
SUNDAY, 5th JULY
9.00. At breakfast, people are relieved that the
first show went off without a hitch. Zieba now has
more time to fine-tune the Flashlight PA, but
comments that without it, even untuned, the
results would not have been half as good given the
short setup time available.
Intertheatre claim there were 30,000 in the
crowd for Mr Carreras. 5,000 is far more like it.
Would it not be a good idea, I wonder, for
Intertheatre to cut their losses and fill the square
with free tickets? Someone has had the same idea,
it seems, for `Free Concert' is boldly displayed on
the Star Vision screens. Later, Sokhadze appears
in Screenco's cabin, demanding the word `free' be
deleted forthwith.
Tonight's Moisseyev show is not going live to TV
so there's a calmer atmosphere; 011ie from Edwin
Shirley Trucking and Bryan Grant go cap
badge -hunting.
11.00. The Moisseyev turn up for a run-through,
deluge.
18.00: Monitor man Alan Bradshaw
demonstrates his latest backstage technology. A
roll-up plastic `door' to the mix area is
accompanied by a Starship-Enterprise-like hissing
door effect courtesy of a pink noise generator.
22.00: The Moisseyev Ballet are taking Moscow
by storm. They exude tremendous energy, vitality
and originality, bringing the cold, sparse crowd to
its feet time and again.
The Flashlight -TMS -3 main PA sounds superb,
even if half of it (the parts directed at the empty
grandstands) is now redundant. The delay towers
have been turned off: with a standing audience of
about 50, there is no point in wasting electricity.
The only fly in the audio ointment is the Spassky
Tower's clock which chimes loudly every quarter
hour. It cannot be turned off, although Bennett
notes: `For some of the show it was in tune with
the music.'
MONDAY, 6th JULY
10.00: Lighting technician Laura Patterson has
fallen 20 feet off a tower. Bruised and shocked, she
is taken to hospital. On her return she talks of
having a possibly broken arm manipulated by a
swaying doctor reeking of vodka. She flies home
tomorrow.
Security is another issue. AVL's Tim Handley
last night found two men in his Moscow Hotel
room, bent on robbery. Birchwatt fire messages off
to the British Embassy, Intertheatre and the
Moscow authorities.
14.00: No show tonight, but the Bolshoi
Orchestra want to rehearse on stage with the
square open to the public. Bridget Shaw frantically
rings everyone concerned to find out if this is OK.
Colin Rowell says that they are welcome to
rehearse whenever they like. Andy Ward, tracked
down at a radio station interview, dittos the
decision. He adds: `Call it a matinée if you like.'
The English -language Moscow News is deeply
scathing about Intertheatre's promotion. But we
hear that the final show (LCO -Dave Stewart Hothouse Flowers) is to be free admission which
should help make it truly spectacular for the
cameras.
23.00: Back at the hotel, security has been
tightened. Six large silent men with grey suits and
granite faces pace the lobby and corridors. They
are, it is whispered, mafiosi.
TUESDAY, 7th JULY
By now the festival is coasting along. The
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Mick Kluczynski
correctly,' he says, `except telling people they
wanted a feed of the show. It came as rather a
as press
spokesperson.
Terrific. My
interrogator is a
determined
woman from the
English-language
station Radio
Moscow who asks
politely how we
feel to be in her
city before homing
in for the kill: `So
tell me Mike, who
screwed up? Your
lot or ours?'
`Ummm, ahhh,
it's not quite as
Bob Birch, Mick Kluczynski and Colin Rowell
production is running like a well -oiled machine,
with the exception of the TV feeds which suffer
occasional hiccups as a result of being routed
through the Kremlin.
WEDNESDAY, 8th JULY
16.00: It is now sunny and warm, for almost the
first time this week. There is no word on the final
show as yet, which is looking a little uncertain
given that total attendances so far are no higher
than about 14,000.
Tonight is the International Gala Opera, again
with Carreras, joined by Nesterenko and a host of
other stars. The Moscow News comments that
many Russian's did not believe these performers
would actually turn up: `They have been promised
Carreras so many times before and got a Russian
instead,' it says.
The first 30 minutes of the show do not go out
live to South America as was expected
because the Kremlin team forgot to switch in a
vital link. `We'll have to retransmit that part
later,' says Alington.
Andy Ward notes: `It's a strange thing: we're in
control of all our technical side until it leaves us
then it's in the hands of the Russians and you
can't get any straight answers. They have no
concept of urgency or production standards. They
wanted their presenter to commentate on the
ballet like it was a motor race on air and
through the PA. `Yes, and he's coming up to the
microphone .. !' There are a few Russians on the
team who do know what they are doing, though.
THURSDAY, 9th JULY
11.00. Denouement. A crew meeting has been
fixed for 11.30 in one of the Moscow Hotel's
brooding lobbies. Everyone knows, of course, that
things are not good, financially, for the festival.
But there is a lot of optimism that it will run on as
scheduled. The crew gathers, on a small island of
cheap red sofas in an imponderably vast sea of
marble.
Andrew Somper, Mick Kluczynski and Andy
Ward stride in looking grim and tired. Somper
faces the half-circle of crew. `The LCO show is off,'
he says without preamble. 'The government, for
whatever reason, says it does not want a rock band
playing in Red Square.' There is complete silence
while we digest this news, shocked, not wanting to
believe the gig is off. Ward makes a speech,
sugaring the pill. We have four fantastic shows in
the can,' he says, `and the whole crew has been
brilliant.' Tonight's Russian Gala show, he says,
will continue but without the mobile or the
screens.
His last words to the meeting have the ring of
bitterness. `I can't tell you how sad I feel after all
this work that it's been so completely screwed up.'
12.00: I have been summarily appointed by
-
-
simple as that, Irina ...'
13.00: Toby Alington says that Russian TV's
live broadcast of the International Gala Opera was
somewhat last-minute. `They did everything
-
The LCO-Dave Stewart- Hothouse Flowers
show was successfully staged on July 12th
minus Dave Stewart at the Tallin
Rocksummer Festival in Estonia. It was,
ironically, the eve of the tiny republic's first
anniversary of independence from Moscow.
-
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ght
Clear S.
Across
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If
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surprise.'
FRIDAY, 10th JULY
Today, instead of preparing for one of the most
innovative concerts in Russia's history, the crew is
de- rigging. The Fleetwood mobile has gone
already. I learn later that Customs `requested' $50
to sign off each of the 43 trucks. The payoff was
made with vodka instead.
Andrew Somper sums up: `It was tremendously
rewarding to produce great programmes and
technically it was flawless: the whole team gave us
fantastic service throughout.' There is nothing left
to do now but pack our bags and go home.
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ií(081)
644 4447.
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B
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9
8.
AUGAN 4 0 8 OMX
Yasmin Hashmi examines the optical
disc -based recording system from Holland
The number of tapeless systems that are
using optical as the primary recording
medium are on the increase. This should
come as no surprise since the advantages
of using optical over hard disk, from the user's
point of view, are fairly obvious. However, from
the manufacturer's side, providing multichannel
replay using optical is not as easy as it would seem
and for this reason there are currently only a few
whose products do it. Of those that do, the
maximum number of simultaneous replay
channels is generally limited to four from one disc
particularly if the system's random access
requirements are high. Augan are no exception,
but they managed to be the first to provide a
system which supports 8 -track playback as
standard. They did this by using two optical drives
in parallel along with a little help from a hard
disk and some RAM.
-
Company
Background
Augan Instruments are based in the Netherlands
and have been trading for around seven years.
They started as a retail outlet for professional
audio systems and, inevitably, their attention
turned to tapeless recording. Having concluded
that the market lacked an affordable multipurpose
system, the company decided to build their own.
Their primary activity thus changed from being a
retailer to a manufacturer and their aim was to
design a multichannel system based on a
removable recording medium. The obvious choice
for such purposes was the magneto -optical disc
but, at the time, the access time of optical was not
high enough to cope with the demands of
multichannel operation. Augan therefore designed
their own chip set for handling sound files and
housekeeping and accommodated the optical's
limitations by using a hard disk as a cache.
The first prototype of the 408 OMX was shown
at the 1991 AES in Paris and the production model
became commercially available in October of that
year. Since then, a number of distributors have
been appointed including Studer in the UK. At the
time of writing Augan were also in the process of
setting up distribution in the USA.
Hardware
All processing, I -0 and storage is housed in a
4U-high, 19 -inch hardware rack. This contains two
38 Studio Sound, November 1992
optical drives, which combined provide 8 -track
replay. The system supports four inputs and eight
outputs of three types of format, namely analogue,
AES -EBU and SPDIF. On the front of the rack are
eight PPM -style level meters, four analogue input
level controls and a headphone socket.
The interfaces supported include a standard
Sony P2 protocol RS422 serial port, a trigger input
(for GPI start -stop), a SCSI port, a Centronix
parallel port, an RS232 serial port and MIDI In,
Out and Thru. The system will chase lock to LTC,
can also synchronise to video signal or word clock
and can control external machines via the RS422
interface.
The user interface consists of a flat remote, an
alphanumeric keyboard (without mouse) and an
electroluminescent display which clips on to the
top of the remote. The remote provides transport
controls, eight track -select keys, function select
keys, edit keys and a multipurpose wheel for
jogging.shuttling, scrubbing and scrolling. Next to
the LCD display are display control keys and
beneath is are soft keys whose functions change
according to which operational procedure is active.
Operation
The system will record a maximum of four tracks
simultaneously and replay a maximum of eight
tracks simultaneously. There is one main
operating screen and this displays any eight of the
64 virtual tracks as horizontal strips with audio
highlighted as blocks. If a track is displayed it is
immediately available to be made active for
recording or replay, if not it remains inactive in
the background. The functions of the soft keys on
the remote will change according to whether the
user is in recording or editing mode.
There are a number of recording modes to
choose from, depending on the application. For
monitoring purposes, there are analogue input
level meters on the rack and level meters on the
screen. These display a digital representation of
the analogue meters' monitor output, that is the
complete signal path from A-D, through processing
to D -A.
For straightforward recording, the user can
make up to four tracks active for simultaneous
recording and can assign any of the four inputs to
any track (although it will not record the same
input to more than one track at a time). The user
must also assign each track to one of the optical
drives. By default, tracks 1-4 are assigned to
drive A and tracks 5 -8 to drive B. However, any
track can be assigned to any drive and this can be
changed while recording takes place. This feature
is made possible by the buffering system and
allows long, continuous recording over multiple
discs.
For example, tracks 1 and 2 could be assigned to
drive A and recording for the duration of the disc
in drive A. When there is less than 5 minutes left
on disc A, the system displays a warning. While
still recording, the user can switch tracks 1 and 2
to drive B, remove the disc from drive A, replace it
with a fresh one and switch back to this when the
disc in drive B is full and so on.
Each disc is given a unique ID, part of which
consists of the unique code for the particular OMX
system in use thus no two discs anywhere can
have the same ID. When audio is recorded, the
system makes a note of the ID of the associated
disc and will thus prompt the user should the disc
associated with a selected cue be missing from the
drive.
The buffering used for the optical discs consists
of a 45Mb hard disk and 18Mb of RAM. On
recording, audio is fed directly to the hard disk
which then feeds the appropriate optical disc. On
replay, the optical discs feed the hard disk which
in turn feeds the RAM. This internal operation,
however, is transparent to the user. During
recording, the tracks fill up with blocks
representing the audio and once recording is
stopped, the system automatically gives the take a
name (which can be changed using the
alphanumeric keyboard).
Up to four tracks can be punched -in
simultaneously and the system's operation is the
same as that of multitrack tape machine in that
all eight tracks can be monitored pre, during and
post -punch-in. Punch -in points can be defined by
markets which can be made on the fly or by typing
in a time. There is a loop and rehearse function
which loops between the points, waiting for the
user to select record and new points can be set
while recording is taking place. Punch -ins can be
undone, but if they are kept, there is a clean-up
mode which will scan all 64 virtual tracks and
erase all unused audio, leaving five-second
handles (that is some audio pre and post-edit
point) on the remaining audio.
There is a gate function which automatically
generates cues from long recordings. It allows a
threshold level and a release time to be set which
makes the system drop in and out of record only
while audio is present, automatically updating the
cue name each time. The gate function can be used
independently on each track, allowing different
settings for each track and thereby allowing
checkerboards to be reconstituted.
The system has a number of recording modes
which are designed to work in conjunction with
video editing systems. the `simple device mode'
-
The OMX uses a mixture of optical discs, a hard disk and on-board RAM to provide seamless production
turns the OMX into a slave machine, synchronised
via LTC and controlled by a video editor which
would make the track selection and drop the OMX
in and out of record. The `full device mode'
performs the functions of simple device as well as
allowing transport functions of the OMX to be
controlled. In both of these modes there is two -way
communication between master and slave. In the
`listen mode' there is only one-way communication.
This mode allows the OMX to be inserted in
between a record VTR and an editor, such that the
OMX eavesdrops and will checkerboard and record
handles, the length of which are defined by the
video editor.
The system is also capable of background
recording. Apart from the selected record tracks
not being audible during recording, this mode does
not interfere with normal operation, that is all
other tracks can be replayed and -or edited while
background recording takes place.
During replay, the timebase of the track display
can be expanded or compressed to represent from
1 second to 12 hours and can be changed at any
time, even while recording or replaying and can
also be used as locators for a VTR. When slaving to
time code, the system chase locks and on seeing
code, will jump a few frames ahead of the time at
which the VTR starts playing. It then uses
varispeed to get into true sync. The OMX will
varispeed across all eight tracks with a tolerance
of ±10% while maintaining a digital output with a
constant sampling rate. Conversely, the system
can control the shuttle or scrub of the VTR, with
the audio following suit.
Editing mainly consists of cut -and -paste type
operations with one level of undo. Tracks to be
edited are selected on the remote and editing
operations can be carried out on a single track or
globally on multiple tracks. There are specific keys
on the remote for marking-in and out points of
cues and any cue can be moved or copied to any
track.
There are various ways of locating edit points.
These include using transport controls, markers,
the goto function, nudge keys and the wheel. The
goto function is used in conjunction with typing in
a location time and a number of locations can be
saved and quickly recalled. The wheel can be used
for scrolling along the timebase and scrubbing,
and the keys can be used for nudging forward or
backward in time. The resolution of the nudge can
be set from subframes to event resolution
(whereby an entire cue is selected for moving,
cutting and so on). The user can also choose to
jump to cue -in or out points or to markers. In
addition, the system allows auditioning up to and
away from markers but will not perform and
audition between in and out points. However this
limitation can be overcome by copying the section
to spare track and replaying it in isolation.
For detailed editing purposes, a graphic
envelope display can be called up which replaces
the standard recording -editing screen. It allows
various cue parameters to be edited in real time
including crossfades, fade ins -outs and a cue's
volume envelope. It also allows a cue's trigger
point to be offset such that a point other than the
in -point can be used to synchronise a cue to an
event time. Volume envelopes can either be
defined as an overall step level or as a graduated
envelope determined by level break points.
Crossfades of varying durations can be selected
with a choice of linear, log or exponential shapes
and fade -in and fade -out durations can be edited
and auditioned independently. The edit -point itself
can also be trimmed and an entire crossfade can be
moved to a different position.
In addition to cue levels being set, the user can
also assign an overall static level and -or perform
automated dynamic level control on each track
individually and-or globally to a group of selected
tracks. Any track can be assigned to any output
such that, for example, up to four tracks could be
assigned to Output 7 and another four to Output 8
for a stereo output. Tracks can also be internally
mixed down such that a maximum of seven mono
tracks can be mixed into one or 6- into -2 (for
stereo). Other editing functions include an autofill
feature and time compression (but not expansion)
by up to 40 %.
-
MIDI
Although dynamic level control can be performed
using the wheel, the system will support control
via a MIDI mixer. Other MIDI functions supported
include reading note-on/note-off commands (which
can be recorded as events), reading and generating
MTC and the ability to assign up to 64 cues to a
MIDI keyboard. Up to 16 mono or eight stereo cues
(or any combination therein) can be triggered
simultaneously without constraint on a cue's
length. Alternatively, cues can be triggered by
assigning them to keys on the remote and -or the
alphanumeric keyboard.
Library function
Tracks and cues can be named and cues can be
saved in a library. Each session has its own
associated library which can store up to eight
separate lists of cues and there is an autocopy
39
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PPM 1109 stereo
Analog + Digital
Audio Peakmeter
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PPM 1227 stereo, 254 mm scale length
self contained
Model 1206
self contained
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Peak programme meters
for monitoring the peak level
in analog and digital audio
Memo .20e13 Reset
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8- Channel
Module
Multi- Channel Unit
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16 -4 and 24 -4
RTW Correlator
Compatibility meter
displays the phase correlation
of stereo recordings
Correlator Model 1170
Correlator Model 1160
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NRADIO -TECHNISCHE WERKSTÄTTEN GMBH
Telephone (221) 70913-0 Tx 8885217 Fax (221) 70913-32
Elbeallee 19 Post Box 7106 54 D -5000 Köln 71 W.- Germany
J
(2) 4174700 Austria: ACOUSTA ELEKTRONIK, Tel (662) 824627 Belgium /Netherlands: P.A.C., Tel
Canada: J -MAR ELECTRONICS LTD.. Tel (416) 4219080 Denmark: SC SOUND APS, Tel (42) 998877 Finland: AV -POINT ICS
Great Britain: AUDIO AND DESIGN LTD., Tel (0734) 844545 Israel: H.M.
AB, Tel (0) 5666733 France: SCV AUDIO, Tel (1) 48632211
Italy: AUDIO EQUIPMENT SRL, Tel (39) 2000312 Japan: SANIX CORPORATION, Tel (3) 7025315 Korea:
ACOUSTICA LTD., Tel (3) 5590266
DAESAN INTERNATIONAL INC., Tel (2) 7368442 Norway: SIV -ING BENUM AS, Tel (2) 145460 Spain: SINGLETON PRODUCTIONS, Tel (3)
2377060 South -Africa: ELTRON LTD., Tel (11) 7870355 Sweden: AV MEDIA AB, Tel (755) 65498 Switzerland: AUDIO BAUER AG, Tel (1)
Australia: SYNTEC INTERNATIONAL, Tel
(40) 510484
4323230 Switzerland: DECIBEL S.A., Tel (21) 9463337
USA: ESL ELECTRONIC SYSTEMS, Tel (305) 7911501
function which will copy all cues on a track as
individual elements in the library. At the time of
writing, the databasing software was not yet
available. In the meantime, in order to select a cue
from another session, the complete library from
the other session would need to be imported. The
desired cuels) would then be selected as required
and once the current session is over, the system
would recognise which cues had been used from
the imported library and copy these into the
current session's library.
All audio and all information concerning a
project, such as edit information, events lists,
input and output routing etc. is saved on the
optical discs. If a less expensive archive medium is
required, the system will backup to DAT via SCSI.
A database system for library functions should
be available by the autumn. There are also plans
to provide EDL autoconforming either directly
from a video editor via RS422 or, since the OMX
does not have a floppy drive itself, from a PC via
RS232. In terms of increasing the number of
simultaneous replay tracks, the system will
currently allow up to seven additional OMXs to be
sampled locked together for 64 -track replay
controlled by one remote. However, since
higher- density discs will have faster access times,
Augan intend to use these, once they become
available, to provide a 16-track system in one rack.
This will also mean that existing users can
upgrade without having to completely replace
their hardware.
Applications
everything to everyone. It does not, for example,
provide time expansion and the compression
algorithm used is fairly basic. Neither does it
provide equalisation and, at the time of writing at
least, the library functions were very basic. In
addition, there are some editing functions and
operations which could be improved. Nonetheless,
the system is continually evolving suggestions
for its improvement since its launch have been
acted upon and, no doubt, further enhancements
are to follow. Software updates are provided to
customers every two or three months and Augan
maintain that these will be free of charge for the
foreseeable future. In addition, they have built a
certain amount of headroom into the system's
hardware (it is theoretically capable of handling
128 audio channels simultaneously) and intend to
provide an upgrade path existing users as optical
technology progresses.
With such a clear commitment to its
development and with little or no competition in it
price range, the 408 OMX appears to have a bright
future ahead of it, for the time being at least.
-
-
Conclusion
For further information contact:
Studer Revox UK Ltd, Foster House, Maxwell
Road, Elstree Way, Borehamwood, Herts,
WD61JH, UK. Tel: +44 81 953 3533.
The fact that the system uses optical disc as the
recording medium makes it an attractive
proposition particularly for those users who have
multisystem applications or who need a fast turn
around time between sessions. However, the 408
OMX has more going for it than simply the use of
optical alone. Its recording and synchronisation
features are comprehensive and make it a
versatile system, equally applicable to specific
applications as to general ones
fact
highlighted by the diversity of users the system
already has.
Despite this, the OMX does not pretend to be
Fax: +44 81 207 5103.
Or contact Augan direct for worldwide
distribution: Tel: +31 85 648 966.
Fax: +3185 644785.
-a
At the time of writing, around 45 systems had
been sold, mostly in Germany, Italy and the UK;
the applications for which the system is used are
about time....
Its
RELATIVE
fairly diverse. In Germany and Italy it is mainly
being used for replacing film transports whereas
in the UK it is also being used for audio for video
postproduction and for radio production. German
Radio are using the OMX in conjunction with an
optical jukebox (connected via SCSI) for
automated playback of commercials.
The system was also used by the BBC's Outside
Broadcast Unit for the Barcelona Olympics to edit
interviews for radio which were then sent via
satellite back to the UK. They also made use of the
background recording mode for recording new
conferences while editing and replaying.
The loop and rehearse mode can be used for
ADR purposes. Using the system's machine
control, it will control the loop of an external VTR
and will wait, before commencing replay of the
loop, for the VTR to catch up. Since the system
recording medium is removable, facilities with
multiple systems could employ a smaller OMX for
the listen or device mode and take the disc to
larger system for multitrack purposes.
DELAY
1
DELAY 2
..
DELAY 3
Ì
.
PROGRAM
DELAY 4
'=1
i1
I;
PUSH FOR CCARSE
METRES
STORE
RECALL
SAF
UNITS
HOLD FOR
LEFT
IU
UTILITY
RIGHT
TCS
804 DUAL
High Audio Performance
Advanced Facilities
105dB usable dynamic range. +20dBu headroom
with fine resolution at low signal levels.
10µs step resolution at all delay settings.
BSS Audio Ltd
Unit 5, Merlin Centre,
Automatic calculation of delay required.
Acrewood Way,
No companding or pre-emphasis means superior
headroom at high frequencies.
12
St.
programme memories, with remote recall.
TIME CORRECTOR
Albans,
Hert AL4 OJY
England.
Exceptional phase linearity and HF accuracy due
to high sample rate with gentle filtering.
Venue ambient temperature compensation.
Digital level control including automatic headroom compensation.
Phone: (0727) 45242
Absolute stereo lock (TCS - 804)
Relative shift function to integrate time alignment and distance correction
Telex: 265612 BSS G
Plus all
the solid basics you d expect from
BSS.
Sophisticated remote control including Master /Slave MIDI linking,
The TCS Range: TCS -804
rereo
Fax: (0727)
45277
PA -422
and TCS-803
. 0EdgeTech
111.
11;k3.0.401
PROFESSIONAL AUDIO EQUIPMENT
Tonmeistertagung, Stadthalle, Festplatz, 7500 Karlsruhe, 17. -20. November 1992, Stand 218
Worldwide: STUDER International, a division of STUDER REVOX AG, Althardstrasse 10
870 75 11, Telefax +41 1 840 47 37
CH 8105 Regensdorf, Switzerland, Telephone +41
1
Ralph Denyer talks
to veteran live
sound engineer
Roger Lindsay
about his career
Roger Lindsay is a live sound concert
engineer and consultant who has
worked with an impressive array of
major acts since he made his way to
London from his native city of Liverpool at the tail
end of the '60s. He played trumpet and studied
music to Royal College of Music Grade 8,
eventually playing with the National Youth
Orchestra. He also recalls `playing guitar and
singing rather badly in local Liverpool bands,'
before working as a roadie with the likes of Jack
Bruce, Velvet Underground and Procol Harum
during the late '60s and early '70s.
During 1972, in partnership with Soundcraft
Electronics, Lindsay then formed Europa Concert
Sound, one of the first UK live -concert sound
companies to evolve to meet the increasing
demand for large scale sound reinforcement
systems. At the same time as administering
Europa, Lindsay was also house engineer on UK,
European and world tours. The company serviced
for acts such as Bryan Ferry, Ry Cooder, Stanley
Clarke, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris and the
Hot Band, Bonnie Raitt, James Brown and many
others. In 1981 he bought out Soundcraft's interest
in Europa and effectively renamed the company
Lindsay Audio. During 1987 Lindsay sold his
interests in the equipment side of the business.
His accumulated experience and proven ability
meant that many artists were requesting his
services out on the road. As a result it was quite
viable for him to devote all his time to working as
a live sound engineer and consultant.
The list of credits continued to grow. Live and
studio work with Alison Moyet and Elaine Page
followed, as did consultancy work for Frank
Sinatra and Hall & Oates. Most of 1987 was taken
up travelling the globe as FOH sound engineer for
Sade. Then the same for Everything but The Girl,
Basia and Marc Cohn.
Other miscellaneous credits include B.B. King,
Blondie, Carole King, Chieftains, Crusaders,
Christians, Cyndi Lauper, Dire Straits, Dolly
Parton, Frank Zappa, Go West, James Last, Joe
Cocker, London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus,
Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Liza Minelli,
Nils Lofgren, Sister Sledge, Terence Trent D'Arby
and Paul Young.
During 1992 he was FOH sound engineer at
LIVE AND PROSPEROUS
43
the Glastonbury Festival, toured again as
consultant with Sinatra, and supervised for
Britannia Row Productions in Spain at the main
Olympics and the Paralympics. At the time of our
interview he was carrying out preparatory work
for Sade's 1992 world touring requirements and
for a one -off charity concert at the Royal Albert
Hall featuring Dave Gilmour plus assorted
Floydians, The Count Basie Orchestra, Elvis
Costello and others.
Experience
Lindsay is in an enviable position for a live
soundman. Because of his experience in dealing
with a wide range of musical situation he is never
short of work.
`I suppose when you're younger you have the
rock and pop snobbery. You'll work for the flavour of-the -month rock act but you wouldn't be seen
dead with a MOR act. When I was younger that
was definitely the way it went. Over the years I've
learnt that it's not necessarily the type of music
that's played but how it's played.'
`I've worked with artists that initially I wasn't
that enthusiastic about, not the type of music I
might listen to when I was off duty or whatever,
but it was musically valid. There were good
players involved, good arrangements, good sounds,
and that was enough for me to want to improve or
enhance a performance and to help to make it
something special. Whereas years ago I probably
dismissed 90% of music and my education
wouldn't have been complete. Julio Iglesias is a
good example. I wouldn't go home and listen to
him but millions of people worldwide do. However
when I actually saw him performing initially
they flew me over to Reno to listen to him and talk
-
to him about the possibility of working together
and I realised he had a great voice, it was a big
band with lots of great sounds, percussion, Latin
influences and musical interest. In sonic terms it
-
was really interesting and new for me, and
stimulating to work on.
`To be honest there are certain acts, rather than
types of music, that I know I could never make
sound good. There has to be something in the
music I can enhance or improve. If I can't stand
the music there's no way I'm going to be able to
mix it and make it sound good. You have to love
what you do to do it well. It's no more complicated
than that.'
During the early '70s in the days of Europa
Concert Sound, it was Phil Dudderidge who
encouraged Lindsay to work with acts outside of
mainstream rock music. `Phil would come in one
day and say: `We've got a tour with so- and -so and
they've got a 50-piece orchestra. You'll do that
won't you?
`And, with the best of intentions, he'd just give
me that nudge. I'm glad he did nudge me because
now nothing holds any fear for me. Years ago I
would worry about being able to deal with some
situations. But over the years I've probably mixed
most kinds of music. And I'm glad because each
time you do something different, you learn and you
can apply that extra knowledge to the next project.
It might seem unlikely but you can learn
something dealing with an orchestra that might
work the next time you engineer for a rock band. It
may be something as simple as an effects sound
that works well on a string section which you can
then use with electronic strings.
if there is such a
`The ideal -sized band for me
thing would be around ten piece: maybe with
vocals, three horns, backing vocals, a couple of
-
-
guitars, keyboards, percussion, that kind of thing.
And I'm lucky in that a lot of the acts I've worked
with fall into that slot. Sade is a great example. A
perfect line-up and they use dynamics.
'I toured with Frank Zappa during the mid -'70s
and the thing that has stayed with me from just a
few shows was his use of dynamics. Dynamics can
make or break music. One minute it's rock'n'roll
full in your face, the next minute there's just a
soprano sax with a Hammond underneath or
something, and then just as fast, straight back in
your face. No lasers, no dry ice, just musical
impact and I find that very exciting.
`Nowadays I've found that with a lot of
electronics in use, perhaps people are forgetting
dynamics. I mean, typically, it's hard to get
dynamics into a drum machine. At Glastonbury
this year, I was engineering for Buddy Guy and
after three days he was one of the first acts to use
dynamics. He'd go from loud full Hendrix -type
licks right down almost to a whisper. I love to hear
that. And it's not just confined to rock music. In
Classical music or anything, dynamics can make
so much difference. Nowadays a lot of acts seem to
explore other avenues when dynamics are just
sitting there and anyone can use them and to
devastating effect.'
Sound systems
We spoke at length about the contentious topic of
the merits of various sound systems. Lindsay
works with most of the major concert sound
systems and therefore is able to give an interesting
perspective on the subject.
`Most of the engineers I've known over the years
have their particular preferences regarding
equipment, but not necessarily to the exclusion of
\\lien developing our famous noise
The two -channel Dolby Spectral
reduction systems, we learned how
Processor lets you raise low -level signals
process low -level signals while leaving
in three frequency hands by as much as
high-level signals untouched. Now we're
20 dB without affecting high -level
putting that special knowledge to work in
signals. It's like a magnifying glass
a new kind of dynamic equalizer.
for sonic details. You can emphasize
The Dolby Spectral Processor lets you bring out
low -level detail without affecting louder sounds.
ho
Spectral Processor
You've Always
WANTED
44 Studio Sound, November 1992
`When you can just fax a list of state -of-the -art
equipment; whatever boards, effects, speakers you
want to Clair Brothers, Show Co or Britannia
Row, it's not really surprising you can make it
sound good. Basically you're getting everything
you could possible desire.
`But when you go into a club which has a
considerably less than state -of-the -art house
system that you may never have seen or heard
before and still achieve a good result, that's when
you earn your money.
I think the choice of equipment is very
important. But at the same time the skill that
makes a good engineer can only be partly
explained through experience and the types of acts
they've worked with. It's also involves having the
ability to deal with less than ideal circumstances
both in equipment and surroundings and still get a
good result.
-e ---YI
íY
ö
Yi
it
n
iü
.am.
i-
t
.
everything else. You can get a good result with any
professional console or what have you, but it's just
that a particular one feels more comfortable or
familiar so you can get a result quicker.
`In an ideal world we would all get to use
exactly the equipment we wanted to use all the
time. It doesn't work like that. I think that one of
the reasons I remain employed is I can deal with
the unexpected or perhaps the unfamiliar. That
was brought home to me last year. I did a club tour
in America, which is something I haven't done for
15 years, where you literally walk into a club with
some musicians and use whatever equipment is
there. The audience may be in the hundreds
rather than thousands, but you still have to give
them a good result.'
Aimee,
`To qualify the whole thing, I don't think that
nowadays there are any bad systems in use on the
major touring circuit because there is too much at
stake. Companies using poor equipment would fall
by the wayside too quickly and reputations are
built over the years.
`Over the years I get people saying things to me
like: "What's the best mike for kick -drum?" Or:
"What's the best mike for an acoustic piano?" I tell
them: "Whatever sounds best to you. Use whatever
sounds best to you because at the end of the day
you have to please yourself." This is a question
that pops up less and less as I get older because I
suppose people tend to hire me because of
reputation or whatever. When you're young you
probably have more interference. Someone will
come up to you and say- "I think this will work
better." At the end of the day you have to make
those decisions. You have to sit there in the middle
of a stadium or arena, regardless of what a
manager, an agent or anyone else around you
thinks You have to say: "This is as good as I can
get it. This is how I feel it should sound." and hope
that 99% of the people in the arena agree with you.
`Sound is a very subjective thing, more so than
anything I can think of. After a show you can take
a cross -section of the audience and ask what they
thought of the sound and sometimes you'll get
half-a-dozen completely opposed opinions. And it's
not that any one particular person is right, it's just
that that's the way people hear concerts. I have
engineered shows which I came away from feeling
that I didn't nail that one down. Yet managers and
people have come up to me and said: "That's the
most amazing thing I've ever heard!" And you
can't tell them they're wrong because that's how
they feel about it. For them you made it sound
good and you made it special.
`I believe that at the end of the day what keeps
you on the straight and narrow is trusting your
own ears. If it doesn't sound right to yon, you have
to act on that, regardless.
`It's like artists reading their own reviews. If a
show is bad, you know it's bad. If it's good, you
should know it's good. But at the end of the day
you are the only one who can make that decision.
It's more difficult when you're a young engineer.
You're under a lot of pressure. There'll be
manager, promoter, agent, and record producer,
one of whom might thoughtlessly make some
remark and you'll go: "Oh God! It isn't loud
enough," or whatever. When you do that you're
lost. Remember the Troggs tapes? You cannot have
six producers in the studio or on a live show. At
the end of the day you have to make that decision
and stick with it. And hopefully over the years
you'll make the right decisions.'
lift harmonics, and brit>g out
adjust the threshold below which
touch Of presence on a vocal track to
therwise inaccessible subtleties - all
processing occurs, the amount of boost
sweetening a final stereo mix, the Dolby
ithout squashing transients, increasing
in each band, and the crossover between
Spectral Processor provides the kind of
verall track level. or disturbing the
bands. With noisy material, you can also
EQ you've always wanted. Contact your
verall sense of dynamics.
ttitch
Dolby Professional Products dealer
For maximum effectiveness, you can
in a gentle sliding -hand noise
reduction circuit. From adding that extra
soon for a demonstration.
?ATIOR
-ddeilingT
Side Chain
0D
Clip
Active
Input Ctip
Filters
200
Eq
In
out dB
8k
-12
Out
High
Side
Chain
_
'
de
11.
-50
_
46
i
-6o dB
-a
CHANNEL B
Dolby Laboratories Inc. 100 Potrero Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94103 -4813 Telephone 415 -558 -0200 Facsimile 415-863 -1373 Telex 34409
346 Clapham Road, London SW9 9AP Telephone 071- 720 -1111 Facsimile 071- 720-4118 Telex 919109
Dolby and the double-D symbol are trademarks of Dolby Laboratories Licensing Corporation ©1992 Dolby Laboratories Inc. S92/9552
DO Dolby
15
YAMAHA PM4 0 0 0
Following in the tracks of Yamaha's
popular PM3000 PA console, the PM4000
combines many familiar features with
some welcome improvements. Review by
Patrick Stapley
ith sales well in excess of 1,000,
there can be little doubt that the
PM3000 was a hugely successful
product for Yamaha. The console's
strongest market has been in the US, where it has
been the top -selling, top-end front of house desk
since its introduction in 1986. Consequently
Yamaha have been loathe to radically change the
design, preferring to update and improve it where
necessary. The PM4000 then represents a
spruced -up version whose familiarity will certainly
appeal to past users, but those looking for bold
new features, such as automation, will be
disappointed. I asked Yamaha's UK manager for
specialist pro audio, Alan Martin, why automation
was not included, bearing in mind the desk's VCA
capability?
We did look at the possibility of adding
automation quite closely, but we felt that adding a
comprehensive system would be pushing facilities
beyond what the majority of people expected from
this console. Also, with the current recessionary
climate, we didn't feel that the extra cost, which
automation would have necessitated, would have
been very well received.'
Changes and
enhancements
The console is supplied in 24, 32, 40 and 48 -input
configurations; four additional full-facility stereo
input modules are included as standard, replacing
the previous aux returns. These modules can be
switched from normal stereo operation to accept
left or right inputs only, or left and right summed.
Additional stereo modules can be added in place of
mono inputs as long as the total number of inputs
does not exceed 64.
The console contains six types of module all of
which have been reduced slightly in width; this
along with a reduction in the number of output
modules has resulted in a 48 -way PM4000 being
little bigger than a a 40 -way PM3000
(2086 x 1121mm as opposed to 1919 x 960mm).
Keeping the console compact has obvious
advantages both in terms of portability and saving
valuable auditorium seating.
46 Studio Sound, November 1992
An area where the PM3000 came in for criticism
was signal -to- noise, and Yamaha have addressed
this by redesigning some of the electronics
including a new head -amp, which has considerably
improved the specifications. The dual -concentric
gain pot has also been replaced with a 50dB gain
trim and 30dB pad, permitting quicker, less fiddly
operation with a range of -70 to +10dB. The input
gain controls have been moved to the top portion of
the module rather than appearing just above the
fader as before this is to satisfy US requests
and may not be so well received elsewhere. All
input faders are VCA, and a further sonic
improvement has been made here with the
addition of new VCA circuitry. Although
signal -to -noise has been improved throughout the
console, the phones circuit remains noisy.
Perhaps one of the most significant changes is
to the 4 -band equaliser, which has been completely
redesigned, and has already received an
enthusiastic response at early demos. Now fully
parametric, the overall frequency range has been
extended (30Hz to 20kHz ±15dB), also due to the
use of times 20 multipliers', each band benefits
from an extremely generous overlap. The HP filter
remains variable between 20 to 400Hz at
12dB /octave. The insert point (balanced +4dBm)
has been equipped with a PRE-POST EQ switch
(stereo inputs must be switched internally)
when selected pre, the insert is positioned
between the EQ and HP Filter.
The auxiliaries feature eight mono and two
stereo sends. As before each send includes
PRE -OFF -POST switching, but the switch itself has
been changed to a sealed type to guard against dirt
and resulting noise problems. Additionally
individual sends can be internally switched so that
the prefade signal is derived post EQ. Each stereo
send may be switched between stereo operation
(level and pan) and dual mono operation (level left,
level right) thus if the stereo sends are operated
in mono, each channel is capable of 12 discrete
auxiliary outputs. The stereo auxiliary masters
also switch from stereo (level and balance) to dual
mono operation. All aux masters are now fitted
with switchable insert points. The stereo input
channels are fitted with an internal switch that
causes the odd numbered mono auxiliaries to
-
-
-
source the left input and the even numbered the
right.
Above each input channel fader is a 6- segment
LED meter (a pair for stereo channels) which may
be switched pre -or-post fade. These replace the
clip and signal LEDs previously fitted, and provide
a quick method of confirming signal as well as
providing useful level information, particularly for
peak and overload. An additional peak LED is
included next to the gain control, which is
activated when the signal directly after the
channel preamp reaches 3dB below clipping.
The eight VCA -group and eight mute -group
selector buttons beside each fader remain the
same apart from two changes: the LED indicators
are now incorporated within the switches to
accommodate the narrower channel strip, and a
MUTE SAFE button has been added to isolate the
channel from any mute group switching. The VCA
masters now also include mutes, so providing
another completely separate level of group muting.
The CUE -SOLO button has been moved from its
original, and possibly vulnerable position just
below the fader, to the bottom right of the module.
Cue (PFL) or solo (SIP) modes are switched
globally from a centrally placed button protected
by a flip -top cover. This button along with a solo
warning light will flash once the destructive SIP
mode has been selected. The stereo input
channels include a recessed sow DEFEAT
microswitch above the CUE -SOLO button, enabling
the channel to be isolated from SIP muting, thus
the console can be configured for SIP with effect.
As before all SOLO buttons on the console are
half-way press causes
double-action
momentary operation, and a full press will lock the
switch. The cue systems retains input priority, so
for example if a CUE button has been selected on
one of the group masters, it will be overridden by a
cue selection made from an input channel. This
enables the engineer to check an input channel
without first having to deselect cues on the output
modules. As supplied from the factory, the cue
signal is derived prefade, but an internal jumper
in each input channel permits the source to follow
the PRE -POST button that switches the channel
LED meter.
The console's VU metering capability has been
enhanced by the addition of METER SOURCE SELECT
buttons placed within easy reach of the engineer,
rather than being individually positioned above
the meters themselves. The number of output
meters fitted will vary depending on frame size
24 and 32-input consoles have 14 VUs including
two large stereo L, R meters, while the 40 and
48 -input frames have 18, including the stereo
meters. All meters are illuminated and now
include peak reading LEDs. The meters are
arranged into two banks (2 x 4, or 2 x 8 depending
-a
-
Users of the PM3000 will be impressed with the improvements on the PM4000
on console size); these banks can be separately
switched to source group, matrix or auxiliary
levels for example a 48 -input desk could be
switched to display the group levels on the first
eight meters and the matrix levels on the second
eight; if the second bank of meters were selected to
-
auxiliary, they would display the stereo auxs,
monitor A (see later), talkback, and oscillator
levels.
Routing
The routing structure remains the same in that
the input channels can feed to eight groups and
the stereo bus; there is, however, now a direct
output available from mono channels only via rear
jack sockets (internally switchable pre -post fader).
Groups can be routed to both the mix matrix and
the stereo bus, and the stereo bus can route to the
matrix. Switchable inserts have been provided for
the stereo, group, and matrix circuits.
The mix matrix has the same 11 x 8
configuration as before. Each strip contains rotary
level controls for the eight groups (pre or post
master fader depending on internal switching), the
stereo bus left and right (also pre -post selectable),
and a sub input from a rear connector. These mix
via a matrix master level control to a discrete rear
panel output. The eight outputs from the matrix
can be used in a variety of ways to send different
mixes to different parts of the house, to set up
stage monitor mixes, to feed local and remote
programs simultaneously, and so on.
Two new sections have been added
monitor A
and monitor B. Both are equipped with a selection
of SOURCE buttons (more for monitor A), LEVEL
control and ON-OFF switch, and feed -to- stereo
outputs at the rear. In addition, monitor A's
output is fed to the phones circuit (two stereo jack
sockets), and can be picked up by the VU meters.
When the cue circuit is activated, a LED lights on
the monitor A section indicating that the
preselected source has been replaced by the cue
-
bus. Monitor B can source the output from
monitor A, so allowing identical outputs with
separate level control. Both monitors can source
two stereo tape machine inputs appearing at the
back of the console, as well as directly sourcing the
signal from stereo input channels 3 and 4 or other
stereo channels that have been internally switched
to do so.
As before the talkback and oscillator outputs
can be assigned to individual buses, and this now
includes monitor B. The talkback mic XLR socket
is now phantom powered, and a 48V ON-OFF switch
is placed above it. The previous TALKBACK button
has been replaced by a two -way level switch
providing momentary contact when pulled down
and a locked contact when pushed up. The
communications circuit, featured on the PM3000
has been removed.
The back and
beyond
All XLR and jack sockets are balanced. Optional
input transformers may be fitted, and output
transformers can be supplied in an external
19 -inch rackmount package.
Sub inputs are provided for slaving additional
PM4000 or PM3000 consoles, and a cuE-sow
switch determines whether the remote logic is
linked through. VCA groups and mute groups can
also be linked and independent switches select
VCA (1-4, 5-8) and mutes (1-4, 5-8) to slave,
master or off this method of dividing group
authority between consoles is very helpful when
configuring for multi -operator use.
The remote power supply has been redesigned,
and now connects to the back of the console via a
single umbilical (rather than two). It also features
a digital read -out displaying the input AC
line-voltage. Cooling has been improved with a
pair of low noise fans that replace the original
two -speed fan. Power supply LED indicators are
-
now fitted to the left -hand side of the console
meter bridge.
The console control surface is lit by five
`LittLites' (48-way console) which connect to 4 -pin
XRL sockets at the rear of the meter bridge. The
dimmer control, previously positioned at the back
of the console, has been moved to the front.
To add extra strength while keeping weight
down, a new chassis design has been employed
which features aircraft -style bracing. Module
retention has also been improved with the addition
of rear retaining screws in the past modules
have occasionally become displaced during
transport. The previous lift-up carrying handles
at either side of the desk have been replaced by
recessed grips the weight of a 48-channel
console (minus power supply) is 183kg (4031bs
7oz), as opposed to 137kg (3021ós) for the
40-channel PM3000.
Generally speaking, the appearance of the
console has been improved, and although the
module width as decreased the operational ease
has not. This is altogether a better laid -out control
surface, resulting in better ergonomics; a helpful
feature has been the extensive use of LED
switches (the console does not use lamps).
-
-
Conclusion
The PM4000 adds enhancements and new features
to a proven design. Users familiar with the
PM3000 will have no difficulty finding their way
around the console and should be impressed with
the improvements on offer in particular those
made to the EQ section. Although it would have
been an advantage to incorporate some form of
-
snapshot automation and there seems no
reason why this should not become a later option
it may be viewed as simply icing on the cake
which already contains the necessary ingredients
to continue the popularity enjoyed by its
predecessor already orders for the PM4000 have
reached three figures.
-
-
47
IN THE
COURT
OFTHIPURPLE
PRINCE
the live shows this year,this was
the show everyone wanted to see. There
is something about a Prince show
breezing into town, even in a summer
which has seen a slew of major acts on the
European stadium circuit, that excites hardened
liggers more than anything else.
The man's unique drawing power remains
immense, despite the lengthy absence from the
boards.
Dave Natale, FOH engineer for PA company
Clair Brothers, affirms: `More people have come to
see this show than any tour I've ever done:
Gabriel was here, George Michael, Gilmour, Joe
Cocker's band, this is the show with the
reputation. And when you see it you understand
why everyone else wants to see it, too.'
The world tour included a two -week stint in
Japan and three weeks in Australia. The full
production travelled everywhere: as ever with
Prince, there was no conspicuous slackening of
standards for the sake of saving a few dollars. Roy
Bennet was hired as lighting designer, and his
typically imaginative input added much to the
extravaganza.
Of all
At sea in the court
In London, the chosen venue was Earl's Court 1.
That we are obliged to watch an artist like Prince
in such a place is, if one is honest about it, a pretty
poor reflection on London's cultural facilities. Like
the smaller Wembley Arena, Earl's Court has
improved its facilities in recent years, both
technical and audience -related, but it has not been
able to offer much in the shape of improved
acoustics.
Effective solutions, of course, would come
expensive: the venue's standard music arena, with
a maximum capacity of 18,000, is a temporary
rectangular structure, backed by scrims, which
sits squarely in the centre of a vast (250,010 ft2)
triangular- shaped concrete exhibition space. If
you have ever been to an Ideal Home Exhibition,
48 Studio Sound, November 1992
Prince has one of the best reputations for
live sound in the world. Mike Lethby
assesses the royal condition
you know how big this place is; a controlled
acoustic environment it is never likely to be. The
ill -fated Docklands Arena, during its brief working
life, showed that a large hall (11,000 seats) could
sound fairly decent. Unfortunately, the easiest
way to get there was by bicycle. So now, between
Wembley Arena (7,000 seats) and the Stadium
(72,000 seats) there is but one medium -size option
in London, and that is Earl's Court.
Prince's promoter, Barry Clayman Concerts,
had the foresight to get together back in the spring
with Marshall Arts (who staged Dire Straits here
in June) to tackle the venue's notorious LF
resonance, which has sunk many a show in
sonorous sonic fog. Having rejected one idea
which involved filling the underfloor pool with
2.2m gallons of water, they spent £25,000 on heavy
damping drapes installed under the ceiling and in
the empty pool. I had not been to a show here
since a Bob Dylan show in the early '80s, when the
mix became unintelligible from anywhere further
back than the desk. These promoters' efforts
helped overall clarity a lot and one hopes the
venue will adopt these measures, if not more, as
standard fixtures for future musical events.
The other drawback of such a space is the visual
aspect, particularly relevant to a show like this. A
Prince show is full of subtlety and detail, both
visual and musical. If you were further back than
the desk, and not in possession of a powerful pair
of binoculars, you may as well have watched the
show on television. (Indeed, you did watch it on
TV, via the twin projection screens, for which,
interestingly, some of the stage close -ups were
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furnished by a dancer using a hand -held video
is that we have to be ready for anything, at any
camera).
time.'
Indeed they did. Another crew member on the
tour told me of the stipulation to be ready to jump
out of bed at any time of the night should Prince
decide to call an impromptu session of jamming,
writing or rehearsing. This is not, be assured,
whimsical capriciousness, but a creative urgency
which brooks no weakness in the body -clock his
or anyone else's.
Since Prince has a formidable reputation as a
producer as well as a performer, and he is more
conversant with the arcane lexicon of live sound
than most musicians, his standards are equally
high on stage. Nobody from his band to the
backline techs expects to give anything less
than the max for the privilege of his endorsement.
Lethby: 'On the Lovesexy tour the band's
musicianship was almost implausibly tight:
segueing from one groove to another key and
tempo so smoothly you could never see the joins.
This is a different band but presumably his
standards remain the same ?'
Natale: `If these guys couldn't do that they
simply wouldn't be here, it's the way this gig is.
Everything is perfect; it couldn't get any better.'
Lethby: `The rehearsals must be fairly intense ?'
Natale: `They have to be: like I said, there's so
much going on. It's the most organised thing I've
ever mixed; these guys are second to none. You've
got great stuff starting out on stage; it can only get
better coming out here. Something this size with
below -par musicians would be a nightmare. With
this amount of stuff it's potentially difficult, but
with these guys it's a lot easier than you might
think, because they know exactly what they're
doing and they're so well rehearsed.
`It's a great show: two and a half hours long. A.
You could have enjoyed Roy Bennet's sparkling
light show from a mile away, but you would miss
the stagecraft detail. Prince and the NPG is not
just a rock band, it's an experience, showmanship
and pure musicianship of the highest order.
Much of this superhuman effort was dissipated
by this barn of a hall. Those of us who were lucky
enough to be close to the action on the Lovesexy
tour, in the round at Wembley Arena, remember
the pure theatre, the intimacy in glorious close -up.
However, enough of the court. The staging of
Prince is what we are here to see.
A band of diamonds
Sitting at Dave Natale's F0H riser in Earl's Court,
surrounded by acres of confetti from the previous
night's show, I asked him to explain the nature of
the show. He drew a deep breath and made an
expansive gesture at the elaborate set.
`It's big, with thousands of cues. Something's
going on all the time.
`There's 18 people in the band. Prince plays
guitar, then there's another guitar player, two
keyboard players, a bass player, a percussionist
who also dances, another dancer who raps; a
dancer who just dances; three female dancers; and
five horn players. So it's very busy there's never a
dull moment. This is a punchy show, I guess that's
the way to put it; it is supposed to be like a disco,
basically: lots of low end, kick, drums, stuff like
that; lots of feeling.'
`There's no support act, which is good, because
there's barely room out here for all this stuff, let
alone another console for support.' Natale pauses
for thought. `How shall I put it? The essence of it
midi
rogrammable
M
20/20
studio effects
-
-
-
lot of people play for 90 minutes with a support
band; on this show people really get their money's
worth, because it's a whole two and a half hours of
the artiste you came to see. I like that.'
Sound by Clair
Brothers
`With this tour to add to their summer roster of the
US, Michael Jackson, Elton John and Bruce
Springsteen, Clair Brothers,' says Natale, `have
more S -4s out in Europe right now than they
owned last year.'
total of 88 S -4
The Earl's Court arrays
cabinets were installed by system engineer Jim
Devenney and technician John Leaman.
Natale: 'With a big array like this, we get great
projection. We're using 88 S -4s indoors, which is a
pretty gargantuan amount, when we do the
outdoor shows like the RDS in Dublin, Manchester
and Glasgow, we'll have 160 S -4s to get enough
weight on the low end we need all those 18 -inch
-a
-
-
drivers.'
Thirty -two cabinets, a mixture of long and short
throw and front -fill types, were flown each side, in
two four -high columns from four 8 -foot flying bars.
Twelve more short- throws were ground- stacked
along with four front -fills. Four aside provided
delays, flown above the mix position, 'as this is an
industrially large -sized building,' noted Natale.
Amplifiers were Carver's, via Clairs' standard TC
Electronics drive racks with TC 1128 EQ.
Of Earls Court's acoustical qualities Natale
opines: `I've never been in here before but I
actually like it. The draping helps a lot and the
PA sounds fine in here; it's no worse than any
other building that wasn't designed for sound.'
play
global
store
exec
add/del
comp
bypass
MIMI IN MI
-24
-18
-12
-6
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0
e
edit
The SDR'M 20/20
ID
Digital Effects Processor
is your catalyst for creativity in both the performing and recording environment. There are 21
basic effects such as EQ, Reverb, Chorus, Delay, Distortion, etc., which are totally
independent of each other and may be combined in any order. These effects represent the
sound cornerstones of the SDR 20/20's amazing possibilities. The innovative capabilities of
this processor call for visualization more than explanation. For example, up to eight effects
can be strung together in an "effect block" and each may be independently mixed and its
level separately adjusted, with the final mix assignable to the preset of your choice. 128
permanent factory presets and 128 duplicate presets which may be altered, changed
completely, or saved, give you endless possibilities in creating your own custom
sound effects.
In addition to these numerous effects possibilities, the SDR 20/20 offers
the ability to focus all processing power to a single "Ultra" effect. An example of this Ultra
and instantly usable, because that's the way it has
Walking around, there's no escaping the
cavernous RT that dominates the back half. With
or without a delay system, the engineer is stuck
with the building. If promoters genuinely aim to
give an audience its money's worth, the only
answer here is to do everything in the round.
to be.
'On the master desk I also have an audience mic
mix coming back in from one consóle. Left and
right distribution amps drive the input to the
cassette, the input to the DAT that sends a stereo
mix back to the video people, and a stereo mix up
to the stage in case Prince wants to record on his
own DAT up there.
'In the effects department I've got six REV-5s,
four gates and eight line amps; I am trying to keep
it simple. With all this other stuff, the last thing I
wanted was loads of racks interconnected through
the desks setting myself up for buzzes. And we
just don't have buzzes!
`It's all basically the same stuff I've used for
every band I've ever mixed: only the quantities
change as the number of inputs grows.'
Natale jerks a rueful thumb at the confetti strewn floor. 'If all these flowers weren't here you
could see the rack patching's actually very simple,
I've got it all on 12 -pair connectors, so there's very
few individual XLRs or jacks to track down. We
can set the whole thing up in about 20 minutes.
'Every day it's been perfect, we patch it in and
everything's working; no buzzes, no dead lines,
Mixing the pearls
Natale's FOH corrall was dominated by three
Clair Brothers 32- channel consoles, those
impressive, ingeniously folding `mil-spec' machines
designed uncompromisingly for the road. Like the
equally venerable Midas PRO -40, it is a desk that
has stood the test of time both sonically and
-
physically.
He says: 'You can see the scale of the show on
my desks
88 channels, and it's not automated,
so I wheel around in my chair a lot, pushing things
up and pulling things down.'
Lethby: 'A lot of riding the faders ?'
Natale: 'Yeah, there's a lot of different patches
on different stuff, the levels are always a bit
different. It's either that or put lots of limiters on.
I've got limiters, but only as line amps; they really
don't do much else. There's four Aphex 612 gates,
for the drums and kick and on toms 1, 2 and 3.
The bass limiter, a dbx 160, is simply compressing
the bass hard, just nice, tight and in its place.
-
nothing.'
On stage
That's it.
'The two main desks are linked together as one
large desk, and the left and right mix outputs of
those go into the rear master console.
'Then there's all my other stuff, like my DAT,
cassette, any kind of playback we have, plus video
with audio; and a DAT and a cassette up on stage.
None of this is really specified for anything; it's all
'just in case', so anything is instantly accessible
On stage, monitor engineer Ed Dracoules had two
Harrison SM -5 monitor consoles with some
15 mixes on the go, using all 64 channels.
Natale: 'Those desks are set up in the same
configuration as my master desk, and just like out
here, everything has to available to be turned up
wedges, with ML -18 sub -low wedges for the
drummer and sidefills of two Martin 2 x15 bins
and two Community M4s aside all powered by
-
Carver amplifiers.
`Although the horn players on the back riser had
their own mix,' Natale says: `you can't walk out of
the sound pattern anywhere on stage. The
majority is in the sidefills because that has the low
end to make the kick drum happen'.
As for mic choice and placement, Natale says:
`Again it's like most of the tours I've done. When I
find something that works well I stay with it.
`The mics I have for the vocals, percussion and
the drum kit are the same as I've been using
forever. A Beyer M88 on the kick, and AKG 414
for the hat, Sennheiser 409s on the toms, horns
and the `dirty guitar', Sennheiser 416s for the
overheads and Shure 57s for the snare, congas and
bongo. The rest is either personal equipment or
DI's.
'Some of the things are special: particular vocal
mics; certain radio mics that are owned by the
client. And on the horns and one of the backing
vocals we have the Sony WRR -840 UHF system,
which is working out really well. The main vocal
radio system is a giant Sennheiser rack, which
works great until they get dropped -but that's the
way they are.'
My last question to Natale (How much does
MIDI control feature in the show ?) was received
with an injured grimace. It was like asking
whether Prince uses backing tapes.
'It just hooks up a couple of drums machines.
Everything else is totally live. Why do you think I
am rolling around so much back here ?'
at any time.'
Stage monitors comprised 24 Clair 12 -AM
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effect is the "Ultra Reverb" currently included in the palette of selectable
effects. With software upgradeability the SDR 20/20 can be customized to
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Balanced ins and outs with selectable inputs and a 64x
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ready and ensure low noise and better sound quality. So, go ahead and
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High quality Reverb and Ultra Reverb
Multi- effects formed from individual effects
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Software upgradeable
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AMEK
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Mozart 56 frame, 40 channels fitted. Super True Auto
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API
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DDA DCM 232. 52 ch p/bay. automation,
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private use
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NEVE
32/24 o/bay 64 line inputs. Predecessor to V1
VGC £35,000
NEVE SPARES
impressers
£1,499
ssic 4 band eq modules 12 available)
£1,995
PPM meters with driver boards
£49ea
VU meters
£24ea
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HS200RX-2 Cart recorder in rack mount
VGC
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Sonifex HSE -CQ Cart splice finder /eraser
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STUDER
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STUDER SPARES
Studer A800 remote & autolocator
VGC
TLA Studer A80 audio remote
NEW
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Studer A80 Mk2 16 track head block
£1,249
£1,649
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Metering
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£549
Tascam MSR24 24 track 1" with remote
VGC
ATR24, 24 track 2" with remote /autolocate
VGC
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Tascam ATR60 -8 8 trackwith DBX
Tascam ATR60-16 16 track with DBX
VGC
Tascam MS16 with DBX, rem /auto, in console VGC
VGC
Tascam ES50 Synchroniser 12 available)
Tascaer ES51 Synchroniser controller with cablesVGC
VGC
VU as standard. PPM optional
TLA 4/2 POTABLE MIXER £1295
£1489
£289
TLA PORTABLE STEREO MIC AMP
Fully portable & built to exacting standards.
Inputs
2 x mie balanced XLR connectors.
Switched mic gain in 6 dB steps. 48 volt
phantom powering switchable: Switchable
high pass filter:
Outputs
A. B. & mono mix unbalanced via 3.5mm
£1,499
£1,499
£995
TASCAM
3M
3M M79 24 track with remote.
into
video & Eng professionals. Designed & constructed to the highest specifications both electronically & mechanically, for absolute
reliability in the field or in the studio.
4 mic/line balanced with XLR connectors.
Inputs
Switched mic gain in 10 dB steps.
12 volt TA & 48 volt phantom powering.
High pass filters. Phase change on 2 channels. Inputs may be switched to give 2
stereo pairs. Rotary gain controls.
Outputs:
Left & right outputs appear on balanced 3
pin XLR, unbalanced 1/4" jack & a mono
output also available. 30dB pad switchable
on output to interface into low level inputs.
Left & right outputs on rotary controls with
stereo linking switch.
Monitoring Selected via a 10 position rotary switch for
PFL 1 -4, left output, right output, stereo
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Limiters
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Optional mains psu- charger.
Price: £395
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Rainduk Concord 36 inputs, 36 monitors, P/bay
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Soundcraft 2400 26/24/24 p/bay, light meters
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Soundcraft 1600 16/8/16
SOUNDTRACS
muting, 64 line ins, private use VGC
PC Midi
PC Midi 24
muting, 48 line uns, private use VGC
Soundtracs }VIRX32 /B/16. 48 line inputs
VGC
MRX26/8 /16 with patchbay & stand. Private use VGC
FME 24/4/2 conpact high quality console
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TSM 3224/24, Mosses & Mitchell bantam p/bay VGC
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AKG ADR68K digital FX & reverb
AKG TDU 8000 2in Saut DDL
£5,995
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Alesis digital reverb
AMS DDL
AMS 1580S 9.6s A, 6.4s
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AMS DMX15.80S chorus interface
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Bel BF20 mono flanger
Bel BC3 24 channel noise reduction system
Bel BC3 8 channel 30db noise reduction
Bel BD8OS stereo digital DDL
BOKSE SM9
Canford Audio 20 pairs video patchbay with loom
Digitec RDS3000 digital delay
DOD R825 stereo compressor
200, 400 & 600
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modules. Optional Modules:
VCA: Allows remote control of level from a DC voltage
from a simple potentiometer connected to the internally
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Active Crossover: May be configured for high and /or
low pass filters.
Limiters: Provide loudspeaker protection & improve
sound quality by preventing amplifier clipping when
overdriven.
Remote Control: The VCA module can be controlled
via the multiple amplifier control & monitor unit (CMU)
which connects via a high speed digital network to a
remote control panel or computer. Level, phase, mute &
solo of individual channels or groups can be controlled
during set up, performance or as a tamper proof installation procedure. The CMU also returns the operating status of each amplifier indicating temperature headroom,
output level & limiter active.
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CARTRIDGE TECHNOLOGY
Cartridge Technology CT1001 Series stereo replay cart
£494ea
machines NEW Normal price £1,800 13 units only)
FOSTEX
Fostex E2 2 track with centre time code track
VGC
£994
VGC
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Fostex E16 with 4050
MCI
£1499
JH110 2 tr, 71/2- 15 -30ips t /4" & 1/2 " head blocks
MITSUBISHI
Mitsubishi X880 32 track digital, private use
POA
OTARI
IMMAC
MTR90 MK2 24 track remote /autolow hours
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MX80 24 track with remote, private use
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MX55 2 track Time code machine with trolley
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Otan MX5050 MK2 2 track
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Drawmer DL231 dual compressor /expander
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EMT 140 stereo echo plate with remote
Eventide H949
£299
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FOSTEX SYNCHRONISER SYSTEMS
£749
Fostex 4030 synchroniser
Fostex 4035 sychroniser remote
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Fostex 4011 VITC gen /read Character Inserter 2@
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Klark Technik DN360 2ch 30 band graphic
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PYE Classic 2 channel compressor
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Publison IM90 Infernal machine 90
P &G Faders model D25081 short travel, 24 @ NEW
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PPM meters with driver boards (Neve spec) 12@
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Roland SDE2000 digital delay
Roland SRE555 Chorus Echo
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Survival Projects stereo panner
£399
ST2200 £749
ST2400 £999
ST2600 £1125
TLA ST100 POWER AMPLIFIER
Compact 1U, high quality, 75w stereo amplifier for critical studio monitoring & general sound reinforcement.
ST100 £499
TLA MINI AMP
Compact, robust high quality general purpose amp. 2 x
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L
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B 0 M B AY
MIX
Dubbing Disney in Hindi is all in a day's work for
an Indian studio. Caroline Moss discovers the
studios supporting the world's largest film industry
Western visitors to India can be taken aback by the
unabashed curiosity of complete strangers who
walk up unintroduced, demanding to know all
about them. Depending on outlook this can be
welcoming and hospitable in a foreign culture or seem invasive,
ruling out any thoughts of personal privacy which may have
been entertained. That Indian recording studios reflect this
open attitude was immediately apparent on my first and
unplanned visit to an Indian studio to collect some delayed
luggage which had been very kindly sent from Bombay by Mr
Ramakrishnan, owner of the Pro Sound distribution company.
The studio, part of a large film complex in Bangalore,
appeared to have no reception and no office. On enquiry I was
directed towards three large acoustic doors. `Go in, go,'
implored my guide. Behind the doors in a huge recording hall a
full orchestral session was under way and I did not think they
would be too pleased to be asked the whereabouts of my
rucksack. There was much bemusement as I declined to
interrupt the session, preferring to scour the building until
eventually an office worker was discovered in an inner sanctum
and I was happily reunited with my luggage.
Several weeks later in Bombay I put my journalist's hat back
on and went to visit some studios in something other than a
foreigner -in- distress capacity. Once again the open house
feeling I had encountered in Bangalore seemed to apply as
interviews in both studios were conducted mid -session and
between takes.
surprised as, apparently, women in technical positions are not
uncommon in Indian studios. So much for Western
emancipation.
The main recording studio is the only government -owned
multitrack facility in the country and home to a 16 channel
Soundcraft TS12, a Studer A810 and Saturn 824. After being
Films Division
The first studio on the agenda was the Films Division music
recording studio owned by the Government of India. Located in
the film district of Pedal Road, the complex makes
documentaries, newsreels and cartoons which are shown in
cinemas throughout the country before the feature film. In a
country where cinema -going is more widespread than television
watching, the emphasis is on informing and educating the
public.
Although the company has existed since 1948 it transferred
to its current premises just two years ago. Designed by leading
acoustician Ajit Zaveri the complex houses a large recording
studio, a projection room and a dubbing suite. Most of the
equipment was supplied by Pro Sound, the largest pro audio
distributor in India representing Soundcraft, Dolby, Tannoy,
Genelec, Lexicon, BSS and other manufacturers.
I was shown around by Mrs Sheela Laulkar who has held
the position of chief maintenance engineer for 17 years with
responsibility not only for recording equipment but also
cameras, lighting and, it appeared, the unpredictable telephone
system. When I told her that it would be unusual to find a
woman holding this position in the West she was greatly
Dubbing Colonel Hathi with the instructions from a Roland Octapad
used only for government work in its first year, the studio is
now available for commercial projects. A core group of seven
musicians work for the studio and others are hired as required.
On the day of my visit I was shown into the large recording
area where some of the house musicians were in the middle of
recording a documentary score. The instruments they played
were part of a beautiful and traditional collection including
India has 14 main languages and around 200 minor
languages and dialects and this creates much dubbing work for
the Films Division which has to produce 15 versions of each
programme. The dubbing suite, based around a 16- channel
Soundcraft 6000, is equipped with four booths to facilitate the
simultaneous dubbing of four languages. It is linked by remote
control to the projection room which houses three banks of
Magna-Tech Electronic high speed magnetic projection
equipment with a further machine for making optical transfers.
The studio is planning to purchase Dolby SR in the near
future. It is widely felt that SR will present great advantages
to Indian studios due to the prevalence of older analogue tape
machines, especially Studer machines which are assembled in
India by the government-owned Maltron company.
Western Outdoor
Western Outdoors' DDA D- series desk
tablas, sitars, the santor which is plucked like a harp, tribal
drums and flutes. Also being played was a huge vibraphone.
But the most interesting was a collection of matakas or
earthenware pots owned by one of the house musicians and
used ingeniously as percussion instruments. This included his
own invention, the pedal mataka. An inverted mataka had
been placed in a frame with a piece of skin stretched over it.
Strings attached too the edges of the skin ran down the sides of
the pot and were tied together below the inverted neck. By
placing a foot through the knot the strings could be tightened
and slackened, modulating the sound created by beating on the
skin, which was lent an eerie resonance by the mataka.
II
Later that day we headed downtown to Western Outdoor in
Colaba, the heart of Bombay. Once again I was ushered
directly into the studio, this time the control room, and seated
next to recording director Daman Sood who was recording some
music for a feature length animated film. This Japanese
project, a version of the Sanskrit epic poem the Ramayana, is
nearing completion after six years and will be released
worldwide at the end of the year. Once again musicians played
traditional Indian instruments, accompanying dramatic
sequences of the film, and between these short bursts of
recording I was free to ask questions. Often the interview
became two-way with the composer nipping into the control
room for a chat between takes and everyone questioning me on
my travels in their country.
Western Outdoor started life 25 years ago as a small video
company and now offers analogue and digital recording,
Betacam, high -band and low-band editing, computer graphics,
A-V suites, telecine and equipment rental under one roof. It
can also provide an outside video recording service and recently
designed and constructed an underground auditorium or TV
studio which can be hired for conferences and the shooting of
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programmes.
Mr Sood estimates that 60 to 70% of the recording studio
bookings are for musical projects such as Ghazals, traditional
folk -based music. Many of these are private projects for release
on cassette but classical music, where only three or four
instruments are used, is mastered straight onto Mitsubishi,
transferred to DAT and sent to UK CD plants Nimbus or
Disctronics for pressing. A further 30 to 40% of bookings is
video postproduction work. The studio is always booked a
minimum of two months in advance and the impressive client
list includes Ravi Shanka, Zakir Hussain and Lata
Mangeshkar. The latter, whose career spans 42 years, has been
working on a double CD paying tribute to other Indian artists
and the master tape recorded on Akai A -DAM was sent from
Western Outpost to London where the vocals were laid down at
Abbey Road. International clients include Channel 4 working
on Indian documentaries and companies in Saudi Arabia,
Dubai and Pakistan. The music for Richard Attenborough's
Gandhi was recorded there, and a forthcoming project is the
unprecedented dubbing of several Walt Disney films into Hindi.
The studio proudly claims to be the first in India with a
completely digital recording chain. Mr Sood, who took a sound
recording course at Surrey University and makes frequent trips
to Europe and America to familiarise himself with technology
updates, prefers to keep one of the two recording studios in the
digital domain. Studio A is equipped with a DDA D series
24-channel, an Akai A -DAM, Mitsubishi X86 mastering
machine and Sony Pro Dat although there is also an 8 -track
Otari and Studer A807 available. the Akai and the Otari can be
locked to picture with an Adams -Smith Zeta Three
synchroniser.
The smaller Studio B was being used to design a son et
lumiere for installation at an ancient fort in Hyderabad. The
music was recorded in Studio A and was being mixed in the
smaller studio which has a TAC Bullet and a Soundcraft 200
console and two Otari 8 -track tape machines which can be
locked together using a Q Lock.
In a large office there was much activity around the
company's latest purchase, the Venice paintbox system
manufactured by French company Getris. Mr Sood studies new
technology for about a year before buying what he considers to
be the best and most cost effective system. Due to the lack of
technical backup in India he waits for second or third
generation systems to be launched before buying and in this
way plans one major purchase a year. The Venice is expected to
attract much business from Western Outpost's advertising
clients who currently have to travel to Hong Kong or the UK,
and once staff have been trained on the system it is expected to
be manned for 16 hours a day.
Other facilities include two Pinnacle 3D animation systems
which work simultaneously, the first private sector Betacam
suite in India, a video- graphics department, high-band and
low -band editing suites, a video- rental department and an
audio-visual laboratory. There is also a large maintenance unit
equipped with a heavy supply of spares for all equipment, and
the head of maintenance has attended seminars by
manufacturers such as Ampex and Dolby.
The studio complex now employs around 50 people to cope
with its different activities and the premises was so busy that
every time we opened a door into another office or studio we hit
someone in the back. Mr Sood sighed regretfully and said
further expansion was impossible
due to the physical constraints of
the building but they were hoping
to relocate some administrative
staff to new offices.
Yet everything is relative.
Bombay must be one of the most
overpopulated cities on earth and
back on the streets the air
conditioned premises of Western
Outdoor, though filled to capacity
with productive people, soon began
to seem like a haven of civilisation
in the middle of the hot and
crowded city.
A live
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suggest as a side view of the mics will show.
C-800
The starting point for the C-800 was the mic that
established Sony as a serious microphone
manufacturer; the C-37A. As outlined elsewhere,
the C-800 is not just a retooled version the C -37A
but a complete redevelopment. Retained is the
concept of the large capsule (26mm diameter
diaphragm) with the switching between
omnidirectional and cardioid polar response being
a 90° mechanical adjustment on the rear of the
capsule. Access to the capsule area is by the
removal of a single screw and sliding off the grille
top. Access to the electronics within the body is
equally easy with clearly identified components
and an assembly suggesting that should the need
arise everything is screwed into place and possible
to dismantle.
The valve is a 6AV6A mounted `upside down'
with the base at the capsule end. Isolated from
vibration, the valve is almost fully enclosed in a
CHILL FACTOR
Keith Spencer-Allen looks at two valve
mics from Sony, the C -800 and C -800G
The rumours started about two years past
but it all sounded so unlikely; Sony
making valve microphones again? Then
about 12 months ago it was confirmed
and stories abounded of famous musicians
refusing to give prototypes back until they had
finished their album.
Sony had played the complete operation close to
their chests or at least as close as you can when
you are soliciting practical opinions about
microphone performance. These two mics are
loosely based upon successful Sony designs of the
past, refined with modern materials and
components and then adjusted to meet user
comment.
-
56
Studio Sound, November 1992
The sole reason for using a valve mic is the
sound character it provides and there are few
measurement parameters which reflect this. In
pure performance terms, even a modern valve
design will not challenge the spec of most current
mics but that is of no importance. If you want a
valve sound you have to use a valve mic, and a
modern design would appear to offer benefits over
the widely variable performance of genuinely old
models.
The microphones that eventually became
available in small quantities earlier this year were
the C-800 and the C -800G. Both are valve mics
with a switchable polar pattern but the differences
are greater than the simple 'G' postfix might
rubber suspension that supports it lengthwise and
transversely while the valve base is also isolated
on long rubber mounts from the chassis. In all the
tests carried out on the mic there was no sign of
microphony present even under severe test
conditions and this suspension arrangement
clearly isolates and damps the mic well.
The grille area is very rigid and consists of two
layers of mesh with a purely protective function,
there being no foam or wind retardant materials.
Not immediately obvious but pointed out in the
manual is the fact that the `sleeve' for the mic is in
two pieces to reduce resonance in the microphone
body. Where these sections meet they are
machined to overlap but not touch. This casing is
also almost entirely isolated from the internal
structure with the intention of reducing
mechanical vibration.
Power and output signals are carried via a 6-pin
XLR -type Neutrik connector in the base. Aside
from dangling the C -800 from its cable you are
required to use the cradle suspension supplied as
an accessory. Two little clips on the side of the
cradle slacken off tension, the mic slides in and
with the clips back on, the mic is firmly held. You
have no qualms about suspending it upside down
as it is very secure.
Other accessories supplied include an 8 -metre
power -signal cable (26ft), a windshield, two stand
screw adaptors and a wooden- handled screwdriver
to adjust the polar pattern. The complete kit comes
in a plastic carrying case heavily fitted out with
foam.
The C -800 requires the use of power supply
AC -MC800 which is not one of the accessories.
This a substantial unit and for those of you
familiar with valve mics, about twice the size of a
Neumann U67 power supply. On -off with green
LED, mic in and out sockets are mounted on front
panel while the power cable connector and mains
voltage are at the rear.
Construction is substantial and the unit houses
a pair of 6AV6A valves. Unlike the valve in the
mic, however, these are not branded Sony which
would appear to be a sign of individual valve
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selection for the mic rather than for the less
demanding requirements of within the supply.
A note here about transporting the mics would
be appropriate. Both mics require the use of a
power supply but it cannot be contained within the
mic carrying case supplied. While some users may
not find this a problem, some ideas about a
flightcase capable of carrying mic, accessories and
power supply would be worthwhile.
C-800G
Viewed from the front, the C -800G looks very
similar to the C-800 but at the rear, projecting at
right angles from the mic body, sits a most
unmicrophone -like assembly. This consists of a
housing for the valve and a further extension with
cooling fins. Unlike the C -800, the valve is not
within the mic body but externally mounted. The
6AV6A valve is completely encased in a metal
assembly with a layer of copper foil under a cover
on one side, while the other side of the assembly is
directly connected to a heat valve at the other end
of which are the cooling fins.
The Peltier device is a semiconductor junction
that can be used to cool or heat when a DC voltage
is applied. The top (copper foil) side of the valve is
cooled while the heat from the other side of the
valve is passed to the cooling array. The valve
temperature is then stabilised at about 20 °C and
according to Sony this offers several benefits to
performance and valve life (see sidebar).
The capsule is a large dual design based upon
E
NPol
the original C -48 dual capsule but considerably
reworked. This is also switchable omnidirectional
and cardioid but electronically via a recessed
switch on the front of the mic.
In circuitry it differs from the C -800 being a
cathode -ground circuit as against plate- ground.
The power- signal connector at the bottom of the
mic is a 7 -pin type that connects to the
AC- MC800G power supply via the supplied
8 -metre cable. This supply differs from the other
only in the need to power the Peltier device with
3.9V at 1.2A.
All the same accessories are supplied as with
the C -800 and it fits into the same suspension
cradle except that you have to make sure that the
cradle is the right way up when attached to the
stand so that at the cutaway section fits round the
rear valve housing.
Surprisingly, the G is not as heavy as it looks
but has a quite different centre of gravity from the
C-800. A little more care is needed mounting it in
the cradle and tightening the fittings because of
this. The manual says that the cooling elements
should be either horizontal or higher than the mic,
which makes sense, as otherwise the heat from the
cooling fins will flow back over the valve.
co
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58
Studio Sound, November 1992
Both of these microphones were used over a period
of a couple of months across a wide range of
musical material. Only a single unit of each model
was available so I am unable to comment on stereo
performance other than by extrapolating from
single- channel experience (which is a not a reliable
business at best).
The C-800 is a fairly large mic and so there are
certain restrictions on where the mic and cradle
can be placed but that being said, it proved a
versatile performer. For a valve design it has a
fairly high SPL handling capability and although I
may have moved the mic away from a sound
source for sonic reasons, it was not due to
overload.
There is considerable similarity between the
on -axis performance in cardioid and
omnidirectional modes. The sound character is
noticeably warm and full, and for voice use sounds
particularly good in cardioid mode where the
proximity effect reinforces the natural warmth.
Off-axis the situation is rather different. In
cardioid mode there is a good close -mic
performance between ±45° off axis. By 90° the HF
and overall level are beginning to fall quite rapidly
but still sound natural and balanced. After 90 °,
and towards the rear, everything disappears very
suddenly while at 180° the level is very low with
LF being the predominant sound character.
In the omnidirectional mode the HF falls off
rapidly by 45° off the axis and the sound character
changes rapidly beyond 90 °. I had to check that the
selected pattern was omnidirectional and not
cardioid. I do not know the performance
characteristics of the original C -37A but the C -800
has a very narrow HF response in omnidirectional
mode and would present me with problems if used
with other sound sources in close proximity.
With the on -axis sound being full and the mic
capable of high level handling, I found myself
tending to use the C-800 as a close mic and only
experimenting with the omnidirectional pattern
when used for an overdub.
The mechanical switching between polar
patterns is also something that takes some getting
used to. The C -37A had a similar adjustment
method but we have forgotten some of the
idiosyncrasies of old design concepts such as
having to mute the channel before carefully
inserting the screwdriver in the rear of the grille
to turn the screw 90 °. If you forget to cut the level,
the sound is loud and unpleasant. It is also
difficult in subdued lighting to peer into the hole to
see what setting the mic is currently on even
the polar pattern indication around the hole could
be more distinct.
The C -800 is a good -sounding mic that would
find best use as a close mic where its on -axis
response would be heard to best advantage.
The C -800G is however something else entirely.
Clearly much bigger due to the attached Peltier
system, its very nature tends to suggest use in
distant milting. And in some ways this might be a
worthwhile direction, except that it also sounds
very good when used close up.
When the G is first turned on, warmed up and
you open the fader, there is a degree of surprise
each time. The sound character is full, distinct
with a quite remarkable impression of smoothness.
I do not know if this is one of the results of cooling
the valve and there is no easy way of disabling the
Peltier device to compare performance without it.
Even after extended use the cooling array only
becomes slightly warm while the top of the valve
housing remains cool well below ambient
temperature.
The C -800G is also subjectively cleaner and
quieter than the C -800 but there is no way that
could be verified. The manufacturer's spec
indicates a lower SPL handling but this was not
found to be any problem during the review period.
The G sounds particularly good for voice. On the
omnidirectional pattern the frequency response is
held over all the front area of the mic until it
approaches 90° where there is an area of
unevenness possibly due to cancellations in the HF
between the two capsules. The other side of the
mic sounds good all round even if there is a
slightly different tonality to the front capsule.
Changing between patterns is via a recessed
switch on the front of the mic. You need to use a
pencil or screwdriver, but there is no absolute need
to mute the channel as changeover noise is quite
-
-
low. However, a slightly longer switch to enable
finger adjustment would have been preferable.
The cardioid response is also good and is even
all over the usable front area with the HF only
falling off slightly by 90 °. Rear attenuation is high
but with a predominant LF and HF character.
However, the sum of all off-axis response still
sounds good.
This mic was tried on a wide range of
instruments and voices, close and distant and
although sometimes I preferred to use other mics
in specific cases, it was difficult to fault the G. It
was unfortunate that I was not able to try a pair
for stereo use but I could imagine favourable
application.
Summary
Products such as these mics cannot be examined
entirely objectively. At the practical level, both
microphones are well made, well presented and
supplied with an essential range of accessories.
The addition of a manual is something, I think,
quite unique to any microphone.
The technology employed in the C-800G is an
exciting departure for any form of valve product
and Sony must be congratulated on this unique
application which would appear to contribute
considerably to the performance of the mic.
The C -800 is in some ways closer to traditional
valve technology but shows particular
development in the area of SPL handling. The
C- 37A -derived capsule design has a few oddities
which have been mentioned and the potential user
would be wise to consider these points in relation
to any intended application.
As I mentioned earlier, the only reasons for the
use of a valve mic over another mic of similar
quality has to be an aspect of its sound that is
more appealing. Valve mics present certain
obstacles to easy use such as the need for separate
power supplies rather than convenient phantom
powering, the warm-up time, valve life, etc. The
sound character gained must be strong enough to
warrant the operational fiddliness.
By these criteria both these Sony mics are
impressive but the C -800G would seem to offer far
more potential and reward in sonic terms than the
C-800 which only in comparison seems rather
ordinary. If these comments all seems rather
rarefied I make no apologies as when dealing with
performance aspects that are simple matters of
informed taste there is no measuring method.
With the cost of these mies there is also not
realistic discussion on value for money. They have
to be judged solely on liking what you hear, and if
you do then the price is justified. On the right
material and paired with a sympathetic digital
recorder the resulting sound could be stunning.
For me both of these Sony mics are good but it
is just that one, the C-800G is rather special and
deserves a wide hearing. Personally, I think it is
one of the best -sounding mics I have ever used,
and I am still surprise that it comes from Sony
valves and all.
-
UK: Sony Broadcast and Communications, Jays
Close, Viables, Basingstoke, RG22 4SB, UK.
Tel: 0256 55011. Fax: 0256 474 585.
US: Sony Corporation of America, 3 Paragon
Drive, Montvale, NJ 07645 -1735.
Tel: +1 201 930 1000. Fax: +1 201 930 4752.
BACKGROUND
While the C-800 and C-800G are unusual
products for Sony, they have a direct line of
development from earlier models of
microphones. The C-37A, introduced in the
mid-to-late '50s was a large diaphragm
condenser and was, of course, a valve design.
It proved very successful in Japan and US.
However, along came the FET which offered
considerable design advantages and a new
generation of FET mics emerged. Sony produced
the first design in the C-38 which combine the
C-37 capsule with an FET body and so started
the move away from valves. Sony have said the
decision of most of the vacuum valve
manufacturers to stop producing valves was
another factor in the demise of the C-37A.
It was about three years ago that Sony
started experimenting with capsules and valves
circulating prototypes to a wide variety of key
users for their comments. With this information
and accompanying research from Sony, the 800
series emerged.
The capsule for the C-800 is derived directly
from the C-37A. The valve used was the 6AV6
(now the 6AV6A) as this was the one that the
C -37A had used and, perhaps more importantly,
there were still some reliable sources from
which it could be obtained. All aspects of the
original microphone were examined, in
particular the diaphragm ring, the back plate
and the insulation. Many aspects of the
microphone were re- engineered using materials
developed in the 30 -odd years since the original
design such as better insulators. The capsule for
the C -800G was derived from the C-48 but
considerably reworked.
Kazumasa Takahashi, manager of the audio
products division within the communications
products group at Sony is responsible for the
wired and
design of all Sony microphones
wireless. The development of the C-800 /G was
something that he was very keen on and it was
handled as a normal design project.
'A vacuum valve is a new device for young
design engineers. They have no lectures about
valves in college and so we have to teach them.'
It was Takahashi who had the idea for the
use of the Peltier device about ten years ago,
but at that time there was no application on a
Sony product and it came to light again on these
mics after the other design points had been
almost completed.
The Peltier device encapsulates the valve and
cools the surface when a DC voltage is applied.
The operating temperature at the valve surface
is between 70-80 °C. With cooling this goes
down to less than 20° -about 50-60 ° difference.
Takahashi outlined the benefits achieved by
the cooling. 'It will probably extend the life of
the valve. More important maybe is the
reduction of noise in the high- frequency range.'
Sony have plots that demonstrate the
difference between passive and Peltier cooling,
with the latter showing a very gentle reduction
in noise from 1kHz upwards leading to about
2dB improvement at 20kHz.
There is also a feeling that there are
improvements in distortion and other
performance aspects but the difficulty of
measuring these aspects accurately due to
variables in the valve itself means that they are
not easy to quantify.
Takahashi: `The measured effect is small but
the benefit in sound quality is much more.'
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59
he saga of CD -R write-once pricing
rumbles on. So far there has been a
conspiracy of silence on the vital question
of whether the Photo CD blanks which
Kodak sells for under five pounds retail (UK price
including VAT at 17.5 %) really are the same as the
Taiyo Yuden blanks used by the Philips- MarantzMeridian recorder. Even the people selling the
recorders do not know. And Taiyo has hinted to me
that there is some subtle difference.
Well if there is a difference, which I very much
doubt, it is of no financial consequence. Indeed a
guarded statement from Taiyo Yuden's European
office in Germany inadvertently confirms that the
discs are, as near as makes no difference, the same.
I had asked Taiyo (manufacturer of That's tape)
how the company justified its trade price of nearly
£15 per disc.
Now Atsushi Ishizaka, MD of Taiyo in Europe
comments: `Kodak's price of less than £5 is hard for
us to believe. We have sold substantial quantities
to Kodak for their experimental purpose quite a
long time ago. The price was similar to our current
wholesale price. We must believe that Kodak have
a supplier which enables them to sell at £5, or
Kodak in Rochester is able to manufacture discs
using their own know -how and technology. We
have been trying to reduce our price, but it will
come together with market growth'.
If Kodak bought `substantial quantities' of CD -R
blanks from Taiyo, and used them for Photo CD
demonstrations (which I know, from first -hand
sightings, that Kodak did), how on Earth can the
Photo CD and CD -R disc types be anything other
than the same?
Write -once discs of the Taiyo -Photo CD type are
made by coating a blank discs with metal, dye and
plastic layers. Metal coating is easy, because CD
pressing plants do it for every disc. Kodak have
more experience than any company in the world
when it comes to dye and plastics coating.
Photographic film is coated with many different
layers of these chemicals, several at the same time
using a technique called laminar flow. The
production line is horrendously difficult to get
working, but is then easy to keep running. Kodak
film is often given away free as promotion to seed
processing.
I think it very likely that Kodak is now coating
its own Photo CD blanks, in large volumes. If I
were in the CD -R business I would now be talking
to Kodak about supplies of blanks ..
How can the hardware companies, notably
Philips-Marantz, justify a professional price of
several thousand pounds for a write-once CD
Recorder, when the drives are leaving the factory
for only £250 a time, even in small numbers?
Yes, the full unit, with electronics, costs around
£1,000. But that is still a long way short of the
prices being asked for CD -R machines.
Meridian charge around £4,500. But Meridian
always have been at the top end of the audio range.
adding their own electronic twists which the audio
fraternity seems to like and be willing to pay for.
Engineers say that the inside of the CD-R drive
is a lot more complicated even than early
CD players, but agree this can be simplified if mass
production of a consumer model began.
Meridian charge around £19 per disc, which is
T
.
60 Studio Sound, November 1992
Barry Fox
Could CD -R win the
MD -DCC war?
only around 10% mark -up on the price paid to
Taiyo Yuden, via Philips. Needless to say Meridian
are very curious to know how Kodak can sell discs
for under £5 retail.
Aleanwhile, the war of words between
Digital Compact Cassette and
MiniDisc is well under way. Concern
is growing that DCC will always be
more expensive to duplicate than CD, with the
price of magazine- cover -mounted giveaway discs
(without jewel box or sleeve note) now down to
around 52p for a run of 60,000. MiniDiscs can be
pressed on CD presses, even more cheaply. If the
public can get full playing time and CD quality
from a 2.5 -inch disc, why will they want a 5 -inch
disc? Philips' fear that MiniDisc will, in the long
term, kill CD is well- founded.
One rumour now circulating is that if Philips see
MiniDisc succeeding in the fight with DCC, the
company will launch a consumer CD -R, priced at
between £500 and £750. The same thing could
happen if both MiniDisc and DCC fail. They could
fail if the public decides to wait and see which
format wins. They could also fail if the record
companies are soft on support or if the artists rebel
against the lower royalties which the record
companies want to pay on the new formats.
It would be poetic irony if the artists did manage
to kill DCC and MiniDisc, and trigger the launch of
low cost CD -R. They would then get no extra
royalties at all. I wonder how carefully Dire Straits
and manager Ed Bicknell have thought this one
through.
CD -R sceptics say write -once CD -R will never
become a consumer product, not so much because
of what happens when they make a mistake while
recording. Although the CD -R recorder `fixes up'
the table of contents at the end of a multisession
recording, only a new generation Orange Book CD
player will skip unwanted that is, mistake
passages. A conventional Red Book CD player
will just play through the disc
the user will have
to program track selection to skip mistake
-
-
-
passages.
But there is a counter argument. To play new
DCCs or MiniDiscs, you need to buy a completely
new machine. To play multisession CD -R discs you
will need only to buy another CD player, which will
If recording artists
did kill DCC and
MD, it might
trigger the launch
of low -cost CD -R
play existing CDs too. And the multisession CD-Rs
will play on existing players, with mistake tracks
easily skipped by player programming.
of people in the BBC went to a lot of
trouble, and the BBC went to a lot of
expense, putting on the greatest show
on air' at Broadcasting House, to
commemorate 70 years of radio. The organisers
staged a press preview and invited platoons of exBBC staff, most with an interesting story to tell.
Unfortunately, exactly as happened four years ago
when the BBC staged the ill -fated Radio Show at
Earls Court, the BBC radio publicity department
made a hit -and -miss mess of the invitation list.
Only a very few of the specialist press, who
would have got good mileage out of the exhibition
of old equipment and out of talking with the exBBC people, were invited. One hi -fi magazine, for
instance, planned a three-page feature only
because someone from the magazine phoned the
BBC and asked about the exhibition, just in time to
be invited. Another magazine planned a review
only because an outside contributor had the
initiative to do likewise. I got an advance press
release which made me assume that I would get an
invite. Wrong. By the time I realised I had not got
an invite, and checked, it was too late. The quaint
irony is that after I wrote rude things about the
last publicity mess for Earl's Court, better things
were promised for next time.
By the time I could get there, and enjoy
exhibition, it was too late to write anything which
would appear in print before the show had closed.
But I did spot a couple of points that are timeless.
The excellent historical gallery had transmitter
equipment dating back to the days of 2LO. There
was also an STC 4038 ribbon. `First introduced in
1953', read the notice, `for 30 years the standard of
microphone for announcers and newsreaders'.
Whoever wrote that obviously thinks that these
wonderful old warhorses are no longer used. In
fact they are still in studios throughout
Broadcasting House. I was speaking into one only
the other day.
Although it was not ready for the preview day,
the exhibition area later had a terminal connected
to the VAX computer which stores the new index
system for the BBC record library. It has been a
massive job transferring the data from index card
to computer. It could not be scanned in, because
many of the cards were handwritten. So the
information had to be keyed in. Some people who
use the new system complain that not all the
information on the cards has been transferred to
computer, for instance details of publishers are
missing. But the system works very fast and very
well
apart from one bizarre oddity.
If you are keying in a song title which includes
the word `and' you have to put the word in quote
marks. So Stephen Bishop's On and On must be
entered as On `and' On.
Why? Because the word `and' is a command
word for the computer so it has to be fooled into
ignoring it. Sorry, but if any software company
offered me a database which imposed such an
unnecessary restriction on users, I would tell them
to go away and rewrite the software before I paid
for it.
Alot
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YOUR NEXT CONSOLE PURCHASE MAY HAVE A
PROFOUND MPACT UPON YOUR ART AND BUSL\ESS.
SO LISTEN CAREFULLY, CHOOSE WISELY, AND
BE SURE
THE CONSOLE'S BUILDERS ARE PASSION Al ELY COMMITTED.
POPULAR MYTH HAS IT THAT
highly tangible ways.
For instance, we
success in the music and recording
business is a matter of luck, a
phase-correlate every
happy spin of Fortuna 's wheel. Sure.
audio stage. Our star-
Fact is, if you've enjoyed any
grounded circuit and
luck, an unwavering dedication to
module designs eat
your work likely made it happen.
noise for lunch. And
When it's time for a new
we surround the corn-
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
at D &R are serious
serious
Speaking of
- passionately
reasons why all D &R
- about what we do. It
which, when comparing our sonic perfor"e /tvann
v.y
mance with other
,... Csiva.i..i. anlÓnmpu...
boards, compare our
,i,
-
.
prices. You'll find
with D&R, your
+
money buys far more.
w
*-
Far more perfor-
IM
mance. Far more
Remember 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 commuted
features. Far more
committed support.
To get to the point,
far more console.
boards sound so quiet
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.)
passionate commitment to hand -
invite you to listen critically to any
Naturally, being rather
crafting the nest consoles may
ct.
console from any of our
hy
fervent in our passion, we have
r,
EE!iF8
-, `
A'i
subgroups which we
,-
your ears to one
pioneered, by the way).
"' ;
of our consoles.
:I
r
Full-band, "high
t -d ef"
/
You'll hear what
equalisers. Extensive
thousands of D &R
sourcin g. User-configurable
owners know.
aux send, monitor, ehan-
Our zealous
devotion to quality
goes beyond sonic
subtleties. It also
manifests itself in
have a profound impact. Upon you.
come up with some inspired
this crustacean understands grounding better
than some manufacturers
so don't be suckered. At
D&R, we employ a unique
starground system. On each
-
circuit. On each module.
On every console.
nel, and
EQ signal paths.
All of which will
inspire you to work
D &R LLECTRONICA
B.V.
Rijnitade 158, 1382GS Weesp,
The Netherlands
tel
(
31)
2940 -18014
fax (- 31) 2940-16987
NORTH AMERICAN OFFICES
D&R USA: (409) 588 -3411
D&R West: (818) 291 -5855
faster, more flexibly, and
r.
ultimately, more profitably.
D&R Nashville: (615) 661 -4892
D &R Southwest: (409) 756 -3737
DC!? handcrafts a acid range of mixing consoles for recording. lice sound theaar. post -production and broadcast.
are all thrilled to be living in the
age of the audio Aquarius; where the
advent of the home -project studio
Jeand the studio in a box (Atari,
Macintosh or PC), has given rise to a whole new
generation of creative artistry. One particular
problem facing these new audiocrats, however, is
that they have not endured the sting of a live wire,
the electrical charring of a finger, or being
transported across a room by a large plate power
supply and so on. In fact, it is unlikely that anyone
under the age of 40 would even know what a plate
supply is. This relic from the age of vacuum tubes
has just about disappeared from the audio
practitioner's lexicon in all cases except for specific
tube -powered components not likely to be found in
the average home or project studio or even in
-
many mainstream studios. But the fact remains
electricity is not always kind to us.
Another problem is the popular perception that
the use of plug -in low- voltage transformers,
MOSFET and VLSIC chips and computers and -or
computer circuitry eliminates the use of dangerous
voltages. Any item that plugs into the wall or into
something else can become dangerous electrically.
Not to mention that a large and powerful 24V
power supply can do things to human skin never
imagined by the makers of Coppertone. It is
important to realise that if a power cord carrying
110V-220V enters an audio component, there is
always the possibility of fraying, misconnection or
parts breakdown allowing the dangerous line
voltage to migrate. And today's computers and
workstations require very high voltages indeed in
order to put a picture onto a screen.
Even if you are a voltage safety perfectionist
using only the most up -to-date components
powered only by battery or by isolated plug-in
low- voltage step -down transformers, sooner or later
you will come into contact with someone who is not
as careful as you or, as is more likely, downright
sloppy. A year ago, this 'retro' group went into a
studio to cut a record. All of their instrument
amplifiers were tube, and they carried an effect
rack filled with tube gear that they wanted to use.
Even their headphone amps were tubed. It all
sounded very good and their get up with animal
skins and the like made it all very "60s'. So far, so
good
but they had lifted all of the grounds on
just about every piece of equipment and defeated
the safety aspects of equipment design. Nothing
was individually dangerous, but the cumulative
voltage and current exceeded 70V at 10mA.
Supposedly it takes 73V and 11mA or better to
create a potentially fatal scenario but who's
counting? We made them use our gear and
compromise on the sound they produced. After a lot
of tries, we were able to program equalisers
delays DSP units to mimic their sound. And
nobody died in the process.
Having little or no fear and frequently bearing
the misconception of the safety of so- called
low- voltage audio units and controllers, today's
newer audio practitioners frequently do not
recognise just how little electricity it takes to stop
permanently a human heart. The old warning line
is that 11mA is enough kill you, or `11 mills kills' in
studio patois. Any pathway that provides electrical
-
-
-
-
Martin Polon
`Eleven mills kills'
warns an old
engineering adage
but how many of us
take heed?
access across the heart will do the job partially if
not completely. And many old timers will tell you
that a survivor of a serious electrical accident
frequently would have been better off if the
accident had been a fatal one. Generally, any
situation where there is a current flow from one
hand or arm across the body to the neck or to the
feet will do the trick
and it is a trick that is
virtually impossible to undo. Old timers will also
tell you that its better to be hit by DC rather than
AC because you are more likely to be thrown clear
rather than fibrillated. But what is really best is
avoiding the accident in the first place, at all costs.
The following suggestions are likely to prevent a
fatal accident from happening. They may seem
rather old hat, conceptually, in the '90s but the
difference between electrical safety in the '60s and
electronic safety today is zero. Precautions taken
will prevent damage or worse. It goes without
saying that conditions that may endanger people,
can and will also burn out equipment.
First, read your electronic mail. If the hairs on
your arm stand up when you graze a piece of
equipment, it does not always mean that you are in
the presence of a member of the opposite sex. This
is an indicator of hazardous voltage and everything
should be checked carefully.
Secondly, audio hum is frequently an indicator
of dangerous current flow. Give significant
attention to the presence of AC hum. It frequently
indicates more than audio noise. Fixing a safety
problem properly will usually remove the AC hum
from a system.
Always use three -core power leads
never
defeat them. There are no options here. If there is a
hum or ground loop, fix it properly. Do not lift the
very feature designed into AC connections to
protect from serious injury!
Audio transformers may or may not affect
frequency response but they always save lives.
When connecting your equipment to an unknown
sound system or taking a feed from a similarly
unfamiliar source, use an audio transformer to
provide isolation.
-
-
Do not assume
audio expertise
qualifies you for
video work
Never open up a piece of live equipment outside
a repair shop. Even if you know what you are
doing, it is foolish to attempt `hot' repairs away
from the test equipment and AC isolation
transformer you would be using in a workshop.
Even on remote jobs, it is far better to substitute
another unit than to attempt a repair in the field.
Make no assumptions about equipment that has
been repaired or modified. Assume that anything
that is not mint condition right out of the factory
could be dangerous and proceed accordingly. Used
equipment and studios that have been the prior
preserve of a `soldering iron jockey' are especially
suspect. So is home -built equipment.
Wearing rubber-soled shoes and keeping one
hand in your pocket may not make you fashionable,
but it could save your life. A hand kept in a pocket
cannot provide a heart path neither can soles
made of an insulating material. This is the oldest
electricians' tricks in the book to stay alive around
hazardous voltages of any kind.
Unless you are absolutely qualified, leave
equipment construction and maintenance to
someone who is. Ditto the construction and repair
of cables, wiring and electronic harness assemblies.
Ditto the construction of projects from magazines
or books.
The presence of a low- voltage power transformer
is not always an indicator of electrical safety. The
presence of other components or external systems
can place hazardous voltages on the chassis or
connections of a supposedly safe unit or system.
Even if something is battery powered, it may be
connected to something which isn't. Same as above.
Spilling beverages into the mixer was a stupid
stunt in 1952, and it still is. Not to mention that it
has the potential to be very dangerous. Needless to
say, mixing any kind of electronic or electrical
devices with liquids is absolutely reckless. Yet in
conversation with a repair specialist working the
MIDI and home studio trade, it seemed that the
obvious was anything but.
Connect pieces of equipment together with
everything unplugged from the AC power supply.
This simplest of all suggestions will not only
preserve life and sanity, but can frequently save
equipment. Do all your setup work `dry'. Connect
power only after the entire system is completely
wired, mounted and organised.
Do not assume that audio expertise qualifies you
for video work. Knowledge of video equipment, the
voltages present, grounding practices and
operating parameters is mandatory before
undertaking even the most rudimentary repairs or
modifications, or interconnection of a complex
equipment arrangement. It is also important to
remember that it is almost easier to burn out video
equipment than to kill yourself, but the determined
`gearhead' can frequently accomplish both at the
same time.
Finally, if you do not understand a piece of
equipment, ask someone to help you. If everyone
who worked in audio were to ask a knowledgeable
party before plunging in `where angels fear to
tread', there would be virtually no electrical
accidents in audio. Observing these few simple
guidelines will keep you alive for the next session.
Ignoring them may cost pro audio a genius.
-
63
Midem. The international show of
shows. For every aspect of music;
Classical and Jazz, contemporary
Pop and Rock.
For every international music
industry professional who's into
supplying professional hardware
to suppliers and studios around
the world.
It's strictly business. In Cannes.
With live television, live
performances, galas, concerts,
showcases and loads of
opportunities to do deals.
the music show
Take a stand. It's your
headquarters away from home.
The brilliant way to profile
your operation.
Advertise! Be seen and heard in
the Midem Preview, Midem Daily
and the Midem Guide and get your
message across loud and clear.
And hurry. You may even qualify
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stand is booked by November 20th.
PALAIS DES FESTIVALS CANNES FRANCE
24TH _28TH JANUARY 1993
INTERN XVIONAL EXHIBITION ORGANISATION,
For more details telephone Peter
Rhodes on 071 528 0086, or fax
on 071 895 0949. Today.
METROPOLIS HOUSE, 22 PER(Y STREET, LONDON W IP
IT
MII>h\f
IPI
I
IS
:\ mi
9211
01186.
LAX: 07I 89f 0949,
(1R(,A\ISI-D It) IX'lll II
SR+I
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ORGANISA ION
(.0(IrANii
I
YFE.
TASCAM MSR 243
trolley, their model CS -608. The power supply
seems large, certainly compared to the Fostex G24S which was all contained within one housing, but
the G24 -S used various power saving techniques,
particularly on the mechanical side of things which
are not evident within the more conventional MSR 24S design.
The enclosure is mainly steel, with some
available. The MSR -24S substitutes Dolby S noise
aluminium extrusions, finished in an attractive
reduction, bringing the astounding benefits of this
deep grey with clear white labelling. Internal parts
performance enhancing system. Like the recently
are also mainly of pressed steel, finished to a good
reviewed Fostex multitrack, the Tascam MSR-24S
standard. The tape path each side is controlled by
does not prove wanting in basic performance,
large rotating tension -arm guides on swinging
allowing the Dolby system to approach digital audio arms, feeding onto fixed rotating guides either side
performance.
of the head block assembly. The capstan is direct
The MSR -24S along with the Fostex G24 -S have
drive with a DC servo- controlled motor. Large
a substantial hold on the 1 -inch 24 -track market in
identical reel motors also directly drive the tape
the UK and probably the world.
spools. Brakes are traditional with bands activated
by a single solenoid. The pinch roller is located
inside the tape path and is also solenoid activated.
All tape -path rollers are fitted with ball or needle
The MSR -24S is packaged in two boxes, one
roller bearings.
containing the transport and audio electronics, the
Access to the channel electronics is easy, since
other the power supply. Both units are supplied
they lie directly beneath the transport control
with rubber feet on the bottom for tabletop or
panel. This props open to provide access to card
portable operation, and with rackmount flanges to
edge -mounted audio preset controls. Each track
allow installation into a 19 -inch rack enclosure.
has its own plug -in PCB, and an extender card to
The power supply cable is sufficiently long to
aid servicing is provided with each machine. Replay
enable it to be put into the bottom of a wheeled
tape alignment is easy, but since there is only one
trolley or on the floor. Tascam can provide such a
record -replay head, record alignment is rather a
Sam Wise reviews a Dolby S enhanced
24 -track recorder from Tascam that is
moving into the mainstream market
The Tascam MSR -24S is the latest in a
long line of Teac -Tascam multitracks
which first appeared during the early
1970s. Early on, these machines were
honed to a successful price-performance level,
building an increasing reputation for reliability and
for long term parts support. Only recently, I had
the privilege ( ?) of repairing a 15 -year -old Tascam
8- track. A replacement capstan was in stock, the
heads were lapped, an electronic components
distributor supplied two replacement relays
(ordered from them to save cost), and performance
was tweaked to once again meet the original quite
reasonable specification. The design is basic and
easy to repair, most parts are standard issue, and
technical documentation can still be obtained
missing manual pages were sent within the hour by
fax. All-in -all, a good start for any machine is good
backup, and Tascam seem to take things seriously.
The MSR -24S builds on this past, but itself
already has a tradition, having been originally sold
in a dbx noise reduction version which is still
-
First impressions
65
www.americanradiohistory.com
W_
W
U
U
LU
F-
Functions
MANUFACTURER'S SPECIFICATION
PERFORMANCE
Frequency Response
Total Harmonic Distortion
Signal -to-Noise Ratio
15ips:
7.5ips:
Crosstalk
Erasure
Headroom (Record Amp)
MECHANICAL
Tape
Track Format
Head Configuration
Speed Accuracy
Pitch Control Range
Wow and Flutter
Start time
Weight
MSR -24S
PS -24 power supply:
Dimensions
MRS -24S
PS-24
15 ips: 40Hz -20kHz ±3dB (at OVU)
7.5 ips: 40Hz-16kHz ±3dB (at -10VU)
<0.8% at 1kHz, OVU (250nWb /m)
reference to 3% THD
93dB (CCIR -ARM with Dolby S)
68dB (CCIR -ARM without Dolby S)
91dB (CCIR -ARM with Dolby S)
65dB (CCIR -ARM without Dolby S)
>70dB (1kHz, OVU, with Dolby S) adjacent channel
>70dB (1kHz, +10VU)
>28dB (1kHz, OVU)
(25.4mm) low noise, high output, 10.5 -inch NAB spool
24-track
1 Rec- Replay, 1 Erase
±0.2% at either speed
±15%
15ips: ±0.06% peak DIN weighted
7.5ips: ±0.08% peak DIN weighted
0.5s to stabilise
1 -inch
33kg (731bs)
15kg (331bs)
19-inch rackmount, 11 U high, 310mm from front panel
to connector clearance. HxWxD (488 x 483 x 310 mm)
19 -inch rackmount, 3 U high, 310mm from front panel
to connector clearance. HxWxD (132 x 483 x 310 mm)
protracted affair. Machines are currently provided
pre -aligned for Ampex 456. Dolby S boards should
not normally need adjustment, and must be
accessed from the rear of the machine, with two
encode -decode systems on each of the 12 PCBs.
However, the MSR is easier to operate.
Actually, these end points can control operation
in two selectable ways. Normally, tape is stopped
from spooling when they are reached (AUTO END
STOP), but the machine can be programmed to just
Operation
slow the tape at that point and then spool off
The machine is quiet in operation, with acceptably
low capstan engagement noise. All controls are
logically laid out and labelled, with little need to
look at the manual for basic machine operation.
Across the front of the machine each track has a
LED level meter, with RECORD READY button and
LED directly beneath. As expected, these flash
when REC RDY is activated and steady when record
mode is entered. Meter level indication is accurate
within better than 0.5dB, sufficiently accurate for
both programme metering and machine alignment
purposes.
Below the metering section on the right are the
transport operational controls. The main fast
forward, rewind, stop, play and record functions
operate as expected, with an internal LED
indicating record active. The tape -reel holders are
well designed, automatically centralising the tape
spools for least wow in operation. The tape path is
also easy to tread, and safety switches prevent
operation unless the tape is taut. After lacing the
tape, pressing LOAD will run the tape slowly
forward for about one minute, automatically
setting this point as a beginning -of-tape reference
position, and as a parking position following a
rewind. Also, a point 30 or 60 minutes ahead
(according to tape speed) is set as a stopping
location for fast forward, to avoid the tape running
off the spools unexpectedly. These two points are
not affected by resetting the tape timer to zero, but
can be edited if required. Here again, the G24 -S
scores over the MSR-24S, since the former has 10
locate memories compared to the latter's two.
66 Studio Sound, November 1992
(AUTO
If you forget which is set, pressing the
CHECK button displays `Stop' or `Spool' respectively
in the tape-counter display.
SPOOL).
Editing functions
Directly above the transport controls are the locate
functions, with associated buttons in the next row
up. MEMO1 and MEMO2 are used to load the locate
memories with tape position information. Pressing
these at any time loads the tape counter position
into the locate memory. Pressing Loci or LOC2 will
spool the tape to the required position, entering
play automatically if AUTO PLAY is active. RTZ will
go back to counter zero as a locate position.
Pressing CHECK then MEMO1 or MEMO2 will display
the memory contents in the tape counter display.
REPEAT 1-2 is intended to provide a loop between
the two locate points for rehearsal. The tape will
spool to the lower of the two points, play to the
upper point, and then repeat. Pressing REPEAT
again stops this action, as do a number of other
transport functions.
A little to the left of these controls are RHSL,
AUTO IN-OUT, and CLEAR. RHSL enters rehearsal
mode, allowing the musician to practice an
overdubbing sequence before committing to a take.
The tape will rewind to a preset preroll point and
play forward until the punch -in point. The monitor
signal will then switch from playback to input at
the punch-in point, then continue to punch-out,
where the monitor will return to off-tape. The
transport operates in play mode for a further three
seconds. AUTO IN-OUT operates in the same manner,
but enters record mode automatically at the
punch -in position, punching out again at the end
point. CLEAR cancels these and the load function.
A foot-switch connector on the rear panel allows
a musician with his hands full to activate a
punch -in to record.
A set of monitor related functions are positioned
at the far left of the machine. ALL INPUT will
monitor the track input signals no matter what
operational mode the machine is in. AUTO INPUT
connects the machine monitors to tape during play
operations, and to input during record operations.
Tracks in REC READY are switched to input during
rewind, fast forward and stop to allow the control
room to hear the studio without having to change
the mixer setup. INSERT selects the monitor source
for tracks selected to REC READY. If on, these tracks
will be monitored off tape; if off, they will be
monitored from LINE IN regardless of whether a
recording is being made or not.
Below these are switches which control the tape
speed. PITCH CONTROL can be used to vary the tape
speed ±15% when VARI is indicated. Any external
speed control signal appearing on the rear -panel
remote -control connectors will force the machine
into EXT speed mode, illuminating the associated
indicator. TAPE SPEED selects 19 or 38 cm/sec
speeds on the standard machine. DISPLAY is used to
change the tape counter indication to show the
speed variation from the normal fixed speed. This
can certainly be useful when attempting to bring
the machine from a varispeed condition, back into
its standard speed setting.
and SPOOL latching push buttons are located to
the left of the main transport controls. When in
stop mode, EDIT will disengage the brakes and
tension the reel motors to allow easy rocking of the
tape to find an edit point. Pressing F FWD or REW
will cause the tape to load the heads and slowly
move in the required direction to get near the edit
point. If the right tension arm is released, pressing
EDIT unmutes the audio and turns off the right reel
motor, allowing the tape to be manually pulled off
of the reel while listening to the audio.
EDIT and PLAY pressed together engages play
mode, but without the take -up spool active,
allowing tape to be spilled from the right of the
machine (DUMP EDIT). A spot erasure mode may be
entered as well, allowing the tape to be erased on
selected tracks while manually turning the reels
sounds dangerous to me, but perhaps less so than
it seems if it is really necessary to clean a section of
tape. This was not attempted during the review.
While editing 1 -inch tape is not as common as
with narrower tape formats, these editing
functions can be useful, and are easier on this
machine than on the Fostex G24 -S.
SPOOL performs the simple function of providing
a uniform, low (a third of normal) tape -winding
speed for spooling off the tape when an even wind
is required. High speed spooling required lm 40s
Three adjacent selectors with LED illumination
allow track banks 1-8, 9-16 and -or 17 -24 to be
end to end.
EDIT
-
Dolby S control
switched into Dolby S processing mode. Finally,
SYNC LOCK forces track 24 into non-Dolby condition,
allowing it to be safely used for time code
recording and playback. When activated with REC
READY OFF, it also puts track 24 into a safety
condition, preventing accidental erasure of the
time code data.
The separate PS -24 power supply has only one
control, that being the POWER ON -OFF switch.
Beneath a smoked plastic window a number of
LED indicators reveal the health of the power
supply. A multicore power connector supplied
with the machine connects via a D-type connector
to the main transport chassis rear panel.
Connections
Rear panel multipin connectors provide for serial
and parallel synchronisers- controllers. In
addition, a remote control socket allows for
connection of a Tascam RC -424 full- function
remote control unit.
Unbalanced phono-type connectors for each of
the 24 inputs and outputs are located on the rear
panel. The nominal operating level is the
standard semiprofessional level of -10dBV. This is
the level obtained when replaying a properly
calibrated tape with a recorded level of 250nWb /m.
The manufacturer's specified performance of
+18dBV clipping level is achieved into the
specified impedances, but attempting to drive a
600Q load will result in reduced level and
increased distortion. On the rear of the unit,
switches allow the signals on inputs
8 to be
internally routed to tracks 9 16 and -or 17 24,
useful for the smaller operation with a limited
number of mixer group outputs.
1
ga.óL
Frequency response
Replay only frequency response at 15ips and
320nWb/m recorded level for tracks 1, 2, 8, 16, 23
and 24 is shown in Fig. 1, which shows an error of
+0.2 to -0.6dB maximum above 125Hz. Fig. 2
shows the same tracks for record to replay
response at meter 0dB (- 10dBV). Typical bass
bumps are evident, a feature of most analogue
recorders, but not usually audible. Both of these
figures are with Dolby S off.
Fig.3 shows the record to replay frequency
response with Dolby out at amplitudes from
-30dBV to OdBV the latter being 10dB above
meter zero. At lower frequencies, the recorded
level on tape increases at the same rate as the
input signal, while at 10kHz the level has dropped
by 3dB at the highest recorded levels.
In Fig. 4, Dolby S is switched in, which has the
result of increasing the midfrequency error while
improving flatness at higher levels. This mid dip
seems to lessen as level is increased, but in my
experience is not a normal effect of Dolby S, so is
probably caused by MSR -24S design limitations.
Checking the response at 7.5ips gives a similar
result, which is in fact smoother over most of the
band, but with a -3dB point at about 14kHz with
Dolby off, moving up to 17kHz with Dolby on.
The record equaliser adjustment gives a range of
±3dB at 16kHz and 15ips, acceptable for most
recording tapes, while the replay equaliser
-
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CONTACT
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Junction Terrace,
16 Princess St.
Kew, Victoria, Ausballs, 3101
Tel (03) 8 6210 70
Studer Revox Wien
Gee.m.b.H., Lodwiggesse 4,
1180 Wien, Tel.: (0222) 470 76 09
Heynen Audio Video N.V.,
Houthalen,
De Koelen 6, 3530
Tel. 011 -52 5757
ICDN) Einova
Ltd..
325, Rue Clement Ouest,
Lasalle. Quebec H8R 464.
Tel (001) 514-3 64 2118
Lounamea Electronics Oy,
Hollantilalsentle 7,
00331 HELSINKI.
Tel. 90-48 81 33
ELNO S. A..16 -20, rue du
Val Notre Dame, 95100 Arganteull, Tel.: (1) 39.98.44.44
113
Audio Consultante CO., Ltd.,
21/F,8 Luk Hop Str., San Po Kong,
21/F KOWLOON. HONG KONG,
Tei. 852 -3 51 36 28
D TDS - Tecniche del Suono
S. r I.
Via Del Cignoli 9,
20151 Milano, Tel.: 33.40.03.60
Kolinor Ltd .18 Ha'erba'e
Street, Tel -Aviv. Tel 03- 5610152 -4
I'
Schalltechnik
Dr, -fing.
Ltd.,
-8 Tomlhleacho, Shln(uku Tokyo,
Tel. (03) 357 -0401
Heynen B.V.,
P.O.BOx 10.6590 AA Gennep,
Tel.: 08851 -96111
D
SM. Ing. Bonum A /S. Bobs
145 Vindoren, 0319 Oslo 3.
Tel.: 472 -14 54 60
D
G.E.R.Lde., Av. Estados
Unidos da America, 51 -5 °. Dto.
1700 Lisboa, Tel.: (01) 804877
ela I(ud/RMS ab
Drottning Kristinee v8g 70
76142 Norrtel)e,
Tel.:46(0) 176-1 46 50
B
El
dB Decibi SA.
Roule de Chardonne,
1604 Puldoux.
Tel.: (021) 9 46 33 37
Scenic Sounds Equipment
Marketing Ud., 10 William Rd,
London NW 3 EN,
Tel.: 071 -3 8712 62
1
.
DK
PSS, Gertlervey 4.
2400 Kobenhavn NV,
Tel. 01- 35 82 15 82
0 Imal8 Company
1
Schoeps GmbH
13
Lorton,
Gresolet. 14,
08034 Barcelona.
Tel.:
(3)2034804
Posthorn Recordings.
142 West 26th Street, 10th Floor.
New York City, N.V.10001,
Tel.: (212) 242 -3737
POB 4109 70 . Fax: (0721) 49 57 50
7500 Karlsruhe li7826902 Tel.: (0721) 9 43 20-0
67
gives +8 to -6dB adjustment at the same frequency,
sufficient for any modern tape.
Punch -in quality
Tests were run using music of various styles, and a
test signal which shifts from 1kHz to 500Hz at the
punch -in point. In all cases, though there is
obviously a gap created in the signal of about 30ms
between -6dB points, the result is not audible. The
usual cause of apparent punch-in disturbance is
not the recorder, but rather that the background
noise beneath the changing input signal also alters,
producing an audible change in noise texture.
Fig. 5 shows the measured result of a punch -in on
the MSR -24S.
Noise and crosstalk
The '/a- octave noise spectrum of replay -only noise
at 15ips is shown in Fig. 6 with and without noise
reduction. The radical improvement resulting from
Dolby S is very obvious. Electronics -only noise is
shown by the bottom curve of Fig. 6, indicating
that these are well below the tape system noise as
they should be.
The machine was then placed into record mode
with no input signal and the input terminated in
20052. The resulting noise is about 3dB worse in
midband, a good result indicating low distortion in
Fig.!: Replay only Frequency response
after alignment. Levels referenced to
-7.86 dBV output, (nominal output for a
tape signal level of 320nWb /m)
FM>LiEUpE ieE11
6
a
2
a
-4
.s
-a
to
20
100
20k
10k
1k
raEOUErvcvl_i
Fig.2: Record to replay frequency
responseafter alignment of record and
replay chain. Input level at -10dBV,
equivalent to 250nWb /m. Output level
referenced to -10dBV. NR out
fall off
20
25
Imagine
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a
35
100
20
"1k
20k
10k
raEOUErvc-71h.)
Fig.3: Record to replay frequency
response after alignment of record and
replay chain. Channel 8 measured. NR
out.
nMSL,DE
i,iC.
5
The Apex CDR 40 Professional Recordable CD offers
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APEX ny. Prins Bisschopssingel 50, 3500 HASSELT, BELGIUM
Tel: +32- 11- 280171 Fax: +32 -11- 274353
I
30
-
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immediately.
I
-15
35
But its classic controls will make you feel familiar,
PN-10CBV
-10
00
1k
FPEGUEN,1H71
Fig.4: Record to replay frequency
response of record and replay chain.
Channel 8 measured. NR in
20k
a good result. With Dolby S in (Fig. 8)
,..,
0,8
I
pl`
I
0.6
IIIflI,"Ili'11
PJ
I
^
¡I
I
II
0.4
Md
0.2
Howe
o
I
-0.4
i
-0.6
-
ea
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1111
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Noise reduction
l
-0.e
(IV
l`ili'lll'Jli`
VIII
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-02
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,
VV
'
,
,
1
V
Í0897466,74:8.6,'
-1.2
60
70
80
90
100
10
120
130
140
159
160
Fig.5: Time response showing punch -in
from 1kHz to 500 Hz. Both at -10dBV
input levels
this is
reduced by 6dB, but fourth and fifth harmonics
actually increase, again a result we have not seen
before. These are at very low levels below -80dB,
so should not be audible above signal and noise.
In Fig. 9, a tone at OdBV ( +10 on meter) is swept
across the audio frequency band with and without
noise reduction, and the resulting total harmonic
distortion is measured. The midband distortion
with Dolby S active is very low at 0.3% is better
than the Tascam specification, while the rising
distortion with frequency is as expected, but
controlled by Dolby S action. The equivalent result
on the Fostex G24 -S is 1.2 %, making the MSR -24S
a significant winner here.
It was not possible to reach the standard 3%
distortion level at 1kHz usually specified as peak
recording level with or without noise reduction
with inputs up to +10VÚ. At this level, most
channels remained below 1% without Dolby, and
below 0.5% with Dolby. A 3% THD was finally
reached at +3dBV ( +13VU). Taken together with
the noise levels resulting after Dolby S, this
recorder is giving excellent distortion and noise
performance over all reasonable recorded levels.
The signal -to -noise ratio resulting from Table 1
and the above THD measurements is 68.3 dB
without Dolby and 92.6dB with Dolby, almost
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Fig.6: 1/3- octave noise spectrum via
input monitor and for bulk- erased tape
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16
18
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`I:iCMiili.
Fig.7: FFT noise spectrum of 1kHz tone,
(record to replay). Input level -10dBV.
NR out
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Fig.8: FFT noise spectrum of 1kHz
tone,(record to replay). Input level
-10dBV. NR in
the bias and erase oscillators.Table 1 gives
wideband noise results.
An FFT spectrum of 1kHz tone recorded at a
level of -10dBx is shown in Fig.7 without noise
reduction. The third harmonic product is 57dB
below the wanted signal level or about 0.2 %, quite
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69
1: AUDIO
TABLE
BAND NOISE MEASUREMENTS
Filter and
Rectifier
RMS
400 -22k
RMS
-70.7dBV
-62.8dBV
-68.5dBV
67.2dBV
-89.7dBV
-70.7dBV
-84.4dBV
-57.2dBV
-66.7dBV
-61.5dBV
-64.5dBV
Measurement
Conditions
CCIR
CCIR -468
22-22k
ARM
Q -Peak
Q -Peak
Bulk Erased
no NR
Bulk Erased
-71.0dBV
-59.5dBV
-57.8dBV
92.7dBV
-67.2dBV
-65.8dBV
-57.5dBV
A
with NR
Recorded
22-22k
wtd RMS
no NR
Recorded
with NR
88.6dBV
-70.5dBV
-86.6dBV
-67.3dBV
-67.2dBV
-80.9dBV
Noise reWniun^n
rYr,10k
01
20
100
1k
FPECUENCVtNn
20k
Fig.9: Record to reply THD +N( %) versus
frequency. Input level at OdBV on
channel 16. 80kHz bandwidth
TABLE 2: WOW AND FLUTTER PERFORMANCE
Measurement
Method
Front
Tape Position
Middle
End
AMPLrUoE,dPR
NAB 3kHz Wtd
0.027%
0.021%
0.020%
.10
NAB 3kHz Unwtd
0.038%
0.028%
0.026%
IEC 3.15kHz Wtd
IEC 3 15kHz Unwtd
High Band 12.5kHz Unwtd
High Band 12.5kHz Wtd
High Band 12.5kHz Scrape
0.044%
0.036%
0.029%
0.063%
0.058%
0.026%
0.057%
0.045%
0.039%
0.149%
0.150%
0.159%
0.135%
0.142%
-20
40
60
0.150%
-80
Mechanics
Generally, mechanical operation is good, with a
number of useful features such as the load function
mentioned earlier which keeps the tape under
control and on the spools. I did, however, have a
little trouble on fast wind, with the tape
occasionally causing oscillation of the swinging
arms sufficient to stop the machine. A studio I
know, however, has one of these machines and has
never encountered a problem, so it may be an
adjustment problem with the test unit.
Wow and flutter is well within specification,
with measured results at 15ips shown in Table 2.
These are better than the G24 -S, nearing the levels
of the now defunct but excellent Saturn 2 -inch
machine except for scrape flutter which is a little
worse.
Metering
900 9
M
-
MOWN
NQW
u
_e.,.-.,,-
P
P
_
20
^I
0k
100
20k
FPEOUENCVOH,
Fig.10: Record to replay crosstalk (dB).
Channel 8 recorded, channels 7 and 9
measured. Input level on channel 8 at
-10dBV, (250nWb /m)
RESCUE
CUE,nei
-20
-30
-40
-50
-60
-90
r
.100
20
100
tk
,r
10 k
20k
Fig.11: Erasure residue on channel 8.
Channel 8 recorded with -10dBV
(250mWb /m) and then erased. Residual
level then measured with 1 /3- octave
bandpass filter
Summary
®
"°
'''''''e
,
Noise roduclpon
-80
The meters are LED types scaled from -20 to +8dB.
The meter response time is almost instantaneous,
reaching full metered level with a 5Hz input signal
burst of only two milliseconds. A lms signal reads
-3dB below the steady -state signal level. The peak
hold LED triggers on any peak of more than 3ms
duration and above zero on the meter, with a hold
time of 1.4s.
0T
1,
.90
-70
STEREO STABILIZER 5
k
Noise reduction on
.50
-70
matching the specified 68 to 93dB. This again
beats the G24 -S which gave a signal -to -noise ratio
of 90dB under similar conditions.
Fig. 10 gives the results of track to track
crosstalk with and without Dolby S. At 1kHz, the
results are -63dB and -84dB respectively. This is
much better than specified and is an excellent
result. The rising crosstalk at lower frequencies is
typical and results from tape fringing effects as the
recorded wavelength increases.
Erasure was measured by recording at -10dBV
in steps across the audio band, erasing, then
measuring the remaining signal through a
bandpass filter. The specification requires -70dB
with Dolby in at 1kHz. The result at 1kHz exceeds
the specification by 2dB. See Fig. 11 for measured
performance across the audio band. Again, the
benefits of Dolby S are evident in the lower curve.
>ar.«1EP
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Twin Twin Rack and Box Units
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PPM5 hybrid, PPM9 Microprocessor and PPM8 IEC /DIN -50/ +6dB drives and movements
Deviation Meter
Philips DC777 Short Wave Car Combination:
Stereo Variable Emphasis Limiter 3
Broadcast Stereo Coders
discount £215 + VAT.
SURREY ELECTRONICS LTD
THE FORGE, CRANLEIGH, SURREY GU6 7BG
TEL: 0483 -275997
FAX: 0483 -276477
Now, available in models with either Dolby S or
dbx, the MSR-24S can provide a cost -effective
solution to 1 -inch 24-track needs which should suit
the needs of a large number of small recording,
production houses and home studios. The MSR 24S has wow and flutter, noise and THD
advantages over the Fostex competitor; while
Fostex provides a smaller machine, with 10 locate
memories, and a front panel which can be removed
to become a full- function remote. The MSR -24S
must be considered on its performance merits as a
viable alternative in the midpriced 1 -inch
multitrack market.
CLASSIFIEDS
Flexibl
sv te
Please call Peter Turberfield for
Rates & Details 44 (0) 71 620 3636
The attention of advertisers is drawn to "The Business
Advertisements (Disclosure) Order 1977 ", which
requires that, all advertisements by persons who seek to
sell goods in the course of business must make that fact
clear.
job advertisements are bound by the Sex
Discrimination Act 1975.
Advertisement copy must be clearly printed in block
capitals or typewritten and addressed to: Peter
All
Turberfield, Studio Sound, Spotlight Publications
Limited, 8th Floor, Ludgate House, 245 Blackfriars
Road, London SE1 9UR.
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We rent our analog and digital
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Tel: 0633 252957. Fax:
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TWO
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Second to
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Loop -bin.
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Triclent-Studer-Questeds. Full equipment for
sale. Details and equipment list 0473- 7297V1
(days).
SOUNDCRAFT 760
MARK 2, 2 inch, 24
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Cassette Duplication
Compact Discs
Post Mastering
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£12,000.00
HEADBLOCK
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£6,000.00
FULLY WIRED
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STUDER A80 MKII 16 TRACK 15/30ips
:£1,000
STUDER C37 STEREO VALVE 7'4, 15 ips
£1,200
STUDER 867 STEREO, THREE SPEED
£600
STUDER B62 TWO TRACK, TROLLEY
£800
REVOX A700 TWO TRACK, THREE SPEED
£650
REVOX A77 MK IV HIGH SPEED
£1,200
REVOX B77 Mk II HIGH SPEED, NEW
£900
REVOX 8215 CASSETTE DECK, NEW
£2,600
REVOX C278 EIGHT TRACK, NEW
£1,500
STUDER A80 TWO TRACK, 7'4, 1 Sips
£1,950
REVOX PR99 MK III HS, NEW
£2,200
REVOX MR8 8 into two desk, NEW
£2,700
STUDER D780 R DAT
£12,000
STUDER A80 24 TRACK
£3,850
STUDER A807 TWO TRACK FROM
£4,500
STUDER A810 TWO TRACK MK II, NEW
£4,000
STUDER A810 TWO TRACK TIME CODE
PLAYER,
NEW
£1,800
A730
PRO
CD
STUDER
£1,600
STUDER A721 PRO CASSETTE
£880
REVOX C221 PRO CD PLAYER, NEW
REVOX MB16 BROADCAST DESK, NEW ....£5,200
TEL: 061 -973 1884
ALL PRICES PLUS VAT
TEL 0246 275479
FAX 0246 550421
FOR SALE
SATURN 624 24 TRACK
With Autolocator
NEW EX- FACTORY
£15,000 + vat
Full Warranty
Contact Julian Blyth at Saturns new
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Tel: 071-923 1892 Fax: 071 -241 3644
72
Studio Sound, November 1992
-a
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MUSIC -SPEECH -DATA
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Spools, boxes blades s Iicirtg and leader tape. Custom
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Digital and analogue editing,
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The Old Barn,
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Sounds
tel: 0892 861099
incorporated
Trident Di -An, 40.32, 1988, with Reflex
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£65,500
Calrec UA8000, 64 chs, full AMS auto,
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DDA DCM232, fitted fut DDA auto,
30 chs in 40 frame, 3.5 yrs old, Immac, £34,000
Amok Mozart, 56 frame fitted 48 chs,
1991, auto, extras, v,g.c
CALL
Soundtracs Quartz +Satum624, 32 chs,
only yr old, unused
£24,950
MCI 636 + 3M's M79, 36 chs, in -line,
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Trident TSM, 40 chs
£CALL
1
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fax: 0892 863485
Complete Cutting Room, DMM,
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Roland SDE2000, dig delay unit
Microphones, various
Westlake BBSM 10 monitors
Roland SBX -80 sync box
5S1 E series computer
Dolby 361, pair fitted A cards
Dolby XP SR24 rack
Lexicon 200, digital reverb,
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TC 2290, multi FX unit
BGW 750D, power amp
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Studer A820, 375 hrs, wired for Dolby,
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Otani MTR90 mkII, remote /auto
Studer Dyaxis, .5 hour stereo,inc
Mac IICX, latest software, warranty,
Soundcraft 6000, 36.24 with p/bay
Soundcratt 6000, 44.24 with p/bay
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STUDIO ENGINEER
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Must be prepared to work unsociable hours (Shift system). Salary negotiable
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Applications in writing before 20th Nov 92.
Attn:
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Charly Records
156/166 Ilderton Road
London SE15 1NT
tl
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081 -673 -3676
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ADVERTISERS'
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For information and available dates contact:
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081 -742 9()3() (081 -742 9060 fax)
Course leader Roger Derry.
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Digital Audio Research
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other than the facts that it is urgent,
it is Saturday and his office is closed.
What do you do?
new client has brought a
multitrack tape in for mixdown. It
has been loaded on the multitrack
of comment about it and, although I
and is being played for the first time
once disagreed with it myself (and we
five- and-a -half minutes of a major
can argue about percentages), it
production. Fine except that the take seems truer now than 20 years ago
up motor stops and deposits 825 feet
when I first heard it.
of tape down the side of the
It may seem that most studio
multitrack. It should be undamaged
interaction between engineer,
but will need manually winding back
producer, client and artists is that of
and then a replacement machine will
standard commercial relationships
need to be wheeled in. How do you
I
but there is no other job that can
gain the breathing space to rewind
think of where you may be required
the tape? (You will need about twice
with,
someone
to,
and
work
to sit next
the playing time to manually rewind
who you may never have met before,
and inspect the tape).
for 18 hours a day over a period of
The band were track laying and the
several months, while their
producer found it very necessary to
reputation and -or future financial
guide them musically but there was
remuneration are on the line. It is
considerable tension and mounting
also wrong to assume you will be
pressure. Out came the drinks and
working with mature and responsible
then the joints in an effort to calm the
some may be, but there will
people
-Allen
Keith Spencer
musicians. Unfortunately the
also be a fair number of fragile egos
producer joins in and his critical
if
the
that will need protecting
faculties decrease. More relaxation'
session is going to work.
happens between each take and the
Once life was much simpler. The
playing increasingly deteriorates. The
engineer was under the control of the
perception of the band and producer
been courting for years. What do you
the making of a great engineer.
A &R man and his function was
is, however, the opposite as they get
do?
insight
can
be
this
However,
gaining
simply that of an `engineer' to
foreign client, for whom you have more excited that they are `really
painful. In an effort to reduce this
facilitate the transfer of sound from
getting it good now.'You know that
recorded two albums and a couple of
pain and to speed the learning
microphone to tape with no concern
the inevitable is about to happen
singles quite successfully, had to
for the musical content other than the process I have drawn together a few
complete a couple of tracks at another you get asked for your opinion. What
situations (all from real life) that
technical parameters. When the
do you say?
facility because you were busy when
might prompt some thought about
recording studio became `another
You are in the middle of a
he needed to schedule the sessions.
how you would handle them.
musical instrument' the engineer
semi -orchestral session when a
You are laying tracks at the start of Because of language problems and
found himself at the centre of the
the client's inexperience in the studio, foldback amplifier in the studio area
an album project. You sense that the
creative process.
starts to smoke. Playing immediately
you have always tried hard to meet
band do not trust the ability of the
When studio staff were trained
their requirements by trying different stops and the musicians grab their
in -house and there was the obligatory producer selected by the record
instruments and leave. You call
miking techniques, but could not
company, and he has not done much
`three -year apprenticeship', this was
maintenance and they replace the
While
in
English.
the
process
explain
the
wrong.
While
prove
them
to
that
was
the type of experience
faulty amp but you have to talk the
happy to be working back in your
producer takes an urgent phone call,
picked up and it was possible for the
musicians back into the studio and
studio the client was very keen to
the musicians suggest to you major
studio to observe the trainees closely
pacify the producer who only sees the
educate you in the ways of the
changes that they want in the sound
before letting them loose in sessions.
engineer at the other facility. 'He was need to call his lawyer. The studio
aware that the producer has already
Unfortunately, this is one of the very
could be liable for both musicians
said no. You know that the musicians fantastic. He didn't need to
reasons that it is impossible to train
experiment like you. He says there is time and studio time probably at
are right but you also know that the
as an engineer outside of a
another facility. Can you save the
only one way to record drums and
producer would prefer to be working
commercial studio environment
day?
that is his way with the mics in his
in-his usual studio and that a
you will only have learnt that 20%
I have not used any situations
positions. Very simple and quick.
`difficult' engineer is all he needs to
of the job, the technical skill
throw at the record company in order Why don't you call him and ask him if that, in rétrpspect, seem implausible
But what are studio manners?
nor any of the real disasters that I
he will show you how to do it ?'
There is no easy answer it depends to move the session. What do you do?
would prefer to forget. All you can do
violence!
no
physical
Remember
brings
producer
inexperienced
the
The
and
the
client
on your character,
The producer who you have worked is hope that from every situation you
along his `technical advisor' who
situation. The difficult period is
gain a little wisdom.
with regularly turns up for the early
comfortably fits the adage `a little
always those first few hours at the
morning session straight from an allknowledge is a dangerous thing'. The
start of the session. It is no easier if
night party with his portable cocktail Having quoted the 80-20
advisor watches your every
the client knows the studio but has
cabinet. You are fresh from breakfast statement twice, I must credit it
relays
his
then
movement
and
it
may
never worked with you;
to Dave Humphries, sound
but the client should really be
`concern' about your ability to the
actually be worse. I have concluded
balancer extraordinary; an
sleeping it off at home. He pours a
that, aside from a few general points, producer who then asks you why the
engineer with the ability to make
couple of drinks for himself and the
meters on the desk do not all peak at
most studio relationships are based
his harmony balances sound
band who are immediately on his
zero all the time? By the way, the
upon a sensitivity to the client -artist
better
than anyone else's. He is
full
of
You
have
a
studio
side.
A
for
the
&R
producer
works
to
cover
and a degree of preparedness
musicians with whom you share total also very good at the 80%
department of a major record
a range of eventualities of all types.
himself.
ignorance of what needs to be done
company whose work the studio has
It is this preparedness that can be
t was in the July '92 column
that I quoted a ex- colleague as
saying that an engineer's job is
20% skill, 80% PR. Since it
appeared I have received a great deal
I
A
-
-
On entering studio politics
-
-
-
74
Studio Sound, November 1992
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www.americanradiohistory.com
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