null  null
MAY 1977
111 1111111E11111
!HIM 1111
o e Reduction: A Current View
Microphones By Woram
New Products
Lab Reports
Record Reviews
NO. 5
$" .F0
If you've planned on purchasing a quad console
If you want a stereo console for a stereo con for your quad control room. A wise decision. trol room. The SP 800 B.
If you were going to get a quad console for
The SP 800 B. It can do anything the others
your stereo control room. Good luck.
can, but mixdown to quad. So what.
It's only $4,500 retail price.
647 Irwin St.
San Rafael, Calif. 94901
San Francisco
(415) 454-2911
3904 West 79th St.
Chicago, III. 60652
(312) 585-1154
(415) 924-2600
I r
You may see, hear, and feel the SP 800 series consoles at:
2815 East Lake St.
Minneapolis, Minn. 55406
(612) 729 -2351
11408 Collins St. N.H., CA. 91601
(213) 769-7090
Speakers: $150 ES. Alpha 4'
Now you
can own
a complete
PA. system
for under
At Sunn, we've taken all the expertise we ""ve
developed in electronics and manufacturing to
make our new Alpha Series the best of both
worlds; performance and price. The fundamental
concepts of advanced electronic technology and
simplicity of operation that went into Sunn's
Automated Sound Systems have been applied to
a series of three mixers and several speaker
systems at prices that won't strain lean bank
accounts. Each mixer (4, 6 or 8 channels)
features 100 watts RMS, Phase -Sync® tone
controls, and the same "integrated" design of
Automated Sound
Generation II. Write us for
more information. Or, better yet, see our nearest
Sunn dealer for a free demonstration. After all,
music's the thing. And we're here to help.
sunn keg) AMBURN
010.02 7706 MR
What Every Studio
Should Have In Common.
These studios are owned by businessmen who have at
least one thing in common...
an unrelenting commitment to protect and build on
their investment. In these times of growing competition and increased customer demands, success only
comes with hard work and a uniquely developed
For over two years THE EXPRESS SOUND CO.
has specialized in the service and support of that
talent. From the beginning, ours has been a focused
effort to create and customize the kind of company
these studio owners (and others like them) look to
for their equipment, consultation and service needs.
the time has come for you to join this special
community of professionals, you'll have the opportunity to share in the experiences and talents common
to them all ... technical knowhow, seemingly endless
hours applying it and, most important, profitably
selling and delivering it.
COSTA MESA, CA. 92627, (714) 645 -8501
MAY 1977
VOL. 2 NO. 5
[email protected] RDllNG
By John M. Woram
Mr. Woram attempts to cover some of
the lesser -known problems that can
arise in mic placement and technique,
with a suggestion that, "If you like it, it's
right (for you)."
By Fred Ridder
Contributing editor Fred Ridder reports on
the building of the Utopia road show. Complete with Roger Powell's new synthesizer invention, a Sphinx, the Four Elements and
enough new methods for touring road shows
to give a soundman permanent paranoiac
Part I
By George Klabin
The technical Q & A scene
By Norman Eisenberg
The notable and the new, with a comment
on the judicious use of recording "gadgetry."
New products for the musician.
By Len Feldman
Graphic equalizers are here to stay, but how
do we know if we're using them correctly?
By Norman Eisenberg
and Len Feldman
Biamp Systems EQ /210 Graphic Equalizer
Burwen DNF 1201A Dynamic Noise Filter
Tandberg TCD -330 Cassette Recorder
Recording engineer George Klabin supplies
us with a view of noise reduction. In this section, the first of two parts, Mr. Klabin delves
into the history, development, pros and cons,
available units and functions of the noise
reduction process.
Noise Reduction: Part II
Direct -to -disc Recording
By Jim Ford
and Brian Roth
Common Sound Reinforcement
Reviews of albums by Automatic Man,
Atlanta Rhythm Section. Don Cherry and
George Benson.
MODERN RECORDING is published monthly by Cowan Publishing Corp.,
14 Vanderventer Ave., Port Washington, New York 11050.
Design and
contents are copyright by Cowan Publishing Corp. and must not be reproduced in any manner except by permission of the publisher. Second
class postage paid at Port Washington, New York and at additional mailing offices. Subscription rates $7.50 for six issues, $13.50 for 12 issues,
$18.00 for 18 issues.
Add $3.00 per year for subscriptions outside the
U.S. Subscriptions must be paid in American currency.
Cover photo ® 1977 Chas Farrell -Kimbrell
Audio Editorial Board
Contributing Editors
Reading Amateur
I am interested in learning about the field of recording and sound
reinforcement, mostly as an amateur, rather than as a possible
career. I am writing to ask you to recommend some good books
on the subject.
I know virtually nothing, so the book would have to begin at a
non -technical level. From there, I hope to learn as much as I can
on the different pieces of equipment, how they are used, etc.
Thank you for your time & help.
L. Allen Ebert
Winchester, Va.
a listing of good recording books, see MR issues Oct /Nov
1976 and April 1977 in the Talkback Sections.
Production Manager
Production Assistant
Advertising Director
West Coast
Advertising Representative
Info on Turntables
Perhaps you could help me out. I'd like any information you
might have on turntables lying around the office. Sure, I could go
to a popular high fidelity magazine, but then I would get bombarded with information about equipment that is less than state
of the art. Since we started receiving your publication, the quality
of our P.A. work has taken an upward swing. Again, thanks for
the information.
The boys are itching to read up on most any equipment they
could possibly use in advancing their work so could you send that
along also.
-C.A. Rynski
Technical Director
Student Union Board
University of Toledo
Toledo, Ohio
Art Director
Art Staff
Editorial and Executive Offices
Modern Recording
14 Vanderventer Ave.
Port Washington. N.Y. 11050
Cowan. President
Cowan. Controller
Editorial contributions should be addressed to
The Editor. Modern Recording. 14 Vanderventer
Ave.. Port Washington. N.Y. 11050. Unsolicited
manuscripts will be treated with care and must be
accompanied by return postage.
sift brit bid
We don't do many reports on turntables so we have no information lying about. Our best suggestion is to write directly to the
manufacturer of the turntable you are interested in. We suggest
that you aid your boys with a subscription to Modern Recording
which will surely provide them with enough information for
recording advancement.
You Ask, We Help
Would you please send me a spec sheet of your commercial ad
costs and rates? Also, could you please provide me with the correct mailing addresses to the music -trade publications listed: Billboard, Cashbox, and Record World.
I have seen you mention these magazines in your great publication, but I have been unable to obtain the correct mailing addresses to all three.
Also, I would like to request the name, address, costs, etc., and
details of the RIA, Modern Recording Techniques course offered
by the nearest affiliated studio. I have written to the address seen
in MR to get all the details but to no avail!!
-Charles D. Burch, Sr.
Buffalo, N.Y.
200 Watts tins
per cha-mq
10 low & 10 high
impedance inputs
20 Hz to 20 kHz response
Less than 0.1% TI-ID
120 Watts
rms per channel
7 low & 7 high
impedance inputs
20 Hz to 20 kHz response
Less than 0.1% THD
Introducing the PA 7005 and PA 1000S,...proressional stereo mixer /amps from Peavey.
Anything a soundman can do with a multi -channel stereo mixer, two 9 -Band graphic equalizers
and two power amps can be done with these super versatile systems.
Features such as variable input attenuation, monitor send, high and low EQ. effects send,
stereo pan and output level slider on each channel, along with two 9 -Band graphic equalizers,
master section, VU meters, ar-d a complete rear patch panel including low and high impedance
inputs, put you in full command of the system.
All you do is add the speakers and mix!
For complete information, see your Peavey Dealer or write us and we'll send you a free catalog.
Peavey Electronics. Corp. / 711 A Street / Meridian, Mississippi 39301
An MR spec sheet of commercial ad
costs and rates is on the way to you.
Here are the music -trade publications
mailing addresses you requested: Billboard, One Astor Plaza, 1515 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10036, Cashbox,
6363 Sunset Blvd., Suite 930, Hollywood, Ca. 90028, and Record World,
1700 Broadway, New York, N.Y.
10019. RIA informs us that they are
very busy with requests similar to yours.
They will be forwarding the information to you as soon as possible, but be
prepared... there is no affiliated studio
in Buffalo.
Trade Journals
Please tell me also where I can get copies
of "Studio Sound" magazine. (I already
subscribe to Modern Recording magazine.) If there are professional trade
journals for the industry, please forward
a list of these.
-Steven D. Nijak
Rockville, Md.
For a list of trade journals, see Talkback,
"Your Own Studio."
Now that 8 -track is the sensible way to go, Sound
Workshop lets you do it right with its new 1280
Recording Console.
The 1280 stacks up like this: 12 inputs, 8 outputs;
8 x 2 stereo monitor system; 8 x 1 musicians cue
system with cue echo; 2 track mixdown buss; 3 band
equalization; Solo; Mute; Panning; Pushbutton
track assign; Control room monitor switching, with
slate, talkback, and cue; Dual echo returns with
panning and EQ: pre and post fader patch points;
Total output level monitoring with Sound Workshop's
unique TRI -LITE LED readouts that let you check
recording levels on all 8 tracks at a glance.
All this plus more...and of course it's Sound
Workshop quality. We guarantee it. For 2 years,
parts and labor.
the Sound Workshop 1280 recording console
$ 2850.
s op
bringing the technology within everyones reach
1038 Northern Blvd., Roslyn, L.I., N.Y 11576
(516) 621 -6710
Reader's Suggestions
How about concentrating a little more
on pro and semi -pro gear rather than hifi? Also, the suggestion of comparative
tests (several different makes, price
ranges of reverbs, 1/4 -track etc. at one
time seems to make sense to me).
I'm enjoying Modern Recording nonetheless!!
-P.K. Almeter
Batavia, N.Y.
MR does not consider any of its reviews
to be hi -fi oriented. Equipment like pro-
fessional power amplifiers, equalizers
and four-track tape recorders can not be
considered basic hi -fi gear.
For price comparisons, please refer to
the MR Buyer's Guide and check our
new staple "Hands -On Report" in which
we'll be lab and field testing equipment.
JBL Disagrees
Rob Lewis' "Monitors for the Recordist"
contains many admirable points, but I
strongly disagree with his positive assessment of narrow -band, peaked- response
Run -of- the -mill home equipment is far
better today than it was ten years ago.
One can plainly hear tape and /or cutter
overload (resulting from excessive highs)
on many home loudspeakers. One can
also plainly hear air conditioning noises,
turntable rumbles, room resonances and
The "Click
and Pop"
only by '___
Ever since the invention of the recorded disc annoying "clicks" and "pops" caused by scratches, static
and imperfections have consistently ,disturbed the
listening pleasure of music lovers.
Now, SAE introduces the unique model 5000, an
Impulse Noise Reduction System which e iminates
those unwanted sounds with no adverse effect on
the quality of the recorded material.
This breakthrough in electronic circuitry is so demonstrably effective that the SAE 5000 ,s destined to
become an essential part of any sound system.
The SAE 5000 is compact and sleek, built to SAE's
exacting standards, and ready to enhance the performance of any system, from the standard receiver/
turntable combination, to the most sophisticated
audiophile components.
SAE is proud to add the 5000 to their broad line of
Components for the Connoisseur.
I P.O. Box 60271, Terminal Annex
Los Angeles, Cal. 90060
I Please send more information
on the 5000.
I Address
I City
the like on many current home units.
These are inaudible on monitor designs
which do not have extended response
at both ends of the frequency spectrum.
Additionally, a monitor with elevated
midrange response will result in tapes
which are deficient in midrange vocal
presence -the tape will exhibit the
inverse of the speaker's response curve
unless the mixer can "guesstimate" a
suitable correction factor.
Further, equalization is of limited help
in restoring missing frequency extremes,
particularly at the low end of a ported
system's response. When a conventionally
tuned reflex system operates below vent
resonance, response rolls off at about
24 dB /octave and phase rotates rapidly.
Bearing in mind that 10 dB represents
a tenfold power increment, one can see
that both woofer and amplifier power
capacity will be quickly exceeded with
little useful result if equalization below
system resonance is attempted.
It seems odd that the most subtle differences in signal processing equipment
are hotly debated and the last drops of
distortion and noise are squeezed from
electronics and tape machines, yet many
people continue to depend on twenty year-old monitor designs which are not
capable of reproducing most of these
electronic subtleties.
BFAmp vs.
The sun hangs low in the Western sky as
the newcomer, Bi -Amp, levels his
double barrels of efficiency and cleanliness at old -timer Uno -Amp.
Bi -Amp is the system used in Tangent's
powered columns: a separate amplifier
driving the low frequency speaker, and
separate amp for the high
frequency transducer.
Uno-Amp is the name we've given to the
traditional method of powering both the
high and low frequency drivers with
a single power amp.
Efficiency, the first barrel: Passive
crossover networks used with Uno -Amps
(between the power amp and speakers)
waste power.
An electronic crossover (like the one in
Tangent's bi- powered columns) splits the
signal into low and high frequency bands
first. Each band is then fed into a separate
amplifier. Since each amp is handling a
narrower bandwidth, they can be driven
harder before clipping.
Thus the Tangent bp6030 Bi -Amp
column, with 90 Watts RMS (60 Low,
30 High), is equivalent to a 175 Watt
Uno -Amp output.
Cleanliness, the second barrel: An UnoAmp set-up needs something between the
power amp and the high frequency driver:
resistors or capacitors or inductors or L -pads.
In a Bi -Amp system there is nothing in the
way of the amplified signal from the
power section on its way to the speaker.
And Tangent's electronic crossover uses a
constant-voltage, constant -phase circuit
that totally eliminates time delay distortion.
Both barrels on target: Bi -Amp takes over
as the champion of clean, efficient sound.
systems, inc..
2810 south 24th street
phoenix, orisons
802- 267 -0663
We are seriously considering doing a Lab
Report on the Tascam 80-8 in an upcoming issue. However, the machine has
caused such a stir that TEAC is quite
busy filling orders. When things at
TEAC calm down, we will do our best
to have a Lab Report as soon as possible
on the 80-8.
Good Idea
Began receiving our subscription today
with the Vol. 2, No. 3 issue that was
long awaited. Thank you for getting us
back on the list of subscribers. We will
be looking forward to receiving back
issues of MR since we've missed them
dearly, and of course, all forthcoming
issues. Glad to hear about the monthly
format. We'll need more info about adding to our subscription.
It would be nice to see information
geared to interpreting manufacturers
specs and seemingly foreign abbreviations. I know most of this sort of thing
can be found in Audio Cyclopedia
and various handbooks, but it would be
nice to have it documented for quick
reference. This could also apply to consumer stereo type spec sheets on tuners
and the like.
-Don Schott
Monitor Music Central
Cincinnati, Ohio
-Garry Margolis
Applications Engineer
Professional Division
JBL Sound, Inc.
Northridge, Ca.
Hunting Warriors
Could you please tell me which label
Jade Warrior records on and possibly the
name or names of their albums as seen
in your Feb /Mar 1977 issue. I've been
trying to find out for quite a long time.
You have a great magazine!
-Todd Nelson
Ventura, Ca.
Jade Warrior records on Island Records
as listed in the Groove Views heading in
the Feb /Mar 1977 MR issue which you
have already noted. Jade Warrior has
recorded three albums: Floating World,
Waves, and Kites.
Upcoming Lab Reports
Could you do a Lab Report on the
Tascam series model 80 -8, half -inch, reel
Fora magazine with our format, it would
be difficult to draw up and include a
directory of terms. However, your idea
is well taken and will be set on the
drawing board.
If you subscribed when MR was bimonthly, your subscription will still
cover 6 months of issues. With MR
going monthly, those 6 months will
only cover a half a year. So to cover an
entire year, you will have to renew your
subscription after 6 months.
Back Issue Request
Congratulations on a very useful
magazine. I look forward to every issue.
Thanks for going monthly!
How about making some back issues
-Richard C. Vonderlinn
Greenlawn, N.Y.
At present the only back issues available are Jun/Jul 1976, Dec/Jan 1977,
-to -reel recorder in an upcoming issue?
Feb /Mar 1977, and the MR Buyer's
Guide. To receive back issues, simply
write to our Subscription Department
and request them at $1.75 per copy.
Great magazine, keep up the good work.
-Eric J. Brown
Schenectedy, N.Y.
JVC builds in what
other receivers leave out.
A graphic equalizer.
The only way you can equal
the realistic sound capability cf
JVC's modestly priced S300 : te-eo
receiver, is by adding an expensn,e, but
highly versatile çraphic equali ?er, 'o
another receiver.
For the price of a conventional
receiver in its pace range. the S3C0 has
built -in JVC's ex3lusive graphic ecualizer
system. With five zone control b cover
the entire musical range. While most high
priced receivers offer bass and treble
controls, and some include a third for
midrange. none approach the precision
and flexibility of the SEA graphic equalizer
system developed and patented by JVC.
371,293 ways to hear
better sound.
By adjusting the five detent tone controls
covering the frequency range at 40Hz,
250Hz, 1.000Hz. 5,000Hz and
15,000Hz. you can create 37',293 different sounds. A. feat never before
achieved (with a stereo receiver) outside
a professional recording studio. But,
then. thn S300 is a JVC professional.
Get better performance
from your components
and listening room.
Why do you need such tremendous variations in tone? Quite simply, they ielp
you to overcome the shortcomings of
the acoustics in your listening room: they
also can help you to compensate for the
deficiencies in o d or poor recordings.
nail,. they can do wonders
for thiE fréquency responseot
your peakers. and where
you G ace them.
3EA is really quite easy
to use For example, the 40 Hz
sach redJces record hum cr
rumb,e, and it can add greater
c aí ity to the ultra low bass of an organ.
The problem of booming
soeakers is simply handled with the
250Hz switch. And in the important
midranges. the 1.000Hz contro'
adds new dimension to the vocals of
your favorite rock performers, while the
5.000 -Iz switch brings out the best in
Jascha Heifetz. You can even reduce
tape hss and diminish the harsh sound
of a phono cartridge at high frequencies,
with the 15.000 Hz control
SEA adjusts the sound of
your system to the size
of your room.
You see. small rooms tend to emphasize
align frequencies, while large ones accer tua'.e the lows. But the ingenious SEA
allows you to compensate for room size
and furnishings -so your system can
perform the way it was meant to.
wherever you are
While most manufacturers reserve
unique features for their top o` the line
model, JVC has incluced SEA in three
cf its receivers. The S300, the S400, and.
of course. the top professional -the S600
Wien you hear these receivers a'
your JVC dealer (call toll -free 800 -2217502 for his name), think of them as
two components in one In tact, it's like
having all the benefits of a graphic
equalizer .. without buying one
JVC America, Inc., 58-75 Queens
Midtown Expressway, Maspeth, N.Y.
11378 (212) 476 -8300
whose names you have probably seen
listed on the credits of major pop
albums. Their techniques are their own
and might very well differ from another's. Thus, an answer in "Talkback" is
certainly not necessarily the last word.
We welcome all questions on the subject of recording, although the large
volume of questions received precludes our being able to answer them
all. If you feel that we are skirting any
issues, fire a letter off to the editor
right away. "Talk back" is the Modern
Recording reader's technical forum.
demagnetizer will usually be quite effective. Ideally, the tip of the demagnetizer
should be brought into direct contact
with the parts to be demagnetized. (If
the tip is bare metal, it should be covered with a thin layer of tape to avoid
scratching the heads). The demagnetizer should be switched on and off at a
distance of two to three feet from the
These precautions should eliminate any
possibility of residual magnetization
inducing noise onto previously recorded
tapes, or degrading new recordings.
-Bill Burns, Manager
Technical Services
Revox Corporation
Syosset, N.Y.
Demagnetizer Info
I have a cheap -o head demagnetizer (the
$4 kind). A. Are these units usually
somewhat effective? B. How much distance should there be between a demagnetizer and the tape heads when releasing the demagnetizer button?
Parametric EQ's
What is a parametric equalizer? How
does it work? For the past four or five
years I've read nothing about EQ's
except about graphic and octave.
-Bruce Jenkins
Olmsted Falls, Ohio
"Talkback" questions are answered
by professional engineers, many of
-Stephen Kayser
Stamford, Ct.
Most modern tape recorders are designed to be largely self- demagnetizing, at
least as far as the erase and record heads
are concerned.
A small amount of residual magnetization may eventually accumulate in the
playback head and any other parts in
the tape path made from magnetic material. This background magnetization
may take many months to build up, and
periodic use of a demagnetizer will
minimize this accumulation. Particular
care should be taken to demagnetize
the tape path if the recorder is transported, since the varying fields encountered in transport can lead to high levels
of magnetization.
Since the possible levels of magnetization are quite small, even the simplest
Several years ago an organization called
International Telecommunications Incorporated began to market an equalizer
for professional use and they called it a
"parametric equalizer." I think it was
around the same time that Dan Flickenger began to offer "parametric equalizers" as modifications to his consoles.
Well, Flickenger is no longer making
consoles and ITI is no longer making
equalizers, but parametric equalizers
are still with us.
The name "parametric" stems originally from the application to audio of
a type of reactance amplifier which was,
I think, originally developed for hi-sensitivity microwave applications. Whatever
its origins, the name has come merely to
mean that the individual parameters of
the equalization function are induvidually and independently controlled. The
parameters are of course: Frequency,
the center of a boost or dip curve, or
the roll -off point for a filter; amplitude,
the amount of boost or cut desired at
that frequency; bandwidth or Q, the
shape of the curve, the number or fraction of octaves over which the boost or
cut extends while having its center at
the selected frequency.
A conventional equalizer doesn't allow
for the change of any one of these
parameters while keeping the others
constant. As a matter of fact, parametric equalizers utilize only pots for the
adjustment of all their parameters. Then
the mark of a parametric equalizer is a
continuously variable frequency setting,
a continually variable boost or cut and
the possibility exists of continuously
variable Q or bandwidth.
The most common construction for
this type of equalizer is to have three or
four sections each offering the features
listed above connected in series with the
ranges of the three or four frequency
controls overlapping considerably. Some
of the models currently available limit
the choice of bandwidth to two switch selected settings or preset it for the various sections of the equalizer.
There are now some parametric equalizers configured to provide octave type
control of signals. They don't offer Q.
control or variable frequency but they
do allow for a somewhat safer method
of tuning a signal than conventional
closely set filter centers. Conventional
equalizers tend to interact with each
other; a problem than can be controlled
with parametric sections.
I suspect that the new graphic like the
Crown EQ -2 and the Technics SH 9090
are built around parametric equalizer
sections because of the range of control
of frequency they provide. In any case
don't confuse format with circuit function. It is possible to utilize conventional or parametric technology to realize
graphics either on octave , half octave or
third octave frequency centers. You can
also use the same equalizers with the
controls arranged in rows so that no
graphic display of the setting is seen
when they are in use.
In use, parametrics are spoilers. Once
you get used to being able to fully tune
your EQ it's very hard to live with
someone else's fixed, predetermined frequency points. It's also possible to set
the Q high and "pan" through the frequencies resulting in an effect that
soundssomethinglike phasing or flanging.
-Ed Rehm
The Nordine Group
Chicago, Ill.
Ribbon Mics
have a question pertaining to a velocity type (ribbon) microphone.
I would like to know if there is any
long-range harm caused by using ordinary screws, which are magnetic (made of
ferrous material), to fasten the plates
which hold the ribbon (in a velocity
type micrphone).
The original screws (two for upper
plate and two for lower plate) were nonmagnetic but I had to replace one of
them and I used an ordinary screw (with
magnetic properties). The microphone
appears to function normally, but I can't
help wondering if this could distort the
magnetic field and alter the specifications of the microphone, or possibly
weaken the magnet over a long period of
time. There must be some reason why
non -magnetic screws were used originally.
-Robert Graf
Paterson, N.J.
Note: The following answers were made
independently of each other to further
answer the above question.
We can see no harm in using
screws to fasten the plates holding the
ribbon. They should not effect the magnetic field in the ribbon gap, or cause
long range difficulties. Because of the
magnetic attraction, the only difficulty
may be in trying to get the screws started.
-Kenneth R. Reichel
Sales Engineering Manager
Shure Brothers Inc.
Evanston, IL.
In ribbon microphone design the con-
struction of the transducer assembly is
most critical since an absolutely linear
magnetic field is required. Brass blocks
are therefore used to support the ribbon to provide an uninterrupted magnetic path betweeen the north and
MAY 1977
Are you sure what the
crossover point for
your next installation
should be?
If not...
you might think
about including a
Crown VFX -2
in your tool kit.
This unique, dual -channel unit
has continuously variable filters. With
it you can "fine- tune" the crossover
point in any sound reinforcement system.
As a temporary test rig, the VFX-2 installs quickly. You can diagnose crossover
problems in existing systems, no matter how
old or new, and prescribe a solution.
For permanent installation, you'll find
that the VFX -2 costs less than many fixed
filters, and provides other advantages. For
one, a 15dB gain that eliminates the need
for input transformers. An 18dB per octave
rolloff that's sharp by any standard. Crossover points can easily be changed to suit
different performances. The VFX -2 also
works as a bandpass filter, or for tri- amping
a mono system.
Hum and noise 113dB below rated output (IHF), IM distortion less than 0.01%, 19
inch rack mount.
Try a VFX -2 on your next installation.
Be sure.
When listening
becomes an art,
Box 1000, Elkhart IN 46514
Playing a synthesizer can be
the best musical experience of
your life.
It is when you play an ARP
Playing the Odyssey lets you
turn the music you feel into the
music you hear. A patented two voice keyboard and easy -to -read
control panel give you power
over every aspect of sound. Any
time you want to change from
one sound to another, you can do
it instantly, at the touch of a slider
or flip of a switch. It's the perfect
tool for creative musical
We call it "human engineering:' And we back up this successful design with a detailed
owner's manual, a 213 -page
textbook, even a patchbook
with 75 great Odyssey sounds
inspired by musicians like Hancock,
Corea, Duke, Winter,
Wonder and other fine
artists who have
helped make ARP
synthesizers the most
popular synthesizers
in the world.
©Copyright 1977
ARP Instruments, Inc.
After four years, thousands of
concerts and millions of miles,
the ARP Odyssey has the best
performance record of any ARP
we make. What's more, it's
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south poles of the microphone's magnet.
If the blocks were made from magnetic material, the lines of magnetic force
would pass through the blocks rather
than through the air gap. Similarly,
screws made of ferrous material will
create an interference path and distort
the magnetic field.
Furthermore, there is a possibility of
an electrochemical reaction between the
dissimilar materials of the brass block
and ferrous screw with the possibility of
While the effects of using ferrous
screws may be relatively small, we do
feel that the extremely linear performance made possible by Beyer's special
ribbon design should not be compromised in any way.
-Bill Burns
Revox Corporation
Care of: Beyer
West Germany
Four Channels Into Two
First off, let me tell you that your magazine is the finest, most interesting periodical I've ever read!
I have been playing the four channels
on my TEAC 3340 with the use of "Y"
cords between channels 1 and 3, and 2
and 4. I have been told that I might be
causing some damage to the machine. Is
this possible? Also, I notice that on the
2340 machine TEAC has thoughtfully
included a switch to put all 4 channels
into a normal 2 channel stereo output
for the headphones. This is great but
how can I do this on my deck? (I have
made my own adapter but am afraid
that running two channels simultaneously may cause some trouble).
Thank you and please keep up the
good work. Great to see MR is monthly!
-Richard Pearce
Lafayette, N.J.
When you say you are playing the 4
channels of your 3340S by using a "Y"
cord, I assume that you are using the
"Y" cord to connect the "phone" outs
on the front of the machine.
"Y" cords are actually designed to
split signals apart not to combine signals together. The effect of combining
signals with only a wire is that the impedance of the circuit changes (the impedance can be defined as the resistance in
an A.C. circuit).
Look at it this way: Some of the electrons flowing down the wire on the left
(electricity) will try to go back upstream
on the wire on the right and vice versa.
It sounds worse than it is. You won't
actually hurt your machine but there is
a consideration. Sitting in the circuit
near the "phone" outs in the A3340S
is the meter amplifier. By changing the
characteristics of that circuit (changing
the impedance) you can cause your
meters to read inaccurately. The extent
of this effect would depend a lot on the
type of headphones you are using.
Check this by recording and playing
something, checking the meters and plugging and unplugging your "Y" cord. If
you aren't experiencing a radical change
(like .. 11/2 dB) you're probably okay.
If you are getting a bigger meter change
than you want to work with, then get
yourself a TEAC AX-20 (a low cost passive 4 x 2 signal combining network)
and 4 RCA (pin jack) male/male into
female "Y" cords. Use these to split the
outputs on the back of the recorder
feed; 1 set to the AX20, the left and
right outputs of the AX20 to your receiver and monitor with headphones at
the receiver.
-Theo Mayer
Manager, Training Dept.
TEAC Corporation of America
Montebello, Ca.
you buy
Converting Mic Lines
Can "unbalanced" mic lines be converted
to "balanced" lines and if so, how?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of running balanced and unbalanced mics?
-Howard Liggett
Studio City, Ca.
An unbalanced line uses one conductor
surrounded by a shield which is grounded
and acts as the second conductor, while
a balanced line uses two conductors
neither of which is grounded but is
surrounded by a shield which is grounded. Balanced lines have the advantage
that noise not screened out by the
shield will be cancelled out at the input
of the following stage, producing lower
overall noise in the system than would
be obtained with unbalanced lines. The
noise cancellation is achieved by connecting the output side of the line to
either a transformer or a differential
input amplifier.
A microphone signal applied to the input of the balanced line produces a
current flow towards the output end in
one conductor and equal in amplitude
but away from the output end in the
other. Noise signals, however, induce
equal amplitude currents in the same
direction in both conductors. If the outputs of the two conductors are con-
Julian S. Martin
HI -FI STEREO BUYERS' GUIDE, March -April, 1976
"Superb from every viewpoint. An outstanding achievement in headphone
design. One of the most comfortable."
The Len Feldman Lab Report
"Response of these phones extends uniformly from 20 Hz to over 22,000 Hz
with no more than ±2dB variation over this entire range...this is nothing
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New Equipment Reports
HIGH FIDELITY, January, 1976
"The sound quality the AT-706 presents [to youl is exceptional: very
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If you asked the critics they'd tell you to listen critically to a variety of
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Make original recordings with no
audible tape hiss or background noise.
The secret is the dbx 157 tape noise
reduction system connected to any reelto -reel recorder.
The dbx 157 is a two-channel
simultaneous system that permits you to
monitor off tape
while recording.
It's fully tompatible with all
dbx professional
studio models as
well as dbx tape noise elimination
systems available in TEAC -Tascam
recorders, and sells for $600.00.
Other switchable (record or play)
tape noise reduction systems in this
series are the 152 (two- channel) and the
154 (four -channel).
For complete product information.
visit your professional audio dealer or
write: dbx, Incorporated, 296
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pe noise
Massachusetts 02154,
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on Bose.
When he's talking
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Billy Cobham,
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netted to the opposite ends of the primary winding of a transformer, the
noise currents oppose each other as they
try to flow either into or out of both
ends of the winding at the same time.
The noise currents are equal in amplitude in both conductors due to the conductors being twisted closely together
within the cable, thus there will be no
current flow in the primary and no output from the secondary. The microphone signal flows into one end of the
primary and out the other, producing a
signal output at the secondary of the
transformer. Since the shield also carries
noise currents, it is important that it is
kept electrically separate from the two
conductors at the primary of the transformer, for connecting it to either of the
conductors would upset the equality of
noise currents preventing complete noise
cancellation. The secondary of the transformer is made to feed an unbalanced
line by connecting one end of the winding to the conductor and the other end to
ground. The shields of both the balanced
and unbalanced lines are grounded.
A differential input, single -ended output amplifier can be used to achieve
noise cancellation in the same way as a
transformer. This type of amplifier has
two inputs neither of which is grounded,
and produces an output only in response to a difference in the signals fed
to its inputs. Since the noise signal is the
same in both conductors, the amplifier
will not respond to it. The microphone
signal is different at each input, for the
current tries to flow into one and out of
the other, and so it is amplified. The
conductor of the unbalanced line is
connected to the single output
terminal of the amplifier, while the
shield is connected to ground.
In addition to the cancellation of
noise picked up by the conductors, balanced lines have the further advantage
that they minimize ground loop problems. These occur when the ground connection at one piece of equipment is at
a different electrical potential than the
ground at another piece of equipment.
Connecting the two grounds together
with the shield of a cable will cause a
current to flow in the shield, inducing
noise into the equipment at the cable
output. This noise can appear as hum or
even supersonic oscillations. Since balanced lines do not use the shield to
carry the signal, it is only necessary to
connect the shield to ground at one end,
usually at the input of the following
piece of equipment. This is called a "telescoping shield." Since the shield is used
as the second conductor in an unbalanMODERN RECORDING
Home Cookin'!
See that guy at the board? Once upon a time he was
an engineer at the busiest studio in town. The place had
everything big money could buy. A-7d it cranked out
super -slick albums at an absolutely psychopathic rate.
But because its hourly rate matched its image, it wasn't
only the busiest studio in town, it was also the most expensive. Which was alright if you had a fortune to
spend- which the band you see here didn't.
After years of being a staff engineer he decided he'd
been sitting behind somebody else's board long
enough, thanks. So with the money he'd saved, he invested in a complete TASCAM Series recording studio
by Teac- 80 -8* eight Track, 25 -2* two track, mixing con-
soles -the works!
Two days later, he was making tracks like they'd never
been made before- in his .home! And at a fraction of the
price charged by his former employer.
Well, the band cut a demo at his new studio and with it
they got a record deal. And with the front money, they invested in their own Teac mini -studio. So with the band
members taking turns at the board, they laid down the
tracks for their album. And to make sure they got the
most out of the tracks they made, they asked the old pro
to do the final mix.
Could this dory have happened without Teac recording equipment? Not on your (life. But it's the sort of thing
that's bound to happen whenever a second generation
engineer anc a second generation band team up with
a new generation of recording instruments.
A new generation of recording instruments
for a new generation of recording artists.
Nationally advertised value. Model 83 -8 -ape recorder shown above, less than 53,000. Model 25 -2 tape recorder also _pawn, less ttan 31900 (Rolling Consoles not included). Actual retail
prices to be determined individually at the so e discretion of authorized Teac Tascam serles dealers Prices subject to dealer preparation charges where applicable.
TEAC Corporation of America, 7735 Telegraph Rd., Montebello, CA 90640 --TEAC 1W7
Check Audiotechniques First
The all -time studio monitoring favorite is
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the cassette is a
component of your
sound system, not an
accessory. Because a cassette, unlike its open -reel counterpart, actually becomes an integral part of your system the instant
you put it in your cassette deck.
This philosophy was one of the underlying
principles behind the development of TDK SA cassettes. TDK SA was the first non-chrome tape compatible with
chrome bias and equalization. It gives you better high-end performance than ferric -oxide-based tape, and unlike chrome tapes, it gives
you greater dynamic range at low and midrange frequencies, with far
less distortion.
But our engineers put as much emphasis on the design and construction of the SA cassette housing as they did on the SA tape inside.
Our cassette shell and tape carriage system are made to the same
high standards as the tape they carry. So you get the kind of jam proof, friction -free reliability you want in every cassette we make.
TDK SA cassettes offer both
superior tape and precision
mechanics. That's why quality tape
deck manufacturers either use SA as
their reference cassettes, or recommend it for their machines' And why
you'll get the best from your system
by using our machine in your
'Questions about specific decks will be answered upon request.
TDK Electronics Corp 755 Eastgate Blvd Garden City. N Y 11530 In Canada Superior Electronics Industries. Ltd
ced line, it must be connected at both
ends, encouraging ground loops.
Unbalanced lines do have a cost advantage. Basic electronic devices are inherently unbalanced and transformers or
differential stages must be added to the
input and output of each circuit to
make them compatible with balanced
lines. This increases the equipment cost.
While the question did not mention
impedance, it is important to note that
unbalanced mic inputs are usually high
impedance, while balanced output microphones are usually low impedance. By
choosing the proper primary and secondary impedances, the transformer can
optimize the impedance seen by the input stage of the mic preamp for lowest
noise operation without loading down
the mic output, while providing a voltage gain in the area of 20 dB. This
means that the preamp requires 20 dB
less gain, and noise generated by the
preamp input stage and fed to the following stages will be 20 dB less. Differential input amplifiers can also be designed for optimum input impedance
with low impedance microphones, and
they have an advantage over transformers
in the areas of extended frequency and
transient response. However, preamps
with differential inputs require 20 dB
more gain than ones with transformer
coupled inputs, so they are usually
noisier. Differential amplifiers also require a power supply in order to function making them more difficult to add
to an existing system than transformers.
The Shure A95 series of plug -in line
matching transformers is a convenient
means of producing balanced mic inputs in an existing unbalanced system as
they have an XLR connector at the balanced low impedance side and either
a phone or an Amphenol connector at
the unbalanced high impedance side.
-Robert E. Runstein
Author, Modern Recording Techniques
Limit Before Or After
When using Kepex and a limiter, is it
better to limit the signal before or after
-George Klein
New York, N.Y.
First let us think about it. Before we
can use a piece or pieces of equipment
properly, we have to know why we are
using it. If the answer to that is "because it's there," then don't use it! If
you want to use the combination for
an effect, you may want to put the
Kepex in front of the limiter. This will
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In Cariadc:
Your $5,000.00 monitor
system just went down
because of a 19V fuse in
your power amp.
tend to drive the limiter up the wall,
very subtly of course. If the limiter is a
Gain Brain, which is rather speedy as
compared to most "mortal" limiters,
there would be more of that effect
with a slower limiter.
Now that we have the special effects
department out of the way, let us get
serious. More than likely you are using
the gate to mute a channel so that the
undesirable spill is keyed off during
quiet spots. If this is so, we would want
the gate after the limiter, assuming that
the noise we want to gate is somewhat
below the signal level. There are two
benefits here: first, all noise is gated
including whatever sounds the limiter
makes by itself and second, if the noise
to be gated is loud enough to exceed
the threshold of limiting, the limiter has
a head -start when the desired signal
comes back (not that the Allison needs
it). A word of caution though. If the
noise is really up there and drives the
limiter much above the threshold, it
may not key the noise gate, as the
output differential may be too small for
the gate to sense. That is, the level may
remain too high with limiting to fall
below the gate's threshold. But if your
spill is that bad, you might be better off
not using the gate since the change in
room sound will become noticeable
when the spill is keyed off. Keep an ear
open for that problem when using any
noise gate for that purpose.
-Dave Moyssiadis
Frankford /Wayne Recording Labs
Philadelphia, Pa.
Too Much
I have an Akai GX -365 stereo reel re-
corder. Whenever I record from either
the radio or a record, there is an enormous amount of bass content. I turn the
treble up and the bass down on the
receiver, both when I record and play
the program, have cleaned and demagnetized the heads and guides, but still
way too much bass. What can I do?
-Don Meade
Canton, Ohio
The analysis of an electonics problem
given only a description is a rather difficult if not impossible task.
Your problem may be one of only a
bias adjustment for your particular
brand of tape.
However, your problem may also lie in
a defectively worn record and /or playback head. If such is the case, you can
have the GX head replaced at an authorized Akai Warranty Service Clinic. You
are responsible for only the labor cost.
Whatever the case, I suggest that you
have your Akai GX -365 inspected by
your local Akai Service Clinic which is:
Audio Warehouse, 719 E. Market,
Akron, Ohio 44309, telephone (216)
376 -6050.
-Linda Penny
Marketing Services
Akai America, Ltd.
Compton, Ca.
Quality or Safety?
My recording problem will seem rather
primitive to you. I have been accustomed
to recording music directly from a
guitar amplifier by connecting the
external speaker jack in the amplifier
to the line input jack of my tape deck
since I have no line output jack. The
results were always satisfactory for me,
however, I have been told that this process can be damaging to either or both
the amplifier or the tape deck due to
vast differences in both impedance and
voltage. This is logical to me, yet I have
never seen any adverse conditions arise
due to this procedure. I would like to
continue to record in this manner beMODERN RECORDING
cause external noise is eliminated as
opposed to mic recording and results
in a cleaner sound.
Is there a way to make such a procedure safe for the equipment? Is it all
right to continue with this practice?
I realize on the new tape decks that
there is a warning against doing this but
I have been doing this for years, even on
inexpensive tape recorders which actually
suggested taping the speakers of a source
(such as an amplifier) and recording
with the line input.
reasons you mention (lower noise and
distcrtion) and because it eliminates
the leakage of other instruments onto
the track. The technique is usually used
for basa guitar and keyboards, and the
signal is picked off between the instrument and the amplifier to eliminate
undesirable distortion or coloration
from the amp and speaker. For guitar,
most engineers prefer to mic the speakers
because amplifier and speaker coloration is considered desirable. "Direct
boxes" are available commercially, and
allow s7litting the signal between instrumen, and amp without degrading the
signal, but these are not suitable for con nectLon to the output of the amplifier.
There are three technical problems
you face in connecting your amp and
recorder directly. (1) There may be DC
present at the output of the amp which
can potentially cause distortion or even
damage to your recorder; however, this
problem is unlikely to occur. (2) You
may create a ground loop and cause a
buzz or hum; this problem is very annoying but seldom causes any damage to
the equipment. (3) The signal voltage
mailable at the speaker output of the
amplifier (some 22 volts for a 120 -watt
amplifier with 4 -ohm speakers, for
Is a combination transformer /imped-
ance matcher that can take the 8 ohms
from the external speaker jack on the
guitar amplifier and change them to
50,000 ohms as well as lower the voltage to a constant 0.1 volts the answer?
I would like tc keep recording in the
line input jack and also be able to line/
mic mix onto one track.
Please help me with this very difficult
problem!! Should I sacrifice rua_ity for
safety or can I achieve both ??
-Henry Alletcha
Hartford, Ct.
Direct injection of an electric instrument's signal into a recording system
is a common studio technique for the
/d750 :,
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examples is dangerously high to connect
directly to a recorder; this is a serious
problem since these voltages can easily
burn out the transistors in the input
stages of the recorder if the input level
control were accidentally turned up too
Fortunately. a very simple device can
be made to solve all three problems.
In theory, a transformer to step the signal voltage down by an appropriate
ratio at the appropriate impedances is
all that's necessary, but the values
required for this application are impractical. A better solution is to use a common one -to -one line transformer for isolation and a resistive pad to reduce the
voltage. A side benefit of this type of
design is that the transformer doesn't
need to handle as high a signal level,
which reduces the cos: of the transformer. If you use a 600 ohm /600 ohm
transformer, the pad can be as simple as
a single resistor in series between the
"hot" side of the input connector and
the transformer's primary winding; a
12,000 ohm resistor will handle anything up to about a 120 -watt amplifier,
but a smaller value, say 5,000 ohms,
may be necessary to get enough signal
from a smaller amp. A device such as
At Last,
an Equalizer that
Comes Clean...
Up until now, whether you
tried to equalize your control
room or contour your sound
system for a concert hall, the
end result was an increase in
That was yesterday.
Klark -Teknik equalizers are
built for today, for tomorrow.
If your livelihood depends
on good clean sound, depend
this will "bridge" the extra speaker output with 5600 to 12,600 ohms (impedance matching is only necessary and
desirable if you are trying to transfer a
significant amount of the amp's output
power) and provide a 600 ohm output
at about 1 volt RMS maximum to drive
any line level input.
If you are building one of these boxes
and want to use connectors such as
1/4 -inch phone jacks which connect one
side of the jack to the chassis, be sure to
insulate the input jack from the chassis
of your box with a pair of fiber shoulder washers or else you can still create
a ground loop and cause large amounts
of hum. If you do insulate the jack,
remember that you will have to run two
wires between the jack and the transformer since the chassis is no longer
the common.
-Fred Ridder
Record Plant Rec. Studios
N.Y.C., N.Y.
on us.
After all, if you're using
yesterday's equipment, will
you be ready for tomorrow?
Write to Hammond
Industries Inc., 155 Michael
Drive, Syosset, New York
11791 or call (516) 364 -1900.
DN27: 1/3 octave mono, with bypass switch & gain control.
DN22: 11 band, stereo, with high & low pass filters, separate
gain controls & bypass switches.
Rundgren's Ra
was listening to an album by Todd
Rundgren and Utopia called Ra. On the
first side there is a song which, when
listened to with headphones, has some
parts in it which have perfect ambience
and spatial quality. It sounds just like
you were there. Were these parts recorded using binaural techniques or what?
Also, could you explain about the advantages and disadvantages of binaural
-Gary Vogel
Oakdale, Mn.
On the Ra album during the song
"Magic Dragon Theatre," there is an
interlude where the music stops and
there is some humorous dialogue. During this interlude, we do use a Sennheis-
INPUT IMPEDANCE: Unbalanced, 10K ohms nominal. OUTPUT IMPEDANCE:
Unbalanced, less than 10 ohms,, short circuit protected. OPERATING LEVEL:
POINT: +22 dBm into 600 ohms load. DISTORTION: Less than 0.01 % ... 1kHz
at +4 dBm into a 600 ohms load; less than 0.05% ... 20Hz to 20kHz at +18 dBm
into a 600 ohm load. EQUIVALENT INPUT NOISE: Less than -90 dBm unweighted,
20Hz to 20kHz.
The Sound of Today.
er artificial head which is a binaural
recording device. In actuality, it is a
dummy head with two mics placed in
the position of your ears such that the
effect is recording in binaural stereo.
This is the only instance on the Ra
album using a binaural technique. However, we are using digital delay, flanging,
reverberation and a combination of
techniques to produce more ambient
Binaural recording from my experience is a very technical problem to
apply to multi -track situations. It is a
special technique used for sound effects
or pieces to imply an ambient sound, but
it is not a general recording technique.
Because the recording mics are posiMODERN RECORDING
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Available at fine music stores throughout the U.S.
Exclusive Canadian distributor:
GHI Music Sales, 5000 Buchan St., Suite 506
Montreal, Quebec H4P1T2
All DiMarzio equipment is manufactured in the U.S.
tioned where human ears are, the sound
has to come directly to the ears. In
other words, binaural recording should
be played back in a reciprocal manner.
To listen to a binaural recording with
speakers, one not only has the ambience
of the binaural recording but one must
contend with the additional ambience
of the room it is being played in. Therefore, to achieve optimum listening pleasure, binaural recordings need to be
listened to on headphones.
-Roger Powell
Keyboard and Synthesizer
for Utopia
You can find more information on Binaural Recording in the Feb /Mar 1977
issue of MR in the Ambient Sound
Centering, Anyone?
In the Oct /Nov issue, there was a question in the Talkback section that received an answer that confuses me. The
question referred to mic placement and
signal feeding (p. 16). In part of the
answer a phrase was used "the notorious
3 dB center build up."
When I'm miking down a band for the
P.A. (usually at a club) I always put
everyone at center. Usually, stereo separation isn't needed. Could you explain
if there is a problem by "centering
everyone ?"
-Robert DeMoss
Fayville, Ma.
There is no problem centering everyone.
Assuming you are using the mono output of the console to feed the amplifiers.
You could pan each input completely
left or right and not worry.
Don't be frightened by "The notorious
3 dB center build up." This situation
occurs because of pan pot design and is
not a serious problem. Pan pots (which
is short for Panoramic Potentiometer)
are actually two or three ganged level
outputs that balance level between two
output levels (or left and right channels
in stereo monitoring). When you "pan"
a signal source to the center, equal
amounts of signal are sent to both
channels and the image appears between
the monitors. When you "pan" left,
there is no output in the right channel,
and when you "pan" right, there is
no output in the left channel.
Due to the design of pan pots, the
output in the center position is 3 dB less
than the output in either left or right
positions. This 3 dB loss is usually compensated by boosting the level with the
fader. Incidentally, a 3 dB change is just
about the smallest change that can be
perceived by the human ear.
Now, assume that you are doing a
stereo mix, and you have everything the
way you want it. You then switch to
mono output monitoring to check for
phasing and lo and behold, everything
panned to the center becomes louder
with respect to signals panned left and
right. This is center build -up.
As I said, it is not a serious problem.
Most producers do not compensate for
this build -up unless they get a really bad
mono mix by combining the left and
right tracks of the stereo mix.
If you want a good source of information on audio problems, you might pick
up a copy of "Audio Encyclopedia" by
Howard M. Tremaine, published by
Howard W. Sams Company. Good luck.
-Chip Allen
LeFevre Studios
Atlanta, Ga.
true narrow -band (.05 oct.) through broadband (3.3 oct.) equalization
50:1 frequency range, each band
± 15 dB eq. range, precise center "flat"
separate IN -OUT switch for each band
ultra clean & quiet ( -87 dBV noise,
internal power supply
At Ashly, we're definitely into Parametric
Eq. We've used it extensively in our big SE
series consoles for years. The SC -66 represents the culmination of these years of
design, listening, and field testing. You can
now have infinite control of all equalization
characteristics at your fingertips with
accuracy and resolution previously considered impossible. Check out an SC -66
at your pro -audio dealer.
Dealer inquiries invited
1099 JAY ST.
(716) 328-9560
Introducing the Acoustic 806 and 807, two new speaker designs for
maximum performance at a very modest price. Both are three way systems
that cover the audio range with incredible efficiency. And efficiency means
more dollars in your ,docket since they don't require a monster amplifier
to get the sound out. Visit your nearest Acoustic dealer, and compare the 806
and 807 to whatever you thought was the best. You'll be pleasantly
surprised. Now check the price tags. When we said "Under $500.' we meant
"WAY UNDER $500" From Acoustic... the surprising company.
professional sound reinforcement
high fidelity components
7949 Woodley Avenue. Van Nuys. Ca 94106
Ten different speaker systems -all using some form
of the Heil air -motion transformer as the upper -end
sound- generating element -have been announced
by ESS Inc. Systems span the price range from
$566 down to $149 and include floor -standing as
well as bookshelf models. Top of the line is the Heil
AMT Monitor with a rated power capacity of 375
watts (clean music power), an input sensitivity of
one watt to produce an output of 87 dB /SPL at a
distance of one meter and rated response of 30 to
23,000 Hz within ±3 dB. The "Performance" series
Model 8, at the other end of the line, can handle up
to 100 watts; can produce from a 1 -watt input an
output of 94 dB /SPL at a distance of three feet, and
rated response is 50 Hz to 30 kHz within ±3 dB.
Internal circuit changes characterize the new
Crown VFX -2A electronic crossover which replaces
this firm's model VFX -2. Instead of the ten dual
op -amps used previously, the new version contains
six quad op -amps. As a result, says Crown, a better
slew rate is achieved for
improved handling of transients. One of the quad op -amps serves as an isola-
tion amplifier to eliminate variable input impedance
of the device, which removes the possibility of any
impedance mismatch problems. The new op -amps
also provide greater range on the level control.
The front panel now sports an amber power light,
and rear panel changes provide for more
sophisticated audio system interfacing. Two new
output connectors have been added, each of which
mixes two channels for separate mono bass and
mono full -range outputs. For sound playback, these
outputs permit easily adding center -fill speakers.
For professional sound reinforcement, these outputs mean more convenience in single -channel applications, and provide for mixing of two different
sound sources for a single transducer.
The VFX -2A's continuously variable filters can
perform either crossover or band -pass functions.
Rolloff is at a fixed 18 dB /octave rate. Setting both
low and high pass filters in one channel to a common frequency provides a two-way crossover at
that frequency. Cascading both channels together
provides a combined band -pass filter and two-way
crossover, or a three-way crossover. Specs include
300 ohms output impedance, with over 6 volts max
imum output into 600 ohms. IM is rated at less
than 0.01% at rated output; noise is down by more
than 100 dB. Price of the VFX-2A remains the same
as the former model, $329.
Scheduled for delivery this Spring, according to a
company spokesman, is Teac's model AL -700
Elcaset recorder, a three-head, three-motor unit
utilizing a diecast transport with closed-loop,
double -capstan system. Weighted wow and flutter
are said to be 0.05 %, and many of the unit's functions are automated. For instance, the electronics
automatically match tape characteristics thus
eliminating the need for bias and EQ switches. The
AL- 700 -which will retail for "less than $1,000"
has Dolby noise reduction and also is equipped to
accept an optional dbx unit and a remote control
unit. A "rec mute" button kills any incoming signal
at the end of a recording, thus easing the insertion
of blank spaces between musical selections. A timer
function automatically starts the transport in play
or record mode as set by an external clock timer.
The new deck weighs 45 pounds.
JVC has introduced a unique product
headphone /microphone designed specifically for
binaural recording and monitoring. Also useful as
regular stereo headphones, the JVC device has the
usual two earpieces plus an electret- condenser
microphone in each earpiece. The mics are powered
by size AA cells, also contained in the earpieces.
Their physical spacing makes for true binaural
sound pickup from "live" sources, and the operator
can monitor the results while wearing the headset.
Alternately, the headset can be placed on a dummy
head, supplied with the unit, where it will still function as a binaural mic, with
monitoring options up
to the recordist.
A new name on the U.S. audio scene is the Japanese
brand Bohsei, whose products are aimed at topquality- minded sound fans. Leading the line is a
tape deck and two phono tone -arms.,, The deck,
h as three motors, fullmodel IT -1000, íI asfaour
logic solenoid- actuated tape motion, 10 -inch reel
capacity, mic and line inputs, large VU meters and
more. Also included is auto -reverse in playback.
Known as the model HM-200E, the new JVC product features 8 -ohm dynamic headphones with a
sensitivity of 96 dB. The mics are rated for 67 dB
±2 dB sensitivity, with an output impedance of 600
ohms. Overall frequency response of the system is
50 Hz to 10 kHz. Weight is 1.32 pounds. Cord
length is about six feet. Phone plugs are provided
for mic and headphone connections. A control
handles headphone level for high, low and off and a
tone selector for the mic provides for flat, low -cut,
or off. Price is about $80.
The IT -1000 is a two -speed model (71/2 and 33/4 ips)
with claimed frequency response at the faster speed
of 30 Hz to 20 kHz within ±3 dB. Wow and flutter
are listed as 0.06% or less; signal-to -noise ratio is
spec'd as better than 55 dB.
From the firm known as Opamp Labs, Inc., comes
word of a new d.c. operational amplifier for audio
console and industrial applications. Known as the
model 425, it features a pair of matched low -noise
input transistors coupled to an Opamp model 4009
with a class AB power output stage. THD is rated
at less than 0.05% at a gain of 100. The amplifier
may be used at any supply voltage from ±6 V to
±25 V. Opamp Labs also has various devices which
are described in company literature, including three
mic preamps, other d.c. opamps, several power supplies, and audio and bias oscillators.
From Sound Workshop there's news of the model
840 console whose eight inputs and four outputs
can serve mixing needs for recording or P.A. applications. The four output buses are selectable as
two stereo buses, with panning, for added versatility in P.A. and production work. All eight inputs can
accommodate line or mic -level sources, and provide
for a direct output too. Each input channel has
two -band EQ, wide -range trim control, monitor and
echo sends, pan pot, output bus select, rotary channel level control, and stereo bus mute switch.
Master level controls are provided for echo send,
monitor send, the four bus outputs, and the four
echo returns. Fairly compact, the model 840,
designed for four -track or two -track recording as
well as to serve as the control center of a P.A.
system, sells for $800.
To meet what the manufacturer calls "the requirements of the broadest possible range of audio
applications," Marantz has announced an all -new
line of eight stereo receivers. Top model is the
Marantz 2385, rated for 185 watts per channel,
minimum RMS power into 8 ohms from 20 Hz to 20
kHz with no more than 0.05% THD. In addition,
the 2385 contains what a spokesman claims is "the
finest tuner section in any Marantz receiver ever
The high -end units are equipped with a Besselderived 18 -dB -per- octave high filter, and a convenient tape -copy facility that allows dubbing from one
recorder to another while being able to listen to
another source such as phono or FM.
Deltek, Inc. has begun production on what it
describes as a super -performance parametric SQ
decoder designed by Peter Scheiber and claimed to
bring to SQ disc and broadcast reproduction a
higher level of separation, and lower distortion,
than any other quadraphonic disc system.
Designated the Deltek Model One and priced at
$2150, the new device -in addition to its SQ
decoding function -provides two functions for use
with conventional stereo sources. One is an "ambience recovery mode," and the other is a "synthesis function" said to expand the stereo stage into a 270 -degree panorama around the listening area.
In its normal decoding mode, the device is expected
to recover the "full 360- degree sonic environment"
from SQ -coded discs and broadcasts.
Frequency response of the Deltek Model One is
listed as 5 Hz to 50 kHz at the minus 3 dB points.
Total IM distoriton is less than 0.05 %, and clipping
level is stated as 20 dB above zero level. Nominal input signal requirement is 350 mV rms. Weighing 19
pounds, the device is suitable for rack mounting;
plain sides also are available.
A new line of chromium -dioxide (Cr0,) cassette
tapes in 60 and 90 minute lengths has been an-
nounced by Royal Sound Co., Inc. The chrome
coating is on a Mylar base and the tape, says Royal,
is highly calendered to minimize dropouts and to
maximize high- frequency response. The resulting
performance characteristics are claimed to be
"unusual, even for a chromium dioxide tape." The
precision shell is made of high impact plastic and is
screw -assembled. The CRC -60 size will retail for
under $3; the CDC -90, for under $4.50.
Royal Sound also offers a ULC series of cassettes
using "pure crystal gamma ferric oxide" for normal
bias settings; and a low- noise, extended -range series
of cassettes. The ULC series are priced similarly to
the CRC and CDC respectively. The low -noise
series, APC, are lower -priced. Royal Sound also offers 5 -inch and 7 -inch open -reel tapes and cartridge
A unique "component docking" design is featured
in a new line of Mitsubishi amplifiers. Described as
"dual-monaural," the units include: model DA -A10,
a 100 -watts per channel basic; model DA -A15, a
150 -watts per channel basic; and the model P10, a
preamp -control. Either power amp can be "docked"
with the preamp, or- instead -with the firm's
model M10 power -level meter. "Docking" consists
of securing the preamp or the meter to die -cast
handles on the amplifiers. Electrical interconnections are made via linking cables supplied. Signal
and AC connectors are at the sides; trailing wires
are routed in a channel below the amplifier heat sinks. According to the company, the "dual
monaural" construction eliminates crosstalk and
improves channel separation by as much as 30 dB
am not sure who actually did it first, but certainly
the most auspicious and influential of the modern
recordings ushered in by stereo was the all- stopspulled production of Wagner's ring cycle launched
at London Records by Producer John Culshaw over
15 years ago. Culshaw, probably more emphatically
than any other single producer, once and for all
broke with tradition by creating a "production" out
of a recording session rather than merely
"eavesdropping with a microphone" which was the
rather passive technique favored for years.
In doing so, Culshaw and London Records not only opened up new creative vistas for the recording
team but they also -perhaps not wholly aware of it
at the time -made the consumer /record buyer a
very important element in the whole recording /reproducing chain, from mic in the studio to speaker
in the home.
How? Well, the end result of the kind of creative
recording they ushered in was a program source
more fittingly tailored for playback on a home
music stereo system than anything done before.
They captured movement and ambience which
even on two channels -lends the playback a touch
of excitement and realism not otherwise enjoyed by
home stereo listeners. This was in direct contrast to
the dry, almost antiseptic sound that characterized
most recording up to that time, including the most
vaunted of monophonic efforts which were "clinically clean" but fairly unconvincing in subjective
In many ways, the lessons of those early stereo
breakthroughs have been well absorbed and even
improved on by today's generation of recordists,
both pro and semi-pro. But every now and then we
get an example of someone's overdoing a good
thing, of turning the knobs and injecting the juice
for its own sake, or to serve one's own ego.
The important thing to keep in mind, I believe, is
that the gadgetry and the devices exist to help you
make a recording that will sound right when played
back on good home stereo systems. For this reason,
it behooves the recordist to listen, more than
casually, to such systems and even to own one (or
two) himself or at least have access to them for
some serious auditioning. For it is what comes out
of such systems, and how it sounds, that will in the
long run be the benchmark of your efforts at the
console in the studio. In this sense it may be as important, if not more so, for recording people to attend to hi -fi reproduction as it has customarily been
for them to attend to "live" sound.
or more over conventional designs. Channel separation is given as -80 dB or better at 20 kHz. Other
design features include high -capacity separate
power supplies, a relay system for connecting
speaker terminals to eliminate degradation of the
associated with the contact
damping factor
resistance of speaker selector switches, and a
remote -control option for the preamp. Prices for the
power amps are $390 for the DA -A10, and $590 for
the DA -A15. Preamp and meter prices were not yet
announced at presstime.
rÚu1" I
un u
SOUND REINFORCEMENT... In professional sound reinforcement circles,
Malatchi Electronic Systems (3731 E.
Colfax, Denver, Colo. 80206) is becoming well known for their very versatile
(though rather large physically) mixing
consoles. With the introduction of their
lower-priced and reasonably -sized Performer series, Malatchi is aiming to capture a portion of the semi -professional
market as well. The Performer 6 ($699)
is a 6 -input mono mixer which can be
expanded to 12 -input or 18 -input capability by adding on one or two Expander 6 units ($549 each). Malatchi also
makes 12 and 18 -input units in single
mainframes rather than a two- or three -
ri IV/ M
per channel into 4 ohm loads with less
than .05% THD and less than .1% IM
distortion. Frequency response is claimed to be 20 Hz to 60 kHz +0, -1 dB. In
addition to the inputs and outputs on
the back panel, each channel has on the
front panel a level control knob, an
LED overload indicator and a line output jack to facilitate hooking up several
amplifier channels in parallel on one
unit interconnection as the Performer
12 ($1199) and Performer 18 ($1799).
Several different mixing consoles are
now available from Neptune Electronics
(934 NE 25th Avenue, Portland, Oregon
97232). Most basic is the model 610
($329) which is a six -input mono mixer.
Each input channel has connections for
unbalanced, low impedance mic input,
line level input and preamp output, and
controls for volume, bass and treble EQ,
and post -fader reverb /effects send. If
you want a pre -fader monitor send on
each input in addition to the other
features, the model 611 ($399) should
suit your needs. The model 820 ($549)
is an 8 -input stereo mixer which adds a
pre -fader monitor send and a stereo pan
pot to the basic features of the model
610. Also of interest from Neptune are
the Model 910 graphic equalizer ($149),
a nine -band octave equalizer with 12 dB
of boost or cut on each band, and the
model 909 real -time analyzer ($549)
which features a 9x9 LED display and
a built -in pink -noise generator.
Peavey Electronics Corp. (Meridian,
Miss. 39301) has introduced two new,
high -power amplifiers to compliment
their much talked -about super -amp, the
model CS -800. The Peavey CS -400 is a
stereo amplifier rated at 200 watts RMS
signal. Lighted pushbutton switches are
provided for AC power and thermal cutout reset. The reset is unlikely ever to
be used, however, as the amplifier is
forced -air cooled. The front panel is
steel-reinforced cast zinc, features integral handles and is designed for 19 -inch
rack mounting. Peavey's model CS -200
amplifier is basically identical except
that it is a single- channel unit rated at
200 watts RMS with the same distortion
specs. Also available from Peavey is the
Monitor 260 amp, a 130 watt RMS (4
ohm) amplifier with built -in 9 -band
graphic equalizer. The Monitor 260
comes in a vinyl- covered wooden case
rather than ready for rack mounting.
PICKUPS... Barcus -Berry has also introduced a most intriguing new pickup -a
contact pickup for electric guitars. The
Superducer ($69.50) transducer attaches
to the bridge of any electric guitar to
pick up the acoustical vibrations of the
guitar body and bridge. A special, battery- operated Superducer preamp /mixer
is provided which is designed to attach
to the guitar body with Barcus- Berry's
special adhesive, and which connects to
both the transducer and the guitar's
normal output jack. A single knob on
the preamp then controls the mix of
acoustic and electric signals from full
acoustic to straight electric or anywhere
in between.
Helpinstill Designs (5808 S. Rice Avenue, Houston, Tx. 77081) who make
the well -known and much respected
piano pickups, now makes a guitar pickup, the model 65 Acoustic Guitar Sensor ($79.50). The model 65 is a hybrid
design which picks up the acoustic
vibrations of the guitar body as well as
picking up the vibrations of the strings,
which is done electromagnetically as in
an electric guitar. The pickup attaches
to the guitar body under the strings near
the bridge with a non -damaging pressure sensitive adhesive strip. A passive con-
trol box with volume control and 1/4 -inch
phone jack output is provided with a
belt clip for convenient use of the
pickup system.
DiMarzio Musical Instrument Pickups
(643 Bay Street, Staten Island, N.Y.
10304) has announced two new additions to their line. One is a new high efficiency replacement pickup for Fender Stratocaster guitars which may be
mounted in any of the three pickup
positions. This new model is the first
pickup available for Strats which has
adjustable pole pieces. The other new
model from DiMarzio is a replacement
pickup for Fender Precision basses. This
model also features adjustable pole
pieces and is a direct replacement requiring no modifications.
"Screamers" is the name of a line of
replacement pickups from Mighty Mite
(1707 Cloverfield Blvd., Santa Monica,
Ca. 90404). Pickups to fit Gibson guitars are available in two basic versions,
Vintage ($59.95) and Distortion
($69.95); either version is available with
normal Humbucking coils or split coils
at no extra cost. For Fender guitars, the
Screamer line includes models for Stratocasters ($39.95 for conventional type,
$44.95 for dual coil), Telecaster lead
position (conventional-$39.95; dual coil
-$44.95), Telecaster rhythm position
($39.95) and Precision Bass ($59.95).
ACCESSORIES... One of the most
useful accessories for the electrified
musician is the "direct box," which is
basically an isolation and impedance
matching device designed to allow direct
connection of the instrument or the
output of an amplifier to a mixing console or tape recorder. In its simplest
form, a direct box need be no more
complex than an audio transformer and
perhaps a resistive pad, but many
models have a variety of special features to add versatility or to make their
use more convenient. This month we
have news of five different models from
three manufacturers:
Uni -Sync, Inc. (5559 Cahuenga Blvd.,
North Hollywood, Ca. 91601) who are
the folks responsible for the Trouper
Series sound reinforcement gear, offer
the model 1104 Guitar Direct Box
($95.00). This model uses an advanced
design transformer to provide high input
impedance, low distortion, wide frequency response and excellent hum
rejection. Unlike most direct boxes,
the 1104 can be connected either be-
tween instrument and amp for the
cleanest possible sound or after the
amplifier to get the amp's contribution
to the guitar's sound simply by flipping
a switch. When connecting to an amplifier output, there is a filter which may
be switched in to simulate the frequency
response of a guitar speaker. A ground
lift switch rounds out a versatile package.
MAY 1977
The Tycobrahe Direct Box ($59.95)
is unique in that it combines direct box
functions with an Automatic Noise
Fader, which is basically a noise gate, to
completely eliminate hum and noise at
the output when the instrument is not
being played. The noise gate's threshold
is variable over a 50 dB range and the
gating time constants have been selected
to provide a gradual turn -off when playing is stopped. Power is supplied by a
9V battery or optional AC adapter.
(Tycobrahe Engineering Co., 725 Cypress Ave., Hermosa Beach, Ca. 90254).
Whirlwind Music (Rochester, N.Y.)
offers several products that serve as
direct boxes. The IMP 1 ($19.90) converts a high -Z input (via '/a -inch jack) to
a low-impedance output (via cable
mounted male XLR) with 600, 250 or 50
ohm impedance selectable by a slide
switch. IMP 2 ($23.90) is functionally
the same but has two 1/4-inch jacks in
parallel and a panel mounted XLR. IMP
3 ($27.90) is designed to provide an
isolated 250 ohm output from the
speaker output of an amplifier.
JHD Audio (1370 Logan Avenue,
Costa Mesa, Ca. 92626) has a very interesting little product called the Ice
Cube ($19.95). The unit itself s simply
a compressor which is said to increase
sustain by a factor of 20. What is interesting is that the device is designed to
plug into the back of a Fender amplifier in place of the connections to the
reverb unit. Once connected in this way,
the amp's reverb knob controls the
amount of sustain and the reverb foot switch turns the effect on and off.
Two new electronic devices were
shown by JXL (2314 Fourth Street,
Berkeley, Ca. 94710). The first is the
Final Phase ($99.00), a phase shifter
with a few new twists. Final Phase
has nine phase shift stages which give
the device a different sound from most
other phasers which have an even number of stages in the circuit. Other circuit innovations include a built -in noise
gate to eliminate noise at the output
when there is no input signal, and a
"sweep modulation" circuit which produces a wide range of non -sinusoidal
sweep patterns. The other device is the
2001 Octave Shifter & Delay Line
($299.00) which is a sophisticated and
complex analog /digital device which can
change the pitch or frequency of the
input by any interval from one octave
up to two octaves down in "real time."
Controls are provided for octave selec-
tion, pitch interval within that Selected
octave and mix of normal and altered
signal. In addition to the pitch shift, the
2001 functions as a variable delay line
with 5 to 100 ms of delay available,
selectable with the control provided.
Three footswitches are used to give instant choice of no effect, delay only,
perfect octave -interval effect or non octave- interval effect.
Another new octave device is the Mutron Octave /Divider ($160.00) from
Musitronics Corp. (Rosemont, N.J.
08556). The Mu -tron octave unit is an
AC- operated device designed to produce
a new note one octave below the input
note. A mix control is provided to set
the balance between normal and sub octave notes, and a tone control with
specially -designed filters varies the tonal
quality of the sub -octave note from a
pure, deep tone to a very electronic
tone. A special feature is the stabilization circuit which eliminates most of
the false triggering that causes other
octave dividers to "hunt" for the right
note when the input signal has a complex waveform. Footswitches with LED
indicators are provided for effect bypass
and normal mix/ bass note only switching.
The latest additions to the Morley product line (2301 W. Victory Blvd., Burbank, Ca. 91506) are the model SPV
Power Panner ($99.95) and the model
EDL Electrostatic Delay Line ($269.95).
The Power Panner is a passive device
that is inserted between amplifier and
speakers to pan the amp's output between two sets of speakers, or to
function as a volume control. As a volume control, the unit has the advantage
of reducing amplifier noise along with
signal level. The Electrostatic Delay
Line produces a variable delay of from
10 to 150 ms by the same means Morley
has used successfully in their echo units
for several years. Controls are provided
for delay length, input level, balance of
normal and delayed signals and repeats,
and outputs are provided for direct
only, delay only and mixed signals.
Gallien and Krueger are busy building a professound quality, once you optimize slew rate and minimize
sional reputation. They're doing it by building professional
distortion -and all amps have some, even the 1000 -1S
sound equipment like the Gallien- Krueger 1000 -1S power
-it's up to you and your ears. So we're not going to spend
amp. Take a look at the- 1000 -1S guaranteed specs and
time talking about our sound reproduction. We want you
you'll begin to see what we're
to decide about that for yourGuaranteed Specifications
getting at.
self, at your Gallien- Krueger
200 watts
RMS per channel into 4 ohms with both
Specs can tell you a lot
channels driven from 20 to 20kHz
about a particular piece of
125 watts
RMS per channel into 8 ohms with both
The Gallien- Krueger
channels driven from 20 to 20kHz
equipment, but they can't tell
brand of quality doesn't exHarmonic
at 200 watts RMS perchannel both channels
you everything.
actly come cheap, but we
driven from 20Hz to 20kHz into 4 ohms
For example, the 1000<.025%
at 125 watts RMS perchannel both channels
think you'll like the sound of
driven from 20Hz to 20kHz into 8 ohms
1S is the only professional
the 1000 -1S price too.
.2 watt to 200 watts into 4 ohms
quality amp that is rugged Distortion
from .1 watt to 125 watts into 8 ohms
enough to be truly portable. Power
from 20Hz to 20kHz at 200 watts RMS into
We can say it because we
4 ohms
from 5Hz to 200kHz at watt
build it that way. In addition
to assembly, we do our own
Phase Shift
from 20Hz to 20kHz
metal fabrication, build our Damping
into 8 ohms at 1kHz
into 4 ohms at 1kHz
own transformers, and print
our own circuit boards. The Sensitivity
for 200 watts into 4 ohms
9v RMS
1000 -1S is built to be rug40V /p sec
Slew Rate
ged and
25k ohms
Gallien- Krueger
D.C. Offset
adjustable to zero
or out.
504 B Vandell Way
below 200 watts RMS
And when it comes to Hum and Noise 110dB
Campbell, CA 95008
hear from us.
Modern Recor_ leg Production
At 1Lst, r ght here in Modern Recording _s the ins.ce
story, telling you just which _rierophones to bey to
create tcm arrow's hit records In these very pees,
those nicropl ones
you'll ei5 -n exactly where to
to get ;ha t guaranteed "top 40' sound!
As Ed McMahon might sap, "Isn't it amazino-qeveryt iing you need to know about mi- rophones is
To which Jo:rrry
right here ,efore your very
Carson_ w. uld reply, "Wrong condE oser- breaih!
Every hiirg you need to know is rwt to be found hens "
In fact, i you're looking for answers to questions; :rte,
"Which ni,: should I use ?" or. `Where do I put i :?
keep lc oking, you'll find nothin.i of interest; here.
It's rot that this sort of infcrTation _s top secretalthough many beginners are x>nvinced that pioie sonal recording engineers posse is some s >rt of rrystic
rule bcok. C7 at tells them just whet micrapzone tc t
and where -o put it. Well. there a-e no nie books ca-r:aining this sort of data. Every. engineer makes try leis
own role, a3 he goes along. and then breaks then_ (,he
rules, no-, the microphones) wit - regularity.
Mictophones are pretty much like cicthes -there is
no univo_-sally "correct" standard or style. For ex nple, w e. picking out a new c:at, you probably have
some detin.:e ideas about fabr.. style, _ength, weight
and price. in many cases your impeccable tastes a-e
not shard by your friends, and .vhile yot ='re woacE:ring how they can appear in br. ad dayligh> looking as
they do t_1ey have long shim given up on your
strange- baking threads.
So, why should microphones be different'? If yon Ike
it, its rich. (for you). If you dcn't, try sor.ething e. se
until you find the sound you like. But
before rushing off to start your experiments, there are a few bits of information that may help steer you towards the microphone best suited to
your individual application and taste.
Polar Patterns
Although all microphones pick up
sounds directly in front of them (onaxis), some are less sensitive than
others when it comes to hearing
sounds arriving from the side or rear
(off- axis). A polar pattern is simply a
graph of a microphone's directional
sensitivity. The graph itself is a series
of concentric circles, with the outer circle labelled "0 dB." The inner circles
are commonly drawn in 5 dB increments, with the smallest one labelled
about -25 dB.
The Omni-directional Microphone:
An omni -directional microphone is one
that is sensitive to all sounds, regardless of the direction from which they
arrive. Therefore, its polar pattern is
simply a circle, drawn right around the
0 dB line of the graph.
The Morley EVO -1 Echo can
add a new dimension to
your sound. Free flowing
Echo. Notes cascading and
falling through time and
space without beginning or
end. On a background of
velvet black silence. The
sounds of multiple guitars
where only one is playing.
Echo without tape makes it
all possible. And only Mor-
The Uni- directional Microphone: On
the other hand, a uni- directional microphone is not as sensitive to rear originating sounds. For example, consider a microphone that is 20 dB less
sensitive in the rear than in the front.
Although the polar pattern starts off
on the 0 dB circle, as it rotates around
the microphone, it gradually moves in
towards the inner circles. At 180
degrees (representing the rear of the
microphone), the polar pattern touches
the -20 dB circle, and then begins moving outward again as the rotation continues. By the time the pattern reaches
360 degrees =0 degrees), it has
returned to 0 dB. Try sketching this,
and you'll discover a heart -shaped pattern; hence the popular designation,
cardioid microphone.
With a super-cardioid microphone,
the prefix "super" has nothing to do
with the microphone's abilities. It's
merely a modified cardioid pattern;
slightly narrower (less sensitive) on
the sides, and with a small lobe in the
rear. The rear lobe shows that -compared to the standard cardioid pattern
-the super -cardioid is somewhat more
sensitive at 180 degrees off -axis.
The Bi- directional Microphone: A
bi- directional microphone is equally
sensitive in the front and in the rear,
and is quite insensitive to sounds arriving from either side (90 or 270
degrees). In fact, the microphone is
much less sensitive at its sides than a
cardioid is in the rear -a point often
overlooked by engineers trying to
isolate the sound of one instrument
from that of another. Sketching the
polar pattern will reveal why this type
of microphone is usually called a
"figure-8" microphone.
Choosing the Right
Polar Pattern for the Job
In planning and setting up the
studio for a recording session,
engineers and producers like to spend
lots of time devising ingenious
schemes for minimizing leakage. For it
seems that one of the seven deadly sins
of multi-track recording is to allow the
sound of one instrument to be heard by
a microphone placed near another's instrument. Although advanced cases of
leakaphobia may lead to producer
hysteria, there is indeed justification
ley has it. The unique
memory system in the
EVO -1 holds every note un-
altered from the deepest
bass to all the highest
highs of a piano. Vocals
sing in unison and harmony
without the least trace of
distortion. When you consider the EVO -1 is priced
less than any other "pro"
echo available, doesn't it
make sense to find out if
the EVO -1 is right for you
before you buy an Echo?
For a
free catalog,
and a free Morley
Bumper Sticker, write
Morley, Department R -5,
2301 West Victory Boulevard,
Burbank, California 91506
It's a new concept in sound effects pedals from
Maestro. Much more than just on- again, o'f -ag Sin, these
pedals you can really play. With the sole of yoJr foot.
The new Maestro Stage Phaser is oie of them. It
gives you the wild, gyrating, phase shifting sound of a
rotating speaker. But with an incredible amount of play ability and control.
For starters, the Stage Phaser's got Ealls. That's an
illuminated foot control wheel that lets you effortlessly
adjust the intensity of your phasing effect ..from a
haunting whisper to a jet -like growl.
Stage Phaser also lets you toe instantly into three
phaser speeds -two preset, one totally variatle. In the
variable mode, an illuminated speed
wheel lets you sole tune the speed of
The mood and 19noo of your music.
With all These clever cont-ols, where's the on /off
switch? Well, there's nc little b.lttcn to grope for. The
whole pedals a switch .just step on it anywhere. Even
on a dark stage, you car 't miss it.
More about the sound Stage Phaser duplicates the
braking and acceleratinc effect of rotating speaker without a trace of noise or in response. And, if you plug
it into a two channel setup, you get an eerie, spatial,
stereo -like sound that tLrns your axe into a whole new
So why settle for some ordinary turn -on? Check out
Stage Phaser soon at your local Maestro dealer. And
get yourself some real sole control.
your spin to
Speed wheel ias large, easy to read
calibrations. operates at the touch
of a toe. Illuminates when
AC Adapter used.
Balls wheel allows effortless
control of phaser effect
intensity. Illuminates when
AC Adapter used.
Status light glows when
unit is on, easily visible
on a dark stage.
Raised. three -position
rotary speed selector lets
you choose between fast
and slow preset or a totally
variable mode.
Entire pedal acts as on /off
control. Step on it anywhe-e
-the massive cast aluminum
base holds its ground.
7373 N. Cicero Avenue. Lincolnwood. Illinois 50646
51 Nantucket Boulevard. Scarborough. Ontario Canada
Anotn =r qual ty product from Norlin
for trying to keep leakage down to a
reasonable minimum.
The whole purpose of going to the
effort of multi -track recording is to
allow the engineer to re-balance the
various tracks later on. In fact, "We'll
fix it in the mix" has come to be standard operating procedure. Mix -fixing
may mean anything from bringing up
a vocal solo to dumping a sour guitar
line; to say nothing of adding some
sort of special effects to one or more instruments. But of course these
changes must be applied only to the instrument in question, and not to the
whole musical group. Hence the concern with leakage. If a track is completely free of extraneous information,
it can be compressed, expanded, equalized, filtered and -when all else fails
removed entirely, without affecting
any of the other sounds on the tape.
And of course, if a certain instrument
is removed during the mix, there must
be no traces of it on other tracks due to
At first glance it may seem that a
cardioid microphone is one's best defense against leakage. Since this
microphone is less sensitive to sounds
from the rear, it can be positioned so
that unwanted signals are 180 degrees
off-axis and therefore attenuated by 20
dB or so. However, before reaching for
a cardioid microphone, there are a few
potential trouble spots to consider.
Off -axis Coloration
Often, the actual shape of the car dioid pattern changes over the range
of the audio bandwidth. In fact, at low
frequencies the pattern may begin to
resemble that of an omni -directional
microphone. In practical terms, this
means that the microphone efficiently
attentuates high- frequency, off-axis
signals but does little or nothing to
reduce low frequency information. As
a result, off -axis leakage will sound
"muddy," and if you have several such
microphones in use, overall clarity
may suffer considerably.
Proximity Effect
Of course, the microphone may be
placed very close to the instrument, in
which case little or no off-axis signals
will be heard, regardless of frequency.
But now we encounter another problem. As one moves closer to a cardioid
microphone, the bass response often
rises significantly, and this is known
as the proximity effect.
So, no matter which way we move,
there's a potential problem. Move further back, and off -axis coloration muddies the overall sound. Move in closer,
and the instrument in front of the
microphone gets "boomy." And if the
microphone is placed in front of a
singer, the overall sound quality may
keep changing as the artist moves
slightly during the recording.
Most manufacturers have at least a
few top-of- the -line cardioids in which
these two characteristics have been
"designed out." Needless to say, you'll
pay a premium price for such microphones. Or, you can avoid the whole
problem by buying omni -directional
microphones in the first place. These
don't have off-axis and proximity
problems, and that means you can
place them extremely close, and not
get any increased bass response. And,
at a very short microphone -tomusician distance, the microphone will
Snake and UltraSnake.
The classic connector cords especially designed
for use with musical instruments and systems. The
exclusive Snake cable, manufactured for Whirlwind
Music by Belden, features a tough neoprene
exterior lined with a unique noise -free shield.
UltraSnake comes tipped with two solid brass
military plugs; Snake with a pair of nickeled brass
Switchcraft plugs. Both are designed to take the
strain of on -stage patching without fraying at the
ends. Both are available only at your Whirlwind
dealer. There is no substitution.
You get the Snake, or you're left with
the hiss.
P.O. Box 1075
Rochester. N.Y. 14603
(716) 663 -8820
From solo to full orchestra,
from studio floor to "live" concerts...
depend on the E -V mike system
for a competitive edge in sound quality.
Variety is more than the spice of
Its essential for top-notch audio...
for the best sound on record...despite
the acoustic or talent problems you
might face.
Granted, most pickups can be
handled with our traditional dynamic or
electrei. condenser "basics''. But when
you need them, we have microphones to
wear on the head, around the neck, or
carry in the hand. Real problem solvers.
And E -V pioneered in the design
of practical "shot gun" microphones
that perform so well on overhead booms
and in ENG units. We round out the
line with a host of accessory windscreens,
filters, pads, and mounts...all the vital
little extras you've asked for.
We call it the E -V System. Each
model designed to best solve a particular
problem...and all models designed to
work together. To mix without abrupt
quality changes. To be easily equalized
because there are no power-robbing
peaks. To work without fail, no matter
what. And to provide the optimum
signal-to-noise ratio (acoustic or electrical) that gives your signal a clean start.
Why worry about good sound?
Because bad sound adds up. Fast! And
considering all the dime store speakers,
noise, and confusion at the listener's
end, your audio needs all the help it
can get!
Our microphone system is the
place to start. Browse through our
catalog. Digest our spec sheets. Try our
mikes in your studio. The more you use
the E -V system, the better you'll sound.
Ask your E -V sound specialist for a
guided tour, or write us today.
UItCfl company
Dept. 271 BD, 686 Cecil Street
Buchanan, Michigan 49107
hear little or no leakage, despite its
omni-directional characteristic.
The point to remember is that the
cardioid microphone is not necessarily
the engineer's best friend. In many
cases, the omni -directional microphone
will work just as well, or better. And
don't overlook the possibilities of the
figure -8 microphone. With musicians
playing into both front and rear, the
microphone is just about immune to
leakage arriving at the sides.
Acoustic Baffles
Acoustic baffles -popularly called
"goboes" -are often placed between
instruments in order to further reduce
leakage. However (as with the cardioid
microphone), there are a few important
points to consider. The first is that
goboes are subject to the laws of
physics, just like the rest of us. That
means that diffraction (the bending of
a sound wave as it passes over an
obstruction) may present some problems. To explain -as a complex wave
passes over the gobo, low frequencies
tend to bend around it, while high frequencies pass by relatively unaffected.
That means that a microphone placed
behind the gobo will be more susceptible to low frequency leakage. And if
the microphone is an inexpensive car dioid, so much the worse. Which
brings up another point: a cardioid
microphone gets its uni- directional
characteristic by allowing sounds from
behind to enter it's rear- and side-entry
ports. If you obstruct these ports
either with your hand, or by placing a
gobo nearby -you'll be interfering
with the microphone's performance.
You can prove this by talking into a
cardioid microphone, and while doing
so, wrapping your hand around the
side -entry ports. The sound quality
will immediately go from good to
wretched, and if you're on stage you'll
probably get a horrendous feedback
squeal. A gobo won't be quite as
disastrous, but there's a good
possibility that it may do more harm
than good. And to add insult to injury,
most goboes are not perfect absorbers
either. So, at least some sound passes
through them, while other sounds are
reflected from the goboe's surface. So,
listen to the microphone, with and
without the gobo in place. If it's helping, fine. If it's not, get rid of it.
"Going Direct"
When recording amplified instruments, such as the electric guitar, its
possible to by -pass the microphone
completely, by "going direct." Many
instrument amplifiers feature an auxiliary amplifier jack, originally intended for feeding a second power
amplifier. However, a so- called line matching transformer may be inserted
in this jack. With a microphone cable
plugged into the other end of the
transformer, it directly connects the
amplifier to the console (or tape
recorder) input.
This all- electrical direct pickup
eliminates leakage problems entirely,
and produces a sound that many
engineers and producers prefer, even
when leakage is not a problem. In the
case of a noisy amplifier, the transformer may instead be used, via a "Y"
connector, at the input side of the
amplifier. Although any effects
created within the amplifier itself are
therefore not recorded, this arrangement often helps get a better sound
when the amplifier output is unsuitable for one reason or another.
The only delay line and effects generator offering glitch -free, continuously variable
time delay plus POLYTONE tm, the automatic generation of harmonically related musical notes, and
providing full remote control capability on all functions. Its Extended Tone Memory can hold a note
smoothly for almost 30 seconds and the Saturable FM feature provides superb ring modulator effects.
From guitar to synthesizer, TIME WARP is terrific.
In addition to these special features, all of the more common effects such as phasing, flanging,
tunneling, Doppler shifting, artificial (automatic) double tracking, true vibrato, true chorus, slap -back
echo, pitch change and recycling reverberation are also available from TIME WARP.
Complete with internal power supply and remote control connector, TIME WARP occupies only 13/
inches of rack space and won't cost you the earth. Don't settle for less versatility or quality.
foot pedal interface unit for
direct coupling and musician control of TIME
WARP with any instrument.
Coming soon
MICMIX Audio Products, Inc.
2995 Ladybird Lane
Dallas, TX 75220 (214) 352 -3811
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liiir r, t (i'
Products Group
h ic v tiors Inc., 277 N. Goodman St., Rochester,
Jew York 14607, (716) 4<2-5320.
It's 2:00 in the afternoon and production coordinator David Rabb and
two helpers are completing the erection of the pyramid. Meanwhile, three
other workers are assembling the
welded tubular framework that will
support the sphinx. No, this scene
isn't taking place somewhere on the
banks of the Nile or in some museum
display; it's happening on the stage of
the Calderone Concert Hall in Hempstead, N.Y., where the road crew and
stage hands are setting up for a concert appearance by Todd Rundgren's
The equipment arrived at about
10:00 A.M. in two 40 -foot tractor trailers along with the road crew in
their chartered bus. In the four hours
since that time, the ten men of the
band's road crew, with the help of
their three truck and bus drivers
and the promoter's half -dozen
or so stage hands, have ununloaded the trucks and
completed the set -up of
the basic equipment
the stage platform
that the road crew or the
show itself are untried. In fact, the
band and crew have just completed a
full month of rehearsals in a rented aircraft hangar at Orange County Airport in Newburgh, N.Y. The hangar
was chosen because it offered enough
room to set up and use the stage,
is not to say
lights and sound systems without
blowing down the walls, and still have
plenty of room left over to work on the
various parts of the touring system in
comfort. According to Todd, "The
rehearsals were primarily for the
technical crew. We knew the songs
from earlier rehearsals and the Euro-
The Stage and the Set
The stage is the one tried and
true part of Utopia's production. The stage was designed by Gary Grossman
and built by Bestek
Theatrical last year
and was used suc-
Wirth Todd
has been set up, the speaker stacks,
amplifier racks and mixing consoles
for both PA and monitor systems are
hooked up and awaiting AC power,
and the lighting system is wired up
and in position ready to be hoisted into
its final position and focused. Yet from
this point it will still take most of the
six remaining hours until show time to
work out all the details and get everything working just right because the
show includes an astonishing variety
of special staging effects and makes
use of several sophisticated technologies, some of which are being used for
the first time on this Utopia tour. This
concert appearances and try out parts
of the show before the ninety -show
tour officially starts. Tonight's show is
the third of these virtually unpublicized pre -tour shows, but there are two
very significant differences between
the earlier shows and the one tonight.
First, since some of the effects were
only made operational and tried out in
the final days of rehearsal, this is the
first time the total production will be
presented to an audience. And second
is the fact that this is the last opportunity the crew will have to fix up
anything that doesn't work technically
or esthetically; the next time everything is set up will be in Akron, Ohio,
at the first gig of the heavily publicized tour.
pean tour." Much of the month's time
was spent working out what effects to
use, how to best implement them, and
where in the show to use them, but
there was also a lot of time spent solving the inevitable technical problems.
The one thing everyone in the band
agrees on is that there just wasn't
enough time.
As anyone who has been involved in
a performance situation knows, there
is a world of difference between rehearsing and taking a show in front of
an audience. Twice during the month
of rehearsals the band and crew ventured forth from their hangar to make
cessfully on Utopia's European tour
this winter, according to Eric Gardner
who used to be production manager for
Utopia and who now serves as the
band's manager. The stage itself is
basically a modular riser some 24 feet
square and about two feet high with an
additional riser for the drum kit in the
center portion of the main platform.
The deck surface is covered with a
fiberglas- plastic material in a gold
metalflake finish, and the underpinnings of the riser are concealed from
the audience's view by a series of sloping panels finished in the same gold
metalflake material. By using a full
riser rather than just a deck covering
such as many other groups use, monitor speakers, effects devices and cables
can be kept below the level of the stage
platform where they will be out of
sight, and the result is a singularly
uncluttered stage. Also concealed
behind the panels at the front of the
riser is a 25 -foot long box which contains a clever contraption that raises
and lowers a 15 by 20 foot front projection screen by means of two long folding arms and a cross -boom. When the
audience enters, this screen is in the
raised position, concealing the stage
riser. The show begins with a 21minute film featuring each of the four
band members and utilizing some very
sophisticated video animation and
video synthesis techniques as well as
conventional cinematography. At the
conclusion of the film, the screen
automatically lowers and the upright
arms fold down behind the front panels
revealing the stage and the band
members who begin to play. Unfortunately, tonight the projector will
lose its light source less than
halfway through the film and the
band will have to be brought on
early. From each corner of the
stage platform rises a goldpainted aluminum pole, the
four of which join in a
small platform directly
above the center of
the stage to form a
25 -foot high pyramid. The bases
of the four poles are connected together beneath the platform with aircraft
cables for strength. Once he has bolted
the poles to the platform, Rabb
bounces on the top of the pyramid with
his 200 -plus pounds to test its sturdiness because at one point during the
show Todd will climb the pyramid
using the steplike projections on the
front uprights. Satisfied with the rigidity, Rabb now attaches a specially
built winch to the platform; this winch
will be used by Todd in what he has
referred to as, "an unusual means of
dismounting" from the pyramid.
While the pyramid was being bolted
together, other workers were assembling the frame for the sphinx at the
back of the stage, and now Rabb
supervises the mounting of the sphinx
head itself, which is in several sections
for ease in transporting and handling.
According to Gardner, the sphinx is
made of the same plastic material the
Disney people developed for their
super-lifelike robots, and is finished in
MAY 1977
gold and turquoise blue. Other than its
stunning appearance, one is impressed
by the precision with which the
eighteen-foot head fits together.
The rationale for the Egyptian motif
seems to be fairly complex. First is the
obvious tie -in with the title of Utopia's
current album, RA (who was the Egyptian sun -god) and the lyrics of two of
the album's songs ( "Communion with
the Sun" and "Sunburst Finish "). Additional influences are Todd's longstanding interest in Eastern civilizations and philosophies (an interest he
shares with Utopia synthesizer artist
Roger Powell), the generally increased
chines, the eyes house strobe lights
and a laser beam comes out of the
sphinx's third eye.
The Lighting System
While the pyramid and sphinx were
going up, lighting designer Barry
Cohen of West Road Theatrical Lighting has been working on getting his
system ready to focus. Cohen has
designed a somewhat unconventional
system to meet the specific demands
of the Utopia show. Since the usual
cross-stage lighting trusses would interfere visually and physically with
the set, Cohen had a pair of relatively
short trusses built for Alchemedia Productions, which is Rundgren's production company. These trusses are positioned front -to-back just off each side
of the platform and provide the bulk of
the light. In addition, Cohen has positioned a pair of lighting "trees" at the
rear corners of the platform to provide
back light for the band and sculptural
lighting for the sphinx.
The one really new aspect of the
lighting equipment is the use of
remote-control color changers,
and the three units which have
been installed on each side
truss are getting lots of attention from Cohen and
Alan Stillman, who de-
signed and built
By Fred Ridder
public interest in Egyptian things
sparked by the recent exhibition of artifacts from Tutankhamun's tomb,
and the pyramid fad. But beyond this
and the inevitable bad jokes about
guitars staying in tune longer if you
play under a pyramid, Todd offered
the explanation that "the original
Utopia symbol was a triangle with an
eye at the top like you find on a dollar
bill, and the pyramid is an extension of
the triangle into three dimensions." In
fact, Utopia's pyramid is rigged with a
pair of bright flood lights at the apex
which could be considered an equivalent of the all - seeing eye. As for the
sphinx, Todd claims that it was
"mainly a device to contain some of
our effects," and in fact the sphinx's
mouth contains monitor speakers for
drummer John Wilcox, the nostrils are
outlets for the fog and smoke ma-
them. Stillman, who
at one time was
master carpenter for Utopia, will be renting his instruments to Alchemedia for certain
specific shows where Cohen thinks
they will be of most value. Stillman's
design, for which a patent is pending,
uses pneumatic cylinders to move the
gel frames in front of the light rather
than the solenoids which previously
have been used in color changers. Besides much greater reliability, Stillman's system allows infinite adjustment of changing speed. Tonight will
be the first time Utopia has used the
changers in a real show, and Cohen is
concerned that the devices do not
operate fast enough to suit the fast paced lighting style he has developed
for the Utopia show. By the time
Stillman is through adjusting his
units, the gels are changing in a 'fraction of a second accompanied by a
slight "whoosh" and a not -so- gentle
clack as the gel frames swing into
By 4:00 the drums and all the
microphones are set up on stage and
can hear one another better at
a lower sound level since they are
everything is
pretty much
ready for sound
check except that
there is some problem
with the power distribution and there is no AC
power yet. The microphones
are very much what one expects
from a sound company of Bears ville's caliber. Shure SM -58s are used
for vocals and the drum kit is covered
by the usual assortment of Sennheiser
421s and 441s on bass drums and tom toms, AKG D224s on the snare and
hi-hat and AKGs or Sony condenser
mics on the cymbals and percussion
The Monitor System
It is at this point that one might
notice that there are no instrument
amplifiers visible on stage. This is not
because they are concealed as some
bands have done for esthetic reasons,
it is because there are no instrument
amps! There has been a trend in recent
years to use the smallest amps possible to give the sound man better control over the final sound, and Utopia
has taken this idea to its logical conclusion by eliminating onstage amps
entirely to give monitor mixer Rob
Davis and PA mixer Chris Anderson
complete control of the sound on stage
and in the auditorium. The elimination
of the amplifiers was `originally for
esthetic reasons," according to
Todd, "but ultimately the esthetic may be that we get
better sound." Not only is
the sound better for the
audience due to Anderson having full
control, but the
no longer sonically competing.
Naturally, a system of this type puts
unusual demands on the monitor
system. For this tour, Bearsville is using moderate -sized Cerwin -Vega two way speaker systems in the monitor
system. To reduce intermodulation
and help assure adequate sound levels
at all times, the monitors have been
split into eight separate systems, each
receiving a separate mix, basically an
instrumental mix and a vocal mix for
each of the band members. Todd and
drummer John Wilcox each have two
monitor speakers, one for each of their
mixes, hidden from the audience's
view below platform level and in the
sphinx respectively. Off to either side
of the platform near the front of the
stage are twin stacks of four cabinets
each which are monitors for Roger
Powell and bassist Kasim Sulton, and
which also provide side -fill for Todd
when he moves away from his own
downstage center speakers. Power for
the monitor system comes from two
racks each containing three Phase
Linear 700B amplifiers.
The eight separate mixes required
for Utopia's monitors are provided by
Bearsville's brand new monitor mixing
console, designed by Ted Rothstein partly with this tour in mind.
The sophisticated console is physically
quite large (over seven feet wide) since
it accommodates 40 inputs and has 10
outputs. The input channels are split
into two groups of twenty with the
master section in the middle. Davis
uses one side of the board for vocal inputs and the other for instruments for
his own convenience since they are in
all cases mixed separately. The console
has eight mix buses feeding the eight
main outputs for the eight separate
amplifier and speaker systems. There
are also two master outputs which are
mixed from the eight mix buses, and
Davis uses these to feed his own
monitor speakers. Each input channel
offers the flexibility of three -band
selectable EQ plus switchable low -pass
and high -pass filters in addition to the
usual input attenuation and preamp
gain controls and the eight color-coded
rotary faders for the sends to the eight
mix buses. The master section is quite
unusual in that it uses Burroughs
BarGraph displays instead of conventional VU meters or LED displays.
The BarGraphs are interesting gaseous discharge devices which display increasing voltage by se-
quentially lighting a series of 100
segments. This means that they have
much finer resolution than the typical
ten- or twelve -LED displays while retaining the speed advantage that electronic displays enjoy over VU meter
Movements. In addition, Rothstein's
design offers five different meter functions including peak metering and conventional VU-type ballistics.
The Laser
The band arrives at the Calderone at
around 4:30 and since there is still no
AC, they can't start their sound check.
After saying hello to various crew
members, Todd goes over to an area
behind the stage -left speaker stacks
where Gary Lemieux has set up the
laser equipment which he will operate
during the show. Lemieux, who normally works with Cohen's lighting
company, is still learning how to run
the system since the equipment only
arrived in Newburgh from Laser
Physics (who assembled the system),
in time for the last few days of rehearsals. According to Todd, the equipment they are using now is only the
basic part of an elaborate system they
hope to be using by summer. What
they have now is basically a four -watt
blue -green Helium -Neon laser with a
fiber optics "light pipe" and a remote
control deflection system so that the
laser unit itself-and the operator
can be out of sight off the stage platform while the laser beam exits from a
third eye in the forehead of the sphinx.
Eventually the system will have a
digital programmer and a memory unit
so that the particular effects may be
pre-programmed and then exactly
repeated at the appropriate point in
the show. Tonight, however, Lemieux
will be manually operating the remote
controls, so Todd is working with him
now to determine the control setting
which will produce the effects Todd
has in mind.
The laser beam points from the
sphinx's head out into the audience,
and its exact direction is controlled by
the deflection controls which allow the
beam to be moved up and down or side
to side from its straight -ahead direction. By applying repetitive waveforms to the deflection circuits, the
beam can be swept about in a wide
variety of patterns much like an X -Y
display on an oscilloscope. In fact, for
safety reasons, the beam must be kept
moving rapidly whenever it is pointing
into an audience.
The first effect Todd works out with
Lemieux is one in which the beam is
swept back and forth very rapidly in
the horizontal direction, creating a
fan -shaped beam of laser light which is
then slowly swept up and down from
balcony to orchestra and back. Viewed
from the audience the effect is reminiscent of the "time tunnel" sequence in
the film 2001, but is much more threedimensional since it comes into the
observer's space rather than being
confined to a movie screen. The other
two effects Todd works out are basically spiralling effects, one using an elliptical scan shape and the other a more
complicated pattern achieved by using
different sweep frequencies for
horizontal and vertical deflection.
When seen from the audience, both of
these effects seem to draw the viewer
up into the third eye of the sphinx. All
three effects will be more impressive
this evening when the air is smoky
because the beam will seem to take on
a kind of solidity.
The Powell Probe
While Todd is toying with the laser,
Roger Powell has been supervising the
set -up of his synthesizer system, which
is clearly the most sophisticated of the
new technology used by Utopia. The
essential differences between Roger's
system, which he calls the Powell
Probe, and the more common synthesizers are that the Probe is a full
polyphonic system with six -note
capability, and that a large number of
control functions can be remote controlled from a hand -held keyboard
unit, which frees Roger from the synthesizer control panel and lets him
roam the stage. Physically, the system
comprises two racks which house the
synthesizer circuitry, the remote control interface and some additional
signal processors and a streamlined
fiberglas keyboard unit which weighs
only eight pounds. The two racks sit
on the stage -right edge of the platform
and are connected to the keyboard by a
single aerospace -type 19- conductor
cable that is only a quarter -inch in
The idea behind Powell's synthesizer
is deceptively simple, but its implementation was bogglingly complex. "I
was very naive when I started this
project," says Roger, who has worked
in product development and promotion for both ARP and Moog in the
past. After several false starts, Roger
found an engineer in Massachusetts
MAY 1977
named Jeremy Hill who took on
the project. Ultimately it would
take fourteen months of Hill's
work and the talents of some thirty
other people to produce the Probe.
Powell plans to build and sell about ten
units, if he can find buyers at $15,000
each, and use the money that generates to develop a second- generation
all -digital Probe.
Mobility was not Roger's primary
objective initially, but in the end it is
what most distinguishes the Probe
from other polyphonic synthesizers. "I
was tired of having to deal with the
mechanical idiosyncrasies of conventional keyboard instruments," says
Powell. "So, first I wanted a polyphonic synthesizer with presets that would
give me some of the sounds I was getting with other instruments. Then I
figured I should take it a step further
and separate the keyboard from the actual synthesizers since you can't
possibly change all the controls on six
synthesizers at once anyway." What
eventually resulted was a system that
combined partial presets with remote
control of certain parameters simultaneously in either or both banks of
three synthesizers.
At the heart of the current Probe is a
six-voice Oberheim synthesizer with
its own keyboard controller unit, both
of which have been "extensively modified" to interface with the remote control functions of the Probe keyboard.
The keyboard unit itself is an engineering marvel and is an all -new design
even down to the keys themselves
which use photo -optical isolators instead of switch closures. Information
about what combination of keys is
depressed is digitally and serially encoded to conserve conductors in the
connecting cable and then decoded in
the main rack's interface circuitry.
There is a hand -hold opening for the
left hand which has six thumbwheeltype knobs situated around it; these
knobs simultaneously control certain
functions such as pitch bend and
volume in all six synthesizer modules.
Also accessible at the hand -hold are
switches and LED indicators for the
selection of one of the fourteen partial
presets. Each of these partial presets
determines certain parameters of the
modules and leaves others variable for
maximum flexibility. Running down
the length of the Probe above the keys
themselves is a row of twenty-five
rocker switches and LED indicator
lights which access particular
functions of groups of the
modules for
remote control.
Examples of the
functions control-
lable with these
switches are: simultaneously detuning all six first
VCOs, transposing either or
both banks of three modules by
octave intervals or switching
modulation on or off in either or both
banks of modules.
The PA System
By 5:30, the AC is finally connected,
the Bearsville crew has checked out
their equipment and everything is
ready for the sound check. Todd personally takes charge of the sound
check and presides over the PA console, setting EQ and levels for each instrument in turn, while Rob Davis sets
the monitor levels according to the
musicians' instructions. The house
mix is being done on a relatively old
24 -input Bearsville board until the new
PA mixing console is completed. The
old board is a very compact design in
two units, and was originally designed
and built by Ted Rothstein and
Shimon Ron, who was maintenance
chief at Electric Lady Studios until
recently. Utopia's PA includes quite a
lot of outboard signal processing
equipment, including several Automated Processes equalizers,
Eventide Harmonizer and
Flanger and Orban /Parasound reverb and para-
metric equalizer
units. Most of 7
these items are
mounted in a
rack to the right of the console and all
of them except the Orban parametric,
which is used in the PA feed, have
their outputs returned to a Yamaha
PM -1000 16 -input mixer which is
slaved to the main console, since most
of its own inputs are taken up by
microphone inputs.
The PA system uses a novel combination of speakers. Bass frequencies
from sub -audibility to 250 Hz are
reproduced by a pair of Cerwin-Vega
Double -D "Earthquake" speaker
systems per side. The band from 250
Hz to 2 kHz is covered by Bearsville's
famous midrange cabinets, each of
which contains 25 four -inch speakers
in a sealed enclosure; there are six of
these cabinets per side. Bearsville's
treble speakers are the most unusual
part of the system, because the drivers
in the horn-loaded cabinets are Heil
Air Motion Transducers. These
drivers are the invention of Dr. Oscar
Heil, and are virtually identical to the
tweeters used by ESS in their AMT -1
hi -fi speaker systems. Eight treble
boxes are used on each side of the
stage. Power for each side's speakers
comes from two triple Phase Linear
700B racks for a total PA power that
approaches 9000 watts.
Todd's Guitar Set-up
Todd Rundgren has always used
fairly extensive signal processing on
his guitar, but he has recently forsaken the use of the usual guitar accessories in favor of synthesizer
modules and studio devices such as the
Eventide Clockworks products. "I now
use synthesizer modules, E -mu
modules to be specific, because they
are much more reliable." Considerable
original thought went into the actual
form of Todd's system. His guitar
signal is split and goes to an E-mu
preamp, which is used only to generate
trigger and gate voltages, and to a
Sunn Concert Lead amplifier and
2x12" speaker cabinet- which are
located offstage. The speaker cabinet
is miked and this mic signal is treated
as if it were the actual guitar output.
The signal from the mic is split and
sent to the mixing consoles as a "dry"
guitar signal, and to the input of
Todd's effects rack. This rack is hidden in the sphinx's left foot, and contains an Eventide Harmonizer, an
Eventide Flanger, and E -mu VCA and
VCF, plus a patch bay and a set of
relays which allows Todd to route his
guitar through or past each of the
devices by operating a footswitch
panel mounted in the deck near his
microphone position. The footswitch
panel features neon indicator lights for
each device (LEDs aren't bright
enough on stage) and alongside it is a
footpedal which varies the pitch ratio
of the Harmonizer. The output of this
effects rack is then split and sent to
the mixing consoles as an "effects"
guitar signal and is also sent to a tapeloop echo device. The echo's output is
then sent to the mixing consoles as an
"echo" guitar signal, and any mix of
the three guitar signals can be dialed
up immediately.
At the climax of the band's eighteen
minute plus mini- opera, "Singring and
the Glass Guitar," Todd climbs to the
top of the pyramid, from where he
somersaults into space only to be
lowered back to the stage by the
special winch. For this stunt, a trailing
guitar cord presents an obvious
hazard, so Todd uses a wireless guitar
system designed by Ken Schaffer, who
is, among other things, Utopia's PR
Schaffer's design is a modified wireless
mic system which is being manufactured by Vega, the wireless industry
leader. He calls his design a "diversity
system" which means that it uses two
receivers in different locations to
minimize the fade problem. He also
dynamic range is marginal at best for
use with a guitar, and it is for this
reason that Todd only uses his wireless
on "Singring." Schaffer indicates that
Vega is hard at work on a vastly improved compressor /expander to
replace the current compander which
should make up the current deficiency
in dynamic range. He says the new
compander should be available in a few
months, at which time Todd can go
totally wireless, if he wants, without
any sacrifice in sound quality.
The Bottom Line
The question inevitably raised by
viewing a spectacle such as the Utopia
show is, "How much did it cost?" According to Gardner, the cost to Alchemedia Productions and a subsidiary company was somewhat in excess of $150,000, which includes the
cost of designs, construction, purchases and rentals of special equipment, but does not include items like
the Powell Probe. This figure is not
unreasonable for a group that will be
consistently playing 10,000 seat and
larger venues, but how can Utopia
justify such a cost when they will be
playing mostly 3,000 to 7,000 seat
halls? (In fact, the set is so perfectly
scaled for that size hall that it will probably look too small and get lost in a
hall much larger than eight or ten
thousand seats.) "We should break
even after a year," is Todd's comment.
"I don't believe in doing anything just
to make money." But why go to such
lengths to spend money? "When you
put out a record or give a concert,
you're actually asking people to give
you money, and that's a heavy karma.
In return for their giving me their
money, I want to give them a total experience, something special that they
can only experience in this particular
space and time."
Yet there seems to be another reason
for putting together such an elaborate
production. Says Todd, "Technical innovation helps keep me interested in
performing the same show each night
on tour. And danger is even better
the element of chance, the unpredictable. You know, the top of the
pyramid doesn't get any closer to the
stage as the tour goes on. I may break
my neck some night." Whether or not
the Utopia stage show succeeds in sustaining Todd Rundgren's interest, one
thing is certain -Utopia will leave a lot
of satisfied audiences in its wake.
Roger Powell and the Powell Probe
mechanical resonator in the
front end of the receivers to eliminate
virtually all interference problems.
The current Schaffer -Vega system
works fine with bass guitars or
amplified string instruments, but the
uses a
What's Cookin'?
Why it's ncne other than Fabulous Felix and the
Flamethrcwers, the hottest bond tt-is side of
Dante's Inferno.
But while Felix
burning up the sage with all
pyrotechnics, the Fla methrowers'
sound isn't exactly Eet-ing the wor d on fire.
There's mcre synthesizer and ead guitar in the
his visual
turn out studio quality tapes. %hich makes the
Tascan at least twice as good as any singlepurpose mixer.
The Tascan mixing consoles. Created to help
you sound as hot as you look.
bass monitor than the-e is bass. And c ll those instruments cooking together are cremating the
vocals. What Fab Felix andthe boys need at this
point is a ittle less incineraticl and o lot more
separation. And that s where a Tascam Series
mixing colsole comes in.
If they'd simply install a Model T-Iree cr Model
Five between their songs anc the r sound system. they'd have the :ame precise con-rol over
their sound during a live perforrrcnce as they
have at a -ecording sessicn.
And after the gig, they could take -heir trusty
Tascam equipment back home. connect it to
any one of Tascam's multitrack re:crders and
Carporohon o-Anerco. 7733 Telegraph
generation of recording instruments
for a new generation o- recording artists.
A new
GA 90640
TEAC 1977
By George Klahin
What do we mean by noise reduction? In simple terms, the noise reduction process is one which reduces or
eliminates audible noise such as hiss or
hum which can be caused by a variety
of sources -most commonly thermal
noise in transistors or AC hum components of signals.
The current usable dynamic range of
multi-track tape recorders (without
use of any noise reduction) is around
65 decibels, from the noise "floor"
(residual noise level) to the maximum
undistorted signal level, commonly
referred to in tape recording as the
point of 3% harmonic distortion.
For many years everyone lived with
audible hiss on recordings, since 65
decibels is hardly sufficient to capture
the full dynamics of most music, which
requires around 100 dB minimum.
George Kiabin has been a recording
engineer for twelve years. He has worked
with the Dolby, dbx, Burwen Noise Filter,
Phase Linear Auto-Correlator, and Kepex
noise reduction systems for many years,
and has engineered countless recordings
with them.
Since tape recorders could not contain
all those dynamics, people learned to
accept hiss as "part of the sound." In
addition, limiters and substantial
manual gain riding were necessary to
"compress" the actual range into the
allowable one of tape. Anyone who attempted to get just a bit more level on
the tape risked greatly increased
distortion, or, in order to accomplish
that greater level, had to record at
very high speeds. Thus it was a great
and important challenge to invent a
method for increasing the dynamic
range of tape recording.
Reduction Introduction
As early as the beginning of the forties, Fairchild [Robins Inds. Corp.]
developed a "compander," a device
which attempted to restore dynamic
range. It was placed between the
power amplifier and loudspeaker and
operated passively on the resistance
characteristic of the filament of a pilot
lamp. In a primitive sense, this was the
first noise reduction unit, because it
attempted to increase the dynamic
range without increasing the noise
level. The device did not work very
well and was really intended for home
use and not for tape recording.
Sometime in the 1950's Scott
unveiled their "Dynaural Noise Suppressor," a device aimed more directly
at reduction of hiss. It rolled off highs
(and with them high -frequency noise)
only when program levels fell below a
preset threshold at which the music
was no longer loud enough to "mask"
the noise. While the device did work, it
also introduced severe "breathing" effects, due to its slow release time
which caused a hiss "trail" to be heard
as the sound faded out. This effect was
often more unpleasant and obvious
than steady hiss which, provided it remains at the same level, becomes ab-
sorbed (psychologically) into the
The main problem with noise reduction systems of the forties and fifties
was the lack of sophisticated
technology necessary to make them
work properly. Later on, also in the fifties, another approach was developed.
Fairchild brought out the "Auto- Ten,"
an automatic attenuator which was
supposed to turn off a signal when it
died down to a settable threshold. The
idea was to aid the engineer when he
had a multiple number of mics or inputs to mix, by adding a third "hand"
to shut off those channels which had
no usable information on them at any
given moment. The unit, of course,
would turn the channels back on immediately upon resumption of any
signal, and do it fast enough to not clip
(distort) any part of the sound. The
device used a solid state, light dependent sensing cell in conjunction with a
variable release time settable by the
user to fade the signal down at various
speeds- depending on the type of
sound being processed. While Fairchild's intentions were good, the
results from the device were not. Often
the device would actually introduce a
horrible type of distortion when the
signal, fading down, got "caught" fluc-
tuating around the threshold point.
This would cause the Auto -Ten to
start and stop fading so quickly that it
sounded as though it were chopping up
the signal. The device also failed in
other situations. For instance, say it
was across a saxophone's mic channel,
and was supposed to turn off the channel when the sax was not playing. A
transient, or continually loud leakage
sound from a nearby instrument would
turn the channel on again, reintroducing the leakage onto the recording.
Setting the threshold higher to compensate for the loud leakage only
caused the unit not to turn off at all.
So the benefits of the device were
limited, and the user had to be careful,
for he could actually degrade the audio
signals rather than improve them.
Noise vs. VCA
Several years later, Paul Buff of
Allison Research developed the
"Kepex " -a device which operated on
the same principles as the Auto -Ten.
However, it benefitted from the advanced technology of the early 1970's
as well as from the invention of the
VCA (voltage controlled amplifier).
The attack time, variable release time
and range settings were all more useful
and functioned more smoothly than
with the Fairchild unit. The Kepex is
still used in many studios because it
successfully reduces noise on certain
types of material, but primarily
because it has an additional feature
from which it derives its name, that being a "keying input." The advent of
voltage controlled amplifiers allowed
the Kepex to be "keyed" on and off by
MAY 1977
an external DC voltage, or by the DC
voltage component of audio signals.
Thus one could create stunning and
novel effects like turning a tack piano
track on and off by the bass drum
track's dynamics; or have one of three
vocal tracks control the stopping and
starting of the other two; or even
creating automatic fades by the introduction of a remote DC voltage.
Though the Kepex is a noise gate, it is
most useful in effects generation, and
has use limitation similar to the AutoTen.
Many imitators flooded the market
with noise gates as technology advanced and VCAs became cheaper. By
the mid seventies there were many
companies making noise gates at a low
price, among them Flickinger with its
"Noise -X" (not to be confused with the
EMT "Noisex" marketed in the fifties
and sixties), Noramp and its "Noise
Reduction Amplifier "; and even MCI
with a noise gate on a plug -in card
ready to fit into their tape decks! It
was only when Ray Dolby, encouraged
by Decca of Great Britian, developed
his "Dolby Noise Reduction System,"
in the mid '60's, that noise reduction
was to become truly acceptable and
reliable for the purpose it was intended
-reducing noise from recordings.
Finally someone had found a way to
remove a significant portion of the
noise while minimally affecting the
sound. A whole new approach was
born -the Before the Fact system. In
the earlier After the Fact types we are
dealing with devices to eliminate or
reduce noise from a pre- recorded
source. With Dolby, as long as the
device was used before the recording
medium to encode the signal and then
again upon playback after the medium
to decode it, 10 to 12 decibels of noise
were eliminated from the recording, effectively giving a usable signal -tonoise ratio of 75 to 77 dB! At the time
Master" or 3M "250" series tapes at
30 ips, with a perfectly aligned, top
quality tape recorder. This doesn't
equal the 77 dB maximum signal-tonoise ratio obtainable with Dolby, but
for purists it at least is a significant
improvement in the overall noise level.
Still, there are serious problems with
these new tape formulations with
regards to reel -to -reel quality control
and print- through level, and these
problems have yet to be overcome.
And, of course, though reduced, there
is still hiss. If in mixing such a tape
one decides to make a significant midrange or high -end frequency boost on
one track, or to add moderate limiting,
all the gains may be defeated and the
signal -to -noise ratio will be lowered to
the vicinity of the usual 65 dB range
thus defeating all the extra efforts to
gain the 6 -7 dB. Those "efforts" include recording at higher levels to obtain the benefits of the new tape formulas, and thereby risking saturation
and greater distortion, doubling of
tape cost to record at 30 ips, the cost
of a machine with 30 ips capability,
and much extra time to critically check
alignment, bias, EQ and levels. If that
isn't enough to discourage many people who do not have the money or time
to have a maintainance man around at
all times constantly checking, two additional evils which plague all tape
recording are still present: asperity
noise and modulation noise. Asperity
nose is created by minute imperfections in the tape surface which are
caused by variations in the size of the
oxide particles of the coating. These
imperfections increase or decrease the
strength of the magnetic field passing
it appeared, the Dolby's additional
dynamic range was regarded as a great
achievement and sufficiently useful so
that, with judicious gain riding, very
quiet clean recordings could be produced. The full dynamics of music still
could not be reproduced, but it was a
great improvement.
However, there is of course the one
great disadvantage of not using noise
reduction -hiss. With the current
state of tape quality, it is possible to
achieve a usable dynamic range of
about 71 -72 dB. This could be done
without the use of noise reduction by
recording on the latest Ampex "Grand
Scott Dynaural Noise Suppressor
the head and result in audible noise,
mostly in the mid- and high-frequency
area. This noise may be present even
when no program is recorded on tape.
Modulation noise occurs when the
asperity noise becomes superimposed
on the signal; sounding like a swishing
sort of background noise which is
mostly audible when there are only
low- frequency signals present. These
lows tend to modulate or change the
level of the higher frequency asperity
which they claim is a great improvement over all other systems
In the After the Fact field, advances
continued to be made as well. The most
significant was Burwen's model 1000
"Noise Filter," the early (and expen-
dbx Noise Reduction System
noise. Fortunately, in many cases both
asperity and modulation noises are
masked by steady state hiss, which, of
course, exists on recordings made
without noise reduction.
Then we have the alternative -using
noise reduction. What does one gain?
In the most advanced systems, such as
dbx or the new Telefunken, the usable
dynamic range increases to 95 -100
decibels, close to the full range
necessary to record most music. There
is no audible tape hiss, and recording
may take place at lower levels, where
tape distortion is lower and the danger
of peaks saturating the tape is nonexistent. Hum, crosstalk and print through effects are also reduced to in-
AD (After Dolby)
The reign of Dolby as the system
allowing the largest amount of usable
noise reduction lasted several years,
until in the early '70's the dbx system
was developed. Since that time we also
have seen introduced the Burwen
model 2000 "Noise Eliminator," a terribly expensive system which delivered up to 110 dB usable dynamic
range, but which was so overpriced it
almost had to fail, as it did several
years ago. People simply weren't willing to spend $6500 for two channels or
over $50,000 for 16 channels. Recently
in late 1976 Telefunken introduced
their new C4 noise reduction unit,
sive) version of the more consumer oriented models 1000 and 1201 which
appeared later. This filter was a great
improvement over
"Dynaural Noise Suppressor," and I
shall discuss it later in this article. In
the past three years, with the incredible developments and lowered costs in
technology, many newcomers have
jumped on the After the Fact bandwagon, including Phillips, with its
"DNL" (Dynamic Noise Limiting),
and Phase -Linear, with its "Auto Correlator."
Pros and Cons
Before I continue by exploring the
After the Fact systems, let's consider
whether there are any tradeoffs in
quality when using noise reduction.
The answer is yes. For those interested
in recording "precisely" the signal
coming into the mics and console on
tape, with minimum changes in distortion and few side effects, noise reduction should not be used. It does cause
slight changes in sound which may be
audible to some people at some times.
I speak of comparing a perfectly
aligned and operating tape recorder
with a perfectly aligned and operating
noise reduction system.
When using noise reduction, the importance of aligning all recording
equipment is greater than normal
because another link in the recording
chain has been added. Proper recorder
frequency response and levels are
critical in the various noise reduction
systems, as errors can be magnified.
There is another tradeoff in using
noise reduction, but it's purely
psychological. It has been proven in
tests that people feel that music
recorded and played back without any
hiss seems to have less highs than the
same music with a steady hiss level. It
also has been proven that, with proper
use of noise reduction, there is absolutely no loss of highs or harmonics.
People simply are still accustomed to
mentally relating the sound of hiss
with high frequency sounds in music.
This is understandable since hiss contains a rich mixture of mid and high
frequencies. On certain sounds such as
a high -pitched cymbal ringing out, the
hiss, which becomes increasingly apparent as the cymbal sound trails off,
seems to be a continuation of that
sound. Remove the hiss completely,
play the same sound again, dying off
into nothingness this time, and a person not familiar with noise-reduced
recordings will probably feel that some
of the harmonics of the cymbal have
been removed or lost.
Fortunately, with the huge increase
in noise reduction use and its growing
popularity in the consumer market,
many people are finally becoming accustomed to and even demanding
noise- reduced recordings in their
homes. Noise reduction is a reality; it
must be dealt with, and I venture to
stick my neck out and say that any
studio owner who wants to do large scale business in recording must at
least learn to use and have available
some sort of effective noise reduction
equipment, whether he likes it or not,
and whether or not he uses it on his
own personal recordings. Recording
has become the creation of an illusion,
and in fact has never been able to
precisely reproduce what our two ears
hear when we are standing in a room.
To achieve that effect one must record
with a human headset binaural mic
directly onto two tracks, perfectly
aligned and with no additional
equalization or processing of any kind,
and monitor only through human
headset type stereo headphones. This
would rather limit the recording and
listening experience. Thus recording
reality is whatever we want it to be,
and we can shape and change that
reality almost infinitely. Noise reduction has a valid and useful place in that
realm. Whatever minimal changes in
the signal noise reduction introduces
are offset by the tremendous gain in
useful dynamic range.
After the Fact
Among the After the Fact devices
which reduce noise on an already
recorded source, there are three main
systems which are most important:
the Burwen Noise Filter, a dynamic
filtering system; the Phase Linear
Auto -Correlator, a different and more
sophisticated approach to dynamic
filtering; and the new SAE "Impulse
Noise Reduction System," which is
designed to remove sharp clicks and
pops from disc sources.
The first of these was the Burwen
Noise Filter. In the early '70's Burwen
brought out the model 1000 Noise
Filter, a very expensive ($3300 for two
channels) device which was a tremendous improvement on the old Scott
Dynaural Noise Suppressor. In the
past, the most effective way to reduce
noise in any frequency range was to
reduce the overall signal level in that
range at a given moment, thus reducing the noise. This approach also
reduced the signal content in the area
affected and often took with it wanted
musical energy. Burwen attempted a
solution by designing a filter which attenuated low and high frequencies
separately when no program material
was present at a certain threshold. As
the high frequency content of the
signal increased, the upper cutoff frequency also increased with it from
1100 Hz to 32,000 Hz. Similarly, low
frequency content caused an increase
in low frequency bandwidth from 350
Hz to 13 Hz. In other words, with no
material present above the threshold,
the Burwen "closed down" to an effective bandwidth of only 350 Hz to 1100
Hz, allowing a tremendous reduction
in hiss and hum-which occurs mainly
outside that region. The most improtant aspect of this design is how quickly (or slowly) the filter responds (opens
or closes) to musical energy at the
preset threshold. To solve this problem, Burwen designed the threshold
device so that the high frequency
filtering began only at -35 dB (below
+4 dBm) and the low frequency filtering began below -22 dB, though both
these thresholds
are somewhat
variable by separate low and high sensitivity controls. Burwen decided on a
frequency of 6.6 kHz for the high end
and 85 Hz for the low end as determiners of threshold level, and energy
around those frequencies really
MAY 1977
indeed remove hiss and hum without
removing highs or lows. However, like
any filter with fixed operating
parameters, there are times when it
can be "fooled." The sensitivity control has to be adjusted by the user and
if not properly done, highs or lows will
indeed be removed, or hiss will breathe
along with the signal. The most severe
tests for this dynamic filter design is
solo piano, flute or cymbals. In some
cases very audible "hiss breathing"
can be heard as the piano or flute
sound decays, and with cymbals
especially it is possible to remove some
of the actual harmonics if sensitivity is
set too high. Remember though, when
listening to a piano, that the sound of
the dampers reseating on the strings
can often be mistaken for "breathing."
To use the Burwen Noise Filter properly it should be connected between
the output of the two channel mix
from the console and the input to the
tape recorder. Thus one mixes through
the device. The easiest method by
which to monitor the effect of the
filter, is to listen to the two -track tape
recorders' input. In home use the filter
may be connected to the tape in and
out jacks on an amplifier, or from
preamp out to monitor amp in.
operated the filter's opening and closing functions. The circuit did respond
to other frequencies as well, but at
much lesser sensitivity. At levels
above the thresholds selected, the unit
had flat response and relied on the
well-known "masking effect" previously described.
The transient response of the
Burwen filter also was critical because
if the attack time were not fast
enough, part of the transients would
be clipped, and if it were too fast it
would respond to impulse noises such
as clicks or pops. The attack time
chosen for high frequencies was one
millisecond, a compromise figure
which seemed to work well. The attack
time for the low frequency section was
of necessity longer -ten milliseconds
so as not to distort any part of a low
frequency waveform. The decay time
of the filter was equally critical -too
fast and modulation of the signal
might occur, too slow and hiss or
breathing effects might be heard. A
decay of 50 milliseconds was chosen
for high frequencies and 500
milliseconds at low frequencies.
In his later and less expensive model
1100, Burwen added the choice of a
faster attack time (400 microseconds)
for tape processing and one millisecond for disc. He added a slower attack
of two milliseconds for 78 rpm records,
with their longer duration impulse
noises. Decay time for the filtering is
also slower at the 78 rpm setting to
allow the filter to remove highs more
gradually. An even more inexpensive
Energy Bundles
Just two years ago Phase Linear, a
company known for its high power
monitor amplifiers, developed a
fascinating new approach to noise
reduction, one which actually sur-
as w
-r TAPo
SAE Impulse Noise Reduction System
consumer version, model 1201, had
much the same function as the 1100,
but with reduced input level capability, making it suitable only for home
use. [The model 1201 has -since
Burwen's recent merger with KLHbeen replaced by a much improved
model 1201A.]
The Burwen Noise Filter works well
in many applications, because it does
passed the usability of the Burwen
filters, and at a very low price. The
Auto Correlator is a development of
the noise filter approach, but one in
which the circuitry actually attempts
to distinguish, electronically, between
noise and signal in the same frequency
bands and at or near the same levels.
Bob Carver, president of Phase Linear,
related the theory behind the device to
Bert Whyte in an article appearing in
Audio magazine in 1975.
"Music energy appears in discrete
energy `bundles' throughout the audio
band and is therefore not continuous.
In addition, if some musical energy appears, for example, at a particular frequency, we know for certain that even
and odd harmonics will exist
simultaneously throughout the pass band, and that energy will not exist
between these harmonics. In other
words, with music we are able to
`predict' where energy is likely to occur, if we know where the fundamental
is, or even if we know where only one of
the harmonics is. Also, and importantly, we know where the energy will not
appear. In other words, music is
coherent, or correlated."
Pure hiss is totally uncorrelated,
thus distinguishing it from music in its
randomness and unpredictable characteristics. The complex logic circuit in
Phase Linear
the Auto Correlator is designed as a
series of "windows" or electronic
gates, each of which controls a certain
frequency range and each of which just
overlaps its neighboring "window."
The gates open or close, depending on
the logic circuit which opens it for any
correlated energy and keeps it closed
for uncorrelated energy. The circuit is
thus actually trying to predict where
the overtone structure of a given
sensed fundamental should be and
open up the proper "gates" to let all
the predicted harmonics through.
Every little "bundle" of energy is being critically examined in real time and
decisions are constantly being made
whether to suppress it by 10 dB, or let
it pass through. There is a threshold
circuit control for the high and low frequencies and it allows the unit to
become increasingly critical in
deciding what to let through and what
to attenuate by 10 dB. If the setting is
too high, the noise will go through; if
too low, some of the music will be attenuated with the noise. In use, the
control is not too critical for most
music, and the unit works amazingly
well. It is most useful on program
material containing moderate to low
levels of hiss or rumble, because in
these instances it effectively removes
enough hiss or hum to eliminate it entirely. It reduces noise across the
bandwidth of 20- 20,000 Hz up to 10
sizeable chunk. On noisier
material, the action of the device
seems noticeable because the hiss level
is moving up and down, and is still
audible even at maximum attenuation,
resulting in a "breathing" effect. This
grainy coarseness in the sound can be
objectionable, and limits the use of the
unit on material with high noise con-
tent. However, for mixdown applications with relatively clean, well recorded music with an existing
signal-to -noise ratio of 55 -65 dB, the
Auto Correlator will add about 10 dB
to that range.
The Auto Correlator has another
function which makes it even more
useful, and which allows an actual increase in dynamic range of up to 17.5
dB instead of the 1 dB for the noise
reduction section alone. This benefit is
derived from the "peak unlimiter" and
"downward expander" section. In simple terms, the peak unlimiter can be
adjusted with a variable threshold to
actually add 1.5 dB of gain to program
peaks. At levels just below these peaks
the gain is unchanged, and during
moderately soft passages the system
gain is changed so that the overall out-
put is altered by
11 dB for
every 10 dB
of change. The cumulative maximum
change is 33 dB for a change of 30 dB,
in a linear expansion mode. Then there
is the downward expander which adds
another 3 dB of downward level drop
during very soft passages. By making
all the expansion operations so small,
no individual one causes noticeable
alteration of the sound, and yet taken
as a whole the improvement in signal
to noise ratio is 7.5 dB. Combine this
with the 10 dB from the auto correlator section and you have 17.5 dB, a
significant amount. Audibly, the effect
is a wider variation in levels than the
original as it approaches the true
dynamics of the music before it was
subjected to the recording process.
There are some drawbacks to the
Auto Correlator too. As previously
stated, very noisy program material
will not benefit from its noise reduction process. Also, the peak unlimiter,
downward expander section can accentuate rather than suppress noise in
noisy program material. The current
model of the unit, available separately
as model 1000, allows only 3V maximum input before clipping, too low a
level for use in some recording applications. This limitation can be overcome
by mixing through the device at lower
levels, then boosting ,levels at the input of the tape recorder. This method
may defeat some of the signal -to -noise
gain of using the unit, but it is still
useful. I have heard that Phase Linear
plans to market a professional version
with higher input and output levels.
The current suggested price of $350.00
for the model 1000 makes it a very attractive and useful addition to any
To gain the most from any dynamic
filtering noise reduction system, one
must be able to record the noise reduced material on some medium,
normally tape, unless one is simply
listening to audio at home. Since the
signal -to -noise ratio of tape is limited,
much of the noise removed by the filter
would reappear on the tape mixdown.
Therefore one should use dynamic
noise filters with some sort of Before
the Fact noise reduction system which
encodes the signal and preserves the
wider dynamic range.
Keep in mind another useful aspect
of After the Fact systems which is unique to their design. They can remove
hiss and hum from any source. Thus
they can be used while recording,
across any instrument or channel
which has objectionable hiss or hum. A
There's a Trouper in every crowd!
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And a Trouper Series Mixer.
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common use would be across a hissy
guitar amp, perhaps one which has a
fuzz pedal or phaser attached to it,
because such units often increase the
noise level. Unavoidable 60 cycle hum
from transformers on a "live" recording, or room rumble from air conditioners can also be successfully
which differ from music and designing
a circuit to sense and eliminate them,
SAE claims it can actually remove annoying pops and clicks and yet not affect the music. The main characteristics of impulse noise are its very fast
attack (rise) and decay (fall) times.
These tiny "spikes" of noise occur
within a matter of microseconds
(millionths of a second); and the SAE
unit has a logic circuit which monitors
the music, constantly searching for the
required conditions of impulse noise as
they have defined it. When an impulse
noise is detected, a command signal is
sent to the impulse removal circuit to
remove the noise by turning off the
signal for an instant. The maximum
duration of any impulse noise that the
unit will work on is one millisecond.
During the instant that the music is
turned off, a music restoration circuit
operates by actually inserting
preceding information into the "gap."
This preceding information is taken
from an analog delay circuit with a fixed delay of 100 milliseconds. The supposed result is a reduction or removal
by as much as 60 dB of the noise
Allison Research Kepex
removed. Just remember to use the
particular filter at the level which it is
designed to work into, so that no
overloading will occur.
Impulse Noise
The latest approach to noise reduction is a device aimed at removing
clicks and pops from records without
affecting the sound. SAE, a company
with a reputation for superb quality
products, has introduced their Impulse Noise Reduction System. Impulse noise is present on any record in
the form of static electricity being
discharged on the needle, minute
gouges or imperfections in the vinyl
surface, and scratches. By finding
those properties of impulse noise
dynamics of the music.
I tried the device with several types
of records -new and old. Ones with
steady hiss from a poor vinyl pressing
(accompanied by ticks and pops); ones
with perfectly quiet surfaces where the
ticks were mainly static discharges;
and various ones in- between these conditions. The only control is a sensitivity slider pot, which controls the level
of noise which is sent to the detection
circuit. The maximum "trip"
threshold is about 200 millivolts.
There also is an important "invert"
feature which allows one to hear only
the ticks and pops being removed, so
that sensitivity can be adjusted. The
idea is to set the unit so that sharp
transients in music, which are very
similar to impulse noises, will not also
be removed with the spikes. In the
"invert" mode one can easily learn to
distinguish the transients from the
noise by their loud, longer "ripping"
sounds. Backing down on the sensitivity level eliminates these transients
from being processed. If the sensitivity is set too high the audible effect on
the music is a slight loss of crispness,
and dulling of the beginning of any
loud sound, such as a trumpet or percussion attack. Setting the sensitivity
even higher can introduce loud ripping
sounds in the music. Lowering the sensitivity will allow all transients to pass
through untouched, but may also
allow many ticks and pops through as
well. One other drawback is that the
noise removal circuit takes a certain
amount of time to "work" -about
three -fourths of a second to one second. Thus any clicks and pops which
are spaced closer than that duration
(SAE says it compares to a one - fourth
revolution on the outer edge of a 12inch LP) will not be removed totally.
The nature of impulse noise is so
varied, in the amounts of attack and
decay time, the phase, amplitude and
frequency relationships, and its confusing similarity with many music
transients, that it seems an impossible
task to take a unit with fixed
operating parameters and ask it to
totally remove only pops and ticks
without affecting program material.
The sensitivity control is critical, and
has to be readjusted often. I found the
unit did not remove many impulse
noises unless it was set so that it also
affected music transients, making it
rather more of a noise "induction"
system than noise "reduction."
An area where this device may prove
useful is in removing tiny clicks on a
tape track during mixing. It may also
be able to remove distorted transients
if you purposely set the sensitivity too
Overall, despite the good intentions
and great reputation of SAE, and the
low price of about $200.00, the Impulse Noise Reduction unit does not
yet seem quite complete. I feel we will
have to wait for further technological
breakthroughs before being truly able
to accomplish what SAE claims the
unit does.
In conclusion, upon reviewing all the
After the Fact systems of noise reduction, their usefulness seems to be
significant in removing some hum and
hiss from music without affecting
sounds, provided they are of the
dynamic filter design. Their relatively
low cost shows that technology has advanced to the point where one can have
the benefit of professional quality at
consumer prices, and I expect that we
shall soon see even more sophisticated
"brains" developed to distinguish
noise from music.
In Part Two, in the next issue, I will
explore in depth the three main brands
of Before the Fact noise reduction
Dolby, dbx and the new Telcom C4. I
will also discuss the methods for getting the best performance from these
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Pre- and Post -Equalization
Now that the graphic equalizer has moved out of the
professional sound reinforcement and recording studio
arena and into the homes of audiophiles, semi -pro
recordists and not-so- sophisticated hi -fi buffs, it might
be a good idea to examine some of the benefits and pitfalls associated with the use of this latest "black box"
add -on.
In its sound -reinforcement applications, equalization has been used in P.A. systems for many years to
permit higher gain- settings on amplifiers in
auditoriums where microphone /speaker feedback is a
problem. Generally, as P.A. system gain is raised
higher and higher, there appear one or more resonant
frequencies which result in the familiar "squeal" or
"howl" that quickly builds up to amplifier (and ear)
overload. Third -octave equalizers can do wonders
here, for even without the aid of expensive real -time
analyzers, a sound contractor can usually identify the
approximate offending frequency or frequencies. Then,
a small reduction of gain at those frequencies, accomplished with the aid of those marvelous lever controls, stops the feedback and permits the system's
gain to be raised another few dB. It is not uncommon
for system gain to be improved by ten or more dB by
careful adjustment always downward -of a few of
the appropriate lever switches. Overall sound system
frequency response is not the issue here. The important thing is to get higher overall P.A. system amplification so that full coverage and intelligibility can be
imparted to the hall or auditorium in which the sound
system is installed. Nor is power output capability of
the sound reinforcement amplifier a problem for, as we
said, in most instances of P.A. system equalization,
the levers are pulled downward and not adjusted to
provide boost at any of the frequency bands available
on the particular equalizer.
Now, let's consider what happens in the relatively
new environment of home or recording studio type
equalizers. I'd be willing to bet that if you own an
equalizer (or know someone who does) and take a look
at the present setting of its many slide controls you
will find that if any of them are not set in their center
or "flat" positions they are probably adjusted to some
level of boost. Possibly, some of the band controls
(usually the lowest bass octave or the highest treble
lever) are even boosted all the way. In the case of most
of the "home type" equalizers, that means a boost at
those end -of- spectrum frequency ranges of 10 or even
15 dB! Intermediate levers (be they at the upper bass,
mid -range or lower treble) will also occasionally be
found set to boost positions -perhaps 4 to 6 dB worth.
About the only levers that find themselves set to
"cut" positions are the lower-mid lever or levers which
are pushed downward to get rid of the typical "standing wave" humps found in smaller listening rooms and
recording studio playback rooms. What effect does
this have on the rest of your playback system?
Let's consider the case of an equalizer which has its
first and second levers pushed up around 10 dB (the
usual excuse is that the woofer of the system just
doesn't have enough output at the lowermost octaves
and you are missing that gut- bass). Suppose your
amplifier has an output power capability of 100 watts
per channel, and you are coasting along at a comfortable, at what you think is a comfortable, average
music power level of around two watts per channel.
Allowing for a 10 dB crest factor in music, when those
loud peaks in the music occur, you'd expect that the
amplifier will be called upon to deliver 20 watts or so.
No problem -so long as that equalizer is out of the circuit. But suppose a peak in the music occurs which
contains primarily those low frequencies which you've
boosted by 10 dB. All of a sudden, the amp is asked to
deliver 200 watts! Since it can't fill that demand, it
goes into severe clipping and overload, producing
something close to a square wave rather than the nice
complex of musical waveforms you're trying to play
back. This severely clipped waveform is fed to your
speakers (which may not even have a 100 -watt rating
for the woofers to begin with, and certainly don't for
the tweeters) and after a while, you find yourself with a
damaged woofer or, more likely, even a damaged
tweeter (since the harmonics produced by those
"clipped" waveforms will find their way to the tweeter
via the crossover network). All of which is hardly the
end result you hoped for when you spent your hard earned dollars on a graphic equalizer in the first place.
Pre -recording Equalization
Normally, most of the graphic equalizers used by
enthusiasts are inserted in the line for use during
playback only. That is, if you are into tape recording,
you would record "flat" and do any "sweetening" during playback. But users of these graphic equalizers
didn't take long to discover that it is a simple matter
to connect from the tape-out (or record-out) jacks of
the amplifier to the input of the equalizer and from the
output of the equalizer to the line inputs of the tape
deck. After all, "That's the way the professionals use
equalizers, isn't it ?" And, as if to encourage that alternate use of a home graphic equalizer, some of the latest
models even have a switch position which permits you
to selectively choose pre- record or post- record equalization without having to disconnect cables. Well, yes,
that is the way equalizers are used in recording
studios, but remember that a professional tape deck
(open -reel) is likely to have as much as 10 dB or more of
"headroom," with reference to the 0 VU reading on its
record level meters. As a result, you are not likely to
get into tape saturation even if you apply fairly substantial amounts of EQ boosting at specific frequency
In the case of home machines, however, (and this applies especially if you are using a cassette deck) record
level meters are already calibrated so that you can't go
much above the "0 dB" reading without hitting maximum tape modulation level or, as it is more commonly
called, tape saturation. This is especially true at the
high frequencies, where saturation occurs first. So,
again, trying to compensate in the extreme for the
response deficiencies of a tape deck by means of pre equalization can turn out to be a futile exercise and one
that leads to high- distortion recordings.. The solution,
of course, is to back off on record -level meter readings
whenever you apply substantial amounts of boost
using such an equalizer.
hi -fi
Post-recording Equalization
Even assuming that you are content to use your new
audio toy as a means of achieving reasonably flat
overall system response during playback (and that includes making due allowance for room acoustics), the
problems inherent in trying to do this correctly are
substantial. To begin with, trying to do the job by ear
is hopeless. Our hearing memory is just too fleeting for
us to recall, with any accuracy, what " 'live' sound"
sounds like at various listening levels. A host of
auditory and psychoacoustic factors cloud our judgment -from the familiar Fletcher- Munson loudness
contour effect, to our own pre- conditioning from having listened to our own systems for so long (and having
been convinced that they are "flat" when in fact they
could be anything but).
If you seriously want to try to equalize your system,
I have found that it takes at least a ten -band equalizer.
That provides independent control on an octave -by-
MAY 1977
octave basis and while it does not give you the degree
of control afforded by a one -third octave equalizer, you
have a fighting chance of coming up with reasonably
flat response assuming your system and room do not
have any really serious "bumps" or "valleys" in their
overall net response. But even if you own a twenty- or
twenty- four -band equalizer, where do you start? The
professional sound contractor doing an EQ job comes
to his assignment with a real -time analyzer, calibrated
microphones, pink noise generators and more. What
does the poor hi -fi enthusiast, or recording fan have
besides his or her own ears.
Recently, Shure Bros. Inc. (the microphone and
phono cartridge producers) came up with a clever product that fits right in with the sudden interest in home
and studio equalization. Everything you need to do a
professional job of correct equalization comes in this
package, known as the model M-615AS Equalization
Analyzer System. This package is about the lowest
priced kit of tricks we have ever seen for doing a first
rate job of equalization. At $429.00, it is practical for a
recording studio to include it in its inventory and, as
Shure suggests, even the serious audiophile may soon
find that Shure dealers are willing to arrange a rental
arrangement for one -time equalization jobs.
The unit consists of a calibrated microphone and the
newly developed Shure M -615 Analyzer box, which
contains a built-in "pink noise" generator and two
rows of LED indicators, each pair of which is responsive to each of ten octaves from 32 Hz to 16 kHz. The
upper LEDs tell you when energy in that octave is too
great (boosted response) while if a lower LED lights,
that means that there is not enough energy in that octave reaching the calibrated microphone. The idea is to
set your equalizer controls until all the lights go off
and when that has been done you are assured of ± 1
dB response on an octave-by- octave basis from 32 Hz
to 16 kHz. The whole job can be done in just a few
minutes, as I learned when I tried it on my own system
in the lab. I also learned that no amount of boosting of
the 32 Hz and 16 kHz levers on my equalizer would
bring those frequencies into line, so rather than boost
those levers to their fullest, I felt satisfied with the
knowledge that at last the response in my listening
room (with a given set of speakers) was flat from
around 50 Hz to 15,000 Hz. That may not be too impressive if you're used to looking at amplifier and
preamp response curves, but in terms of an input -tooutput-to- listening chair location, I'm pretty proud of
it. Interestingly, other than the end 32 Hz and 16 kHz
levers (which I grudgingly backed off to a +6 dB setting in the interest of avoiding the pitfalls I discussed
earlier), all the other octave sliders on my equalizer
ended up requiring no more than ±4.0 dB of adjustment, and most of them even were closer to their mid
positions than that. Yet, even with this moderate
amount of adjustment, switching back and forth between equalized and unequalized listening, the
suddenly- smooth and balanced response I heard was
well worth the effort and the time spent.
Tandberg TCD -330
Cassette Recorder
General Description: Superb performance
bined with fairly unusual and highly useful design
features characterize the new Tandberg model
TCD -330 cassette tape recorder. A three -head
(separate erase, record and play) machine, it provides
for off-the -tape monitoring while recording. The
transport is driven by three motors, and the tape path
goes past two capstans -one before and one after the
head assembly -for improved tape tension and steady
movement. Tape speed is servo -regulated. Operational
modes are controlled by electronic "logic circuits" and
the device employs relatively sophisticated electronics
in place of the mechanical parts formerly found in
cassette decks. This helps things operate smoothly
and reliably, and it minimizes the danger of functional
breakdown. It also makes for, in this unit, fast buttoning (you do not have to stop the transport first
before going from one operating mode to another).
Another nice touch is the option for "flying start" or
"punch -in" recording by means of which it is possible
to go directly from PLAY mode to RECORD mode
without first stopping the tape. The TCD -330 has a
built -in Dolby -B noise reduction system with an
FM /Dolby -copy option, and a MPX- filter switch.
For optimum results when recording with any tape,
the TCD -330 has a built -in azimuth alignment system
complete with a 10 -kHz signal generator and a handy
screw adjustment. Access to these controls is obtained
by lifting a small cover -plate just to the right of the
cassette well.
The meters used here are peak- reading and very
fast -acting. Moreover, they are connected into the circuit after the recording amplifier, which means they
will read the high- frequency boost characteristics of
the EQ networks, thereby showing true peaks and
helping to avoid high- frequency saturation.
A single button selects both bias and EQ for tapes
designated as "normal" (low- noise, high-output ferric
tapes), or "special" (chromium- dioxide tapes and other
newly developed formulations; among these the
owner's manual lists as examples TDK -SA and Maxell
UD -XL). Sizes C -60 and C -90 cassettes may be used,
but C -120 is not recommended. In addition to this tape
button, there are internal adjustments for bias and EQ
that are not intended for regular use but which
together with several other special adjustments -are
described in a separate service manual.
The TCD -330 does not provide for direct, controllable mic /line input mixing. However, mic and line
inputs can be mixed by using the pair of recording-
level sliders to set level for one of these input pairs
while you control the other at some other point in the
overall sound system. If one owns even a rudimentary
mic mixer this arrangement should pose no problem
since all mic mixing can be done on it, while overall
master gain can be set on the TCD -330.
case you forget to eject a cassette before having
turned power off.
The cassette well, under its hinged cover, is at the
right and next to it is the azimuth alignment panel
described earlier. The usual line in and out jacks, plus
an optional DIN receptacle, a remote-control connector, the MPX filter switch, and the line cord are all
found on the rear apron of the unit which would be the
back in a horizontal position or the top if the deck is installed vertically. A removable hinged plate, supplied,
may be fitted over this apron if desired.
Test Results: In terms of both mechanical and elec-
Tandberg TCD -330: Record /play response taken
at 0
and then at
20 dB record level using Maxell UDXL -I
tape. Upper trace (at 0 level) shows tape- saturation
20 level) is more
characteristic; lower trace (at
usual recording level.
trical performance, the Tandberg TCD -330 in sum
noses out all other cassette decks we have tested so
far, and has to be considered the finest yet encountered in these quarters. The logic-control
transport system proved absolutely flawless, and indeed from an operational standpoint, the TCD -330 had
the feel and alacrity of the finest of open -reel decks.
The built -in azimuth alignment option, the highly
useful metering system, and so on, all proved to be extremely effective and contributed, in MR's judgment,
not only to ease of operation but also to superior
cassette recordings.
Measurements of the usual performance areas either
confirmed or went better than the manufacturer's
specifications. It should be pointed out that the TCD 330's record level has been set at 250 nanowebers, or
about 3 dB higher than the "0 dB" point of most other
Although the unit has no pause control as such, its
absence does not hinder in any way cueing or editing
ability, since there is a record pre-set button to show
VU levels, and with this button "in," the machine goes
into the record mode instantly when you press the record button.
Styling is crisp and contemporary: light tinted metal
framed in genuine rosewood side-panels. The TCD -330
may be installed horizontally or vertically with the aid
of attachable little pedestals supplied with it. Pairs of
sliders for separate-channel adjustments of output and
input levels flank the two VU meters. Under the
meters are the control buttons for power off/on; Dolby;
tape selection; memory rewind option; tape/source
monitor; record pre-set. When any of these buttons is
pressed, a small lamp glows above it. To the right of
the input level sliders is the index counter and its reset
Below these controls are the headphone output jack,
the two mic input jacks, and the transport buttons for
play, rewind, stop, wind (fast forward), record and
eject. These are "feather- touch" controls which also
have their own "on" lights. The eject button is part of
the electronic action and so it operates only when the
main power is turned on. However, there also is a
mechanical override eject button at the rear, just in
MAY 1977
Tandberg TCD -330: Same response measurements
were made using Maxell UDXL -II tape, with front
panel bias -and -EQ switch adjusted accordingly.
cassette decks. Dolby calibration therefore is at -3 dB
on the TCD -330's meters, and there is still more than 6
dB of headroom above that level for achieving an excellent dynamic range when recording.
Our lab measurements speak for themselves, but we
went a step beyond with this unit and did some
spectrum -analyzer sweeping and recording to document frequency response on a real -time basis. Since
this machine does have true monitoring facilities, we
were able to record a continuous -sweep frequency
response through the record/playback cycle instantly.
With two kinds of tape, using alternate settings of the
front-panel tape -selector switch as indicated, we got
response that measured, within ±3 dB, better than 30
Hz to 20 kHz.
We also ran special curves to check out the deck's
noise characteristics with the two kinds of tape and
with the Dolby -B switched in and out for each tape. In
each instance, the high-end noise content was really
knocked down. Overall signal -to -noise ratios were just
short of amazing, reaching an incredible 67 dB at best.
The "worst- case" S/N was 55 dB, a figure that is considered a very good mark generally for tape decks.
one styled piece of audio gear whose "cosmetics" have
a subdued, classy look that somehow ties in with its
functions and operational modes. Speaking of which,
can you imagine the satisfaction experienced with a
cassette deck that can be operated with the kind of
ultra -light touch and deftness you might use on a top grade open -reel deck? It's all here: fast -buttoning,
flying -start recording, azimuth alignment, tape/source
monitoring, pre-recording level setting, etc. As for
audio response, our lab test results need only looking
at to verify what this machine can do. I made several
tapes, monitoring source against taped results while
on the move, and no one around at any time during
these dubs could tell the difference between the signal
going into the TCD -330 and the taped results it was
Individual Comment by L.F.: Regardless
price, the TCD -330 is the finest stereo cassette deck I
have yet measured. True, there is a feature or two I
would have liked to have seen incorporated, but this
has nothing to do with its performance which is
outstanding in all the important parameters. In my
view, for instance, the built -in 10 -kHz oscillator used
in adjusting record-head azimuth alignment is the
most effective way to accomplish this important adjustment, which should be done with each side of each
cassette used. Not only does this feature give instant
indication of perfect head alignment (and hence, optimum high- frequency recording response), but it
Tandberg TCD -330: Upper trace is nominal output
level corresponding to record level of + 4 dB (the 3%
THD level for both tapes tested). Lower trace is noise
spectrum. Each vertical division on 'scope graph
represents 10 dB, proving that even without Dolby
the Tandberg has a dynamic range of better than 60
General Info: Dimensions are
181/2 inches wide, 41 /8
inches high, 91/8 inches deep. Weight is 15 lbs., 12 oz.
Owner's manual is outstanding: clearly presented and
amply illustrated. Price: $1,000.
Individual Comment by N.E.: I think the
"beautiful"-which I don't often use in describing
equipment-does apply to the Tandberg TCD -330 very
aptly. This includes everything about it, from the way
it looks sitting installed on a shelf to the way it performs both in making its own recordings and in playing cassettes recorded elsewhere. I chose to install this
unit vertically so that everything showed, and this is
Tandberg TCD -330: Again, upper and lower traces
represent +4 dB record level and accompanying
noise spectrum respectively, this time with Dolby
switched in. Dynamic range is about 10 dB better
than before, and high -end noise content is greatly
provides instant quality control of tape for drop -outs
(which can be clearly seen on the VU meters), and it
even indicates when heads need cleaning (if they do,
the 10 -kHz recorded response drops from the norm,
which again is easily detectable after you've used the
machine for a couple of hours).
The logic -control transport system is a joy to use.
The tape can be "rocked" between fast -forward and rewind in much the same manner as on a professional
open -reel deck. The features that are not included
controllable mic /line input mixing, separate front panel bias and EQ switches and a separate pause
control-are all in one way or another made up for, as
explained in the early portion of this report. In the context of Tandberg's design here, they are not really
"missing items." Anyway, the splendid performance
of the unit and its many positive attributes, is what
matters here -and on this count, the Tandberg
TCD -330 merits a "rave review."
Frequency response (UDXL -I tape)
27 Hz to 20 kHz,
Frequency response (UDXL -II tape)
28 Hz to 21 kHz,
Harmonic distortion at
(tape I /tape II)
-10 VU
-3 VU (I /II)
at 0 VU (I /II)
at +3 VU (I /II)
Recording level for max 3% THD
/1.9 é
+4, either tape
Signal -to- noise, unweighted
w/o Dolby (tape I /tape II)
with Dolby (tape /tape II)
Wow and flutter (WRMS)
Fast wind time (C -90)
67 seconds
Mic input sensitivity
0.15 mV
Line input sensitivity
80 mV
dB/ 57dB
dB/ 67dB
Line output level
Phone output level
5 mW
Burwen Model DNF 1201A Dynamic Noise Filter
General Description:
The model 1201A is an updated and improved verison of Burwen's former model
1201 Dynamic Noise Filter, an electronic device intended for patching into a sound system to remove
audible noise from program sources: tape (open reel
and cassette), turntable or FM tuner. It does so by
"sampling" the high- frequency content from the
source, and adjusts its bandwidth relative to both frequency and signal level. Dynamic filtering by the
1201A is accomplished by the device's generating of a
DC control voltage that constantly regulates the
filter's cutoff frequency.
The front panel has eight controls (seven buttons
and a slider). At the left is the power off /on button.
Centered on the panel are four signal -processing buttons marked "out," "max," "med" and ''min." These
select the degree of signal -processing offered by the
device in accordance with the user's judgment of the
quality of the program material in terms of its noise
content. For instance, the "max" button introduces
maximum signal -processing for relatively high levels
of noise intermixed with the signal, such as old or worn
records, very hissy tapes, noisy broadcasts. The "min"
button provides minimum processing for high quality
source material, and the "med" button introduces an
intermediate degree of action. The "out" button
defeats the signal processing entirely and so it may be
used for "A -B" comparisons, as well as to keep the
DNF 1201A in the sound system on a "stand -by"
To the right of these buttons is the sensitivity slider
MAY 1977
which may be used to increase or decrease the filtering
action with reference to the level selected by the buttons. This slider is flanked by two LEDs, a red one
marked "suppression "; the other, green and labeled
"wideband." The former area of the slider increases
noise reduction; the green LED area decreases noise
reduction. The device is said to be accurately "fine
tuned" when the sensitivity control is in a position
that permits both red and green LEDs to flash on and
off alternately.
The final two buttons, labeled "monitor" and
"pre/post," are designed to allow using the 1201A for
tape recording: the monitor button permits monitoring from the tape; the pre /post button permits the user
to connect (without rewiring) the 1201A before, or
after, a tape recorder used in the system.
At the rear are four stereo pairs of phono signal
jacks to permit patching the 1201A into a system that
includes a tape recorder via the tape- monitor facility of
preamp, amp or receiver so that any source fed into it
can be handled by the 1201A with or without its also
being taped. The output of a tape deck on playback
also can be processed if desired, and tape monitoring is
always available. Also at the rear are recessed input
level screwdriver adjustments. These are factory adjusted for unity gain, but may be changed by the
owner (instructions indicating when this may be required are furnished with the unit). The device's AC
line cord also is at the rear.
With its low silhouette and walnut -veneered case,
the DNF 1201A noise filter presents a neat, contem-
appearance. It may be installed wherever convenient, although it does not have standard rackmount dimensions.
Test Results:
Vis -a -vis the original 1201, Burwen
has improved time constants and also added control
flexibility not found in their earlier unit. The present
version offers three degrees of "attack time" as well as
variations of cutoff frequency. For example, with the
"min" button pushed in, cutoff frequency is set for 9
kHz, and attack time is fast. For the "medium" setting, the 9 kHz cutoff point is retained, but the attack
time is slowed down somewhat to an average value.
The minimum setting reduces the cutoff frequency to 5
kHz and provides for an even slower attack time.
"Static" testing of this device is somewhat iffy since
it does not take into account the unit's attack -time
variability which we regard as one of its advantages.
Nevertheless, MR did devise a few tests whose results
could be shown graphically.
Since the unit's sensing and control voltages are
based upon the sum of signal- information from both
stereo channels (the masking effect of noise works
whether the loud masking signal is coming from one or
from both speakers in a stereo system), MR fed a constant signal into one channel while varying the intensity of a 10 -kHz signal applied to the other channel. We
swept the channel to be photographed (on the 'scope
face of our spectrum analyzer, from 20 Hz to 20 kHz),
and varied the intensity of the 10 -kHz channel in steps
Burwen DNF 1201A: Fig. 1. Varying cutoff filter action due to changing high- frequency (noise) input on
opposite channel. Note: "max" button pressed for
this test.
of 10 dB. The results of three successive frequency sweeps are shown in Fig. 1, which displays how the
filtering action occurs, as per the level of the noise
signal in the "opposite" channel, from full bandwidth
through a cutoff point around 10 kHz, and then down
to about 5 kHz.
Next we removed the fixed-frequency signal from
the non-observed channel and simply varied the intensity of the sweeping frequencies applied to the
observed channel. The data in Fig. 2 show that as
signal level of the latter is reduced, the cutoff points of
the filtering action are reduced from around 10 kHz to
5 kHz or even a bit lower.
Figs. 3 and 4 show the effect of the front -panel sensitivity control set to various positions. In Fig. 3 the
"max" button was pressed; in Fig. 4, the "med" button was used. Note that with the sensitivity control
set for most suppressions, cutoff occurs just below 500
Hz regardless of the settings of the signal- processing
buttons, or of the level of the applied input signals.
This of course is an extreme situation which we never
had to deal with in actual listening tests. The more
significant differences in filter action become obvious
when we compare mid and wideband settings of the
sensitivity control; note that for medium settings of
the switch buttons, cutoff points vary, depending on
the input signal level, and also on the settings of the
sensitivity slider.
In addition to these tests, MR checked the unit
against specs, all of which were confirmed or bettered
except for a measured 5 volts, instead of the claimed 6
volts, for both maximum input level and output level.
More important than this minor discrepancy was the
Burwen DNF 1201A: Fig. 2. Changing input level in
observed channel results in varying frequency cutoff
point. As signal level is reduced, filter cutoff frequencies also are reduced. Note: "max" button
pressed for this test.
device's very low distortion (both THD and IM were
less than specified), and its very good signal -to -noise
ratio (82 dB as compared to the specified 80 dB).
Listening tests also were conducted; these are
discussed under the "individual comments" below.
General Info: Dimensions
(in case supplied) are
inches wide; 25/8 inches high (add about one -half
inch more for rubber feet); 81/4 inches deep. Weight is 8
lbs. Owner's instruction manual is somewhat
sketchy -could be more detailed, explicit and better illustrated. Price: $379.
Individual Comment by L.F.:
The earlier DNF
1201, which I checked out some time ago, did remove
background noise and hiss but in dging so, two effects
also came into play. If the program material was of
wide frequency response but also loaded with hiss, the
single control on the older model had to be pushed to
such extremes that there was a definite degradation of
frequency response. And even at lesser settings I was
aware of a "breathing" or "pumping" effect.
Happily, I find that the new 1201A, which bears little resemblance physically to the older unit, also has
vastly improved performance by at least a whole order
of magnitude.
Burwen DNF 1201A: Fig. 4. Same test as shown in
Fig. 3, but with "med" button pressed.
detracts from full enjoyment of the program. After all,
you cannot Dolbyize or "dbx" a source that already is
noisy, and the Burwen device does offer "one- sided"
noise reduction that is far better than that obtained
with passive filtering. Note too that the Burwen device
does not alter the source's dynamic range, only its
noise content.
Individual Comment by N.E.:
The DNF -1201A
its noise-filtering action than
conventional filters typically found on amplifier control panels in that it can reduce a tremendous amount
of "hash content" to allow the musical signal to
emerge more clearly. However, some high-frequency
signal content also is sacrificed in the process; just
how much likely will depend on the original quality of a
program source and the amount of noise-content that
has been added to it. The three buttons ( "max,"
"med" and "min" ), and the sensitivity slider do provide options for adjusting the filtering action but finding just the right combination of settings may take a
fair amount of fiddling with these controls. It is very
difficult to say -perhaps more so than for a lot of
audio devices whether this unit will appeal to one or
not. I suggest that anyone who is in the market for a
dynamic noise filter check the Burwen device out for
is audibly superior in
Burwen DNF 1201A: Fig. 3. Traces show effect of
sensitivity slider when set to extreme left, mid
position, and extreme right for different signal
levels. Note: "max" button pressed for his test.
It is of course still possible to misadjust the device
that it slices into musical material and also so that
pumping and breathing can be heard. But in my view,
such misadjustment with the new unit would be the
user's fault, not that of the DNF. Our test -result
'scope photos show some of the variations of effect
that are possible with the 1201A. Actually, this very
great variability might discourage the first -time user
who fails to experiment sufficiently with the unit. In
our listening tests we used everything from old, poor quality 78-rpm discs and ancient hissy tapes to latevintage discs that had hardly a trace of surface noise.
For each source we were able to find a combination of
pushbutton and slider settings that removed significant amounts of noise without audibly affecting
musical content.
It would seem that the principle of dynamic filtering,
as exemplified by the Burwen DNF 1201A, is a handy
solution for audiophiles who want to listen to source
material that has so much noise content that it
MAY 1977
Frequency response
Minimum bandwidth
down by
Maximum input level
THD, 20 Hz to 10 kHz (at max. sens)
IM distortion
Internal nose ratio (below
dB at 2.5 kHz.
dB, 15 Hz to 25 kHz
5.0 V
5.0 V
from 0 dB, adjustable to +10 dB
Maximum output level
Gain at
-3 dB at 500 Hz;
-10 dB all
Maximum bandwidth
82 dB
biamp Systems EQ /210
Graphic Equalizer
General Description: The model EQ /210 from
biamp Systems, Inc. is a dual-channel graphic
equalizer that may be used as a stereo unit or as two
independent mono devices. Each channel has ten
bands of equalization with center frequencies at 32 Hz,
1 kHz, 2 kHz, 4 kHz, 8
kHz and 16 kHz. Each band is adjustable via its own
front -panel slider over a range of ±15 dB. In addition
to the ten sliders each channel has its own gain slider,
and an in -out switch to defeat or introduce the
equalization. These all are arranged across the front
panel in logical, symmetric fashion with a power
switch centered between the sliders. Next to the gain
slider on each channel is an LED overload indicator for
that channel.
The equalizer band sliders are calibrated from 0 to 15
(each way) in markings of 3 dB. The gain sliders are
marked (each way) in steps of 2 dB from 0 to 10. The
front panel is flanked at either end by metal flanges for
standard rack-mounting.
Signal connectors at the rear all are standard 1/4inch phone jacks. There are eight in all -four per
channel -to accommodate unbalanced and balanced
lines for input and output. The balanced inputs and
outputs are transformerless in the interest of low -noise
operation, and permit the EQ/210 to be interfaced with
standard recording studio and broadcast equipment,
as well as with mixing consoles. The unbalanced
(single -ended) inputs and outputs enable the device to
be used with standard PA equipment, musical instruments, power amplifiers and normal home hi -fi
components. The AC line cord, also at the rear, is a
heavy duty cord terminated in a three -prong plug, the
64 Hz, 125 Hz, 250 Hz, 500 Hz,
kind with a grounding prong. The EQ /210 draws 20
watts during operation.
The EQ /210 is described as a fully professional
graphic equalizer, offered for use in portable or fixed
sound reinforcement, recording studio, with musical
instruments or home hi -fi systems. Its applications include feedback suppression and room equalization,
various options for modifying sound for greater clarity
and frequency balancing, and -if desired -to create
special effects.
EQ/21O: Rear Panel View
Test Results:
The biamp EQ /210 is without doubt
one of the superior ten -octave graphic equalizers
presently available. It produces its claimed performance, with super -low distortion (THD measured
was a mere 0.004 %!), excellent frequency response,
high signal -to -noise ratio and practically no interaction between adjacent octave controls. The peak LEDs
lit up when output levels reached 6 volts, thus giving
ample warning that line levels were incorrectly set,
well before actual clipping at 8 volts rms took place.
At all lower output levels, THD remained remarkably
low regardless of whether individual sliders were
boosted, attenuated, or left on "0 dB" position.
The settings of the octave sliders, shown on the
front panel in Fig. 1, were used to obtain the frequency
response characteristic shown in our 'scope photo, Fig.
2. Good correlation may be observed between the
graphic configuration of the front -panel controls and
the actual response obtained. Additional tests by MR
confirmed the claimed range of each slider, as well as
the accurate calibrations for boost and cut settings at
the various specified center frequencies. MR also was
other than the fact that the unit contains what biamp
calls "gyrator" inductor circuitry (no physical coils are
needed since an IC op-amp employing negative feedback presents the equivalent of the required inductance in each active filter). Instructions and suggestions for using the EQ /210 are limited to a few
paragraphs about room equalization, special effects,
and its use in recording to "bring up harmonics in instruments and subdue others." Hardly a definitive
treatise on the use of an equalizer. An equalizer that
performs as well as this one deserves a more comprehensive manual.
Individual Comment by N.E.: Without a doubt
EQ /210: Fig. 1. In one test, controls were set in
random pattern on each channel.
the EQ /210 is one of the best graphic equalizers now
available. Equally without a doubt, its producers could
use the services of a professional tech writer and illustrator to better present information and operating
directives for the device. One who has had experience
before with equalizers probably could make do with
the skimpy instructions furnished, but a first -time
user might find them less than completely helpful. Be
that as it may, the EQ /210 is a first -rate, well desighed, and top -performing device in its class.
biamp EQ /210: Fig. 2. Photo of 'scope pattern shows
actual frequency characteristic produced by settings of Fig. 1.
favorably impressed with the excellent isolation between the two channels of the unit, confirming another
of the manufacturer's claims -that the device could be
used, if desired, as two separate mono equalizers for
separate single -channel systems and sound sources.
The EQ /210, in short, is in every way a professional grade equalizer.
General Info: Dimensions are 19 inches wide (standard rack-mount); 31/2 inches high; 51/4 inches deep.
Weight is 5 lbs. Price: $229. Owner's instructions: adequate but somewhat skimpy.
Individual Comment by L.F.:
There is little to
criticize when evaluating a graphic equalizer. It either
does its frequency -tailoring job well, or it doesn't. The
biamp EQ /210 assuredly does. What surprised me
somewhat, however, was the rather amateurish
owner's manual supplied with the unit. It contains no
schematic diagram, and little discussion of circuitry
MAY 1977
biamp EQ /210: Fig.
tave, of the EQ /210.
EQ /210
Control range, octave by oc-
Number of octaves /channel
Center frequencies
32, 64, 125, 250, 500,
2 k, 4 k, 8 k and 16 kHz
Gain, all controls set at 0 dB
Inputs and outputs, terminations
Output lead impedance
Input impedance
Maximum boost or cut per octave
Frequency response, controls set flat
THD, unity gain, controls flat,
1.0 V in and out
Maximum output level
Signal -te -noise ratio
-3 dB unbalanced; 0 dB balanced
transformerless balanced, and
conventional unbalanced
600 ohms or higher
50 k ohms, balanced or unbalanced
15 dB
dB. 6 Hz to 45 kHz
+24 dBim
(8 volts, unbalanced)
84 dB below
By Jim Ford and Brian Roth
Microphones for Sound
There are stacks of technical papers written about
recording and sound equipment, and in the majority of
instances the specifications given include all the information necessary for a sound engineer to make
evaluations and decisions concerning the use of the
equipment. However, in several areas it is very difficult for the young soundman to get a direct relationship between the written specifications and the
resulting sound. One area that is particularly confusing is microphones. So, here is a short summary of the
most common microphones used currently in the concert sound reinforcement field. This information
should give the aspirant a good starting point and help
him save time and money.
The Shure SM -57 and SM -58 microphones are today,
probably the most widely used "live" performing vocal
mics. There have been many large rock concerts at
which 19 out of 20 microphones were SM-57s and 58s.
(Usually the 20th microphone was a condenser mic
suspended over the drums.) The success of this particular series of microphone is due to their performance on the "live" rock and roll stage -which can
be a very difficult situation. The general
characteristics are:
A. Cardioid or unidirectional pattern: These mics are
more directional than usual and consequently they
provide an increased amount of gain before feedback
side effect due to this procedure and the microphone
design is that these mics are excellent at rejecting bass
from a distance. This helps minimize the leakage of
sound from the stage instruments and vocal monitors
into the vocal mics.
C. High frequency boost: A slightly rising high frequency response above 2,000 Hz adds brightness
which helps to give the vocals a nice crisp sound.
D. Dynamic: Reasonably rugged for traveling sound
The conclusion is that the combination of the tight
Most Common Sound Reinforcement Microphones
1. Shure
2. Sennheiser
3. Sennheiser
4. Beyer
SM -57, 58, 56
MD -421
MD -441
M -500
C -451E
ECM -22P, ECM -33P
when compared to the average cardioid microphone.
B. Proximity effect: This is a characteristic of most
cardioid microphones. As the sound source is moved
closer to the mic, the bass response is increased in comparison with the other frequencies. What does that
mean? When you sing closer to the mic, the sound is
more bass heavy, and this is the effect desired by most
vocalists because it makes them sound "bigger." The
majority of all rock vocalists take advantage of this
and use their microphones closer than two inches. One
Dynamic, cardioid
Dynamic, cardioid
Dynamic, super -cardioid
Ribbon, hypercardioid
Condenser, cardioid
Condenser, cardioid
Approx. Cost
90.00 to 118.00
No longer available
cardioid pattern to help with feedback and leakage, the
bass boost when working the mic close, and the high
frequency boost gives the sound that most pop
vocalists want.
Now, the two Sennheiser mics and the Beyer ribbon
show the same general characteristics and give the
same type sound. The MD -441 differs in that it is a little brighter sounding and it has a five position bass cut
The Sennheiser MD -441 is an excellent microphone
and is also widely used in recording studios. It is a
super -cardioid which means it is more directional than
a regular cardioid microphone. A test in a "live" sound
environment will show that more gain before feedback
is possible with this mic than with the SM -57 and
SM -58. It has a five position bass cut filter and a single
position high frequency boost switch. One last point is
that the MD -441 has an excellent extended high frequency response that makes it useful for many other
applications besides P.A. vocals.
The Beyer M -500 ribbon is the most recently ac-
because of their low distortion, extended high frequency response and ability to accurately respond to transients. What did that mean? They sound good when
the soundman wants a lot of clean high frequencies!
Probably the most used mic in this category was the
Sony ECM -22P electret condenser which was superb
for $99.50. Unfortunately Sony discontinued the mic
about two years ago. The Sony ECM -22P was replaced
with the Sony ECM -33P [which in turn was replaced
by the ECM -33F] electret condenser, but this mic was
also discontinued approximately six months ago.
Three good options to the Sony mics are the AKG C501 (C -505) electret condenser; Sennheiser MKE -402
electret condenser; and TEAC ME-80 (ME -120) electret condenser. All of these microphones are electret
condensers and operate with batteries. They range in
price from $80.00 to $157.00.
In the higher priced category of condenser
microphones, the AKG C -451 has been a regular choice
($229.00). This mic is well accepted in the recording industry and as a result has been put to good use in
sound reinforcement. The general characteristics
are -low distortion, linear and extended frequency
response and uniform cardioid pattern. A microphone
of this type will most likely give good results on
acoustic instruments. One small problem, however, is
that this mic requires a D.C. power supply for operation. Some condenser mics will operate with batteries
or a power supply, and this feature should be examined
prior to purchase.
Now, as long as soundmen have opinions (did you
ever know a soundman that didn't have an opinion?),
there will be favorite microphones and techniques.
Variety and experimentation is at the heart of the
music industry, and it is recommended that the sound-
SM -57
cepted mic in the sound reinforcement field and
because of its exceptionally smooth sound, it is quickly
becoming a top choice of soundmen and performers.
This mic exhibits the same proximity effect and
presence boost as the Shure mics but is slightly more
directional and is smoother sounding.
Soundmen are famous for carrying a box of "tricks"
around with them and usually this includes several
condenser microphones. Most often these mics will be
used for drums, acoustic guitar, piano, strings, etc.,
MAY 1977
man feel free to use his imagination. Critical listening
should be the final and best test.
There are numerous other microphones that will give
excellent results. Try these: Electro-Voice RE -10, 11,
15, 16, DS-35; AKG D -202E, D -224E; Beyer M -160;
Neumann KM -84, U -87, U -47; Sony C -37. Also, direct
boxes for guitar and bass, and electrostatic pickups for
piano are in wide use. Next time a rock concert is in
town, look closely!
Reviewed by:
AUTOMATIC MAN: Automatic Man.
[Lou Casablanca, Automatic Man, producers; Keith Harwood, Chris Kimsey,
engineers; recorded at Island Studios,
London, England.] Island ILPS 9397.
and 4 albums on the Billboard charts
in recent weeks." Really. Atrocious
English aside, the equipment used to
record this album may be state of the
art, but to presume that the state of
the engineer's art can be dictated by
chart success is ridiculous. I don't
know any of the five million -plus people who bought the Frampton album
solely for its mix.
The truth is that the engineering on
Automatic Man is sloppy. The album
opens with a noisy wall of sound that
sounds like Jimi Hendrix as produced
in mono by Phil Spector -flat, muddy
and too much going on at once.
"My Pearl" almost makes it, but the
vocals are too deeply buried. The emphasis throughout most of the album
is on musicianship, which is certainly
there, but the indistinct vocals and
heavy -handed material leave the listener unfulfilled. With more economy,
Performance: Pretentious
Recording: Sloppy
From the press copy on Automatic
Man: "The engineering by Keith Harwood (Rolling Stones and Led Zep-
especially with master keyboardist
pelin) and Chris Kimsey (Peter Frampton) is literally the state of the art.
This is most dramatically demonstrated that albums engineered by those
two engineers were the top number 1, 2
Bayete's synthesizers, the advanced
musicianship could have been more fully realized.
Rock and Roll Alternative. [Buddy
Buie, producer; Rodney Mills, engineer;
recorded at Studio One, Doraville, Ga.]
Polydor PD 1 -6080.
Performance: Flawless
Recording: Close to perfect
The Atlanta Rhythm Section is an
often -underrated sextet of former session musicians from Georgia whose individual histories intertwine with
those of much of the region's music.
Yet when the phrase "Southern Rock"
is mentioned, ensembles with far less a
grasp of harmonic basics are often
thought of first. Admittedly, there are
bands with more surface spunk and
flash, but the Rhythm Section's forte
seems to be in the opposite directions- lyrical and musical subtlety, an
absence of braggadocio and a presence
of intricate melodic ideas.
This release, sixth in a line of superb
ARS issues, provides no departure
from the band's high standards. Indeed, lingering imperfections have
been expunged. There is a total lack
here of any excess, be it instrumental
or vocal. Each track is eminently
hummable and memorable, while being
a credible representation as well.
You'll never find these musicians
getting in each other's way. The
musical phrases are uncluttered, crisp
and free of garage-band flash and
rhinestone macho. Guitarist Barry
Bailey, whose betters in the rock world
could be counted on one hand and his
peers on two, is the ultimate versatile
picker. Raunchy and mean on a faithful resurrection of Robert Johnson's
"Outside Woman Blues," but soft and
sensuous on the alluring "So In To
You." Bassist Paul Goddard, who also
garners a good deal of acclaim, constantly affirms his unique trait of being creative within a precise
Recorded at Studio One, a futuristic
sound factory located in an Atlanta
suburb, A Rock and Roll Alternative
benefits greatly from the capacity of
the plant to sketch passing moments
in the minutest detail. Studio One
recordings are known throughout the
industry for their clarity and
distinction- although low profile the
work of drummer Robert Nix is audiMAY 1977
Have you been impressed tin the past) with a so called "pro series " of equipment.
only to find that once the tinsel and glitter has worn off, all that's left is a toy?
If so, HEIL SOUND could be the answer to your audio dilemma. Since 1970
we've been producing rugged and reliable touring gear for such discrete
professionals as The Who, Peter Frampton, Joe Walsh, BTO, and a host of other
major concert artists. HEIL knows what it takes to do a quality job on stage and
has just created a line of equipment that rivals any in the industry at a price that
will please even the most modest budget.
The "Professional Series" of amplifiers uses the same "Mod- U -Pac" plug in
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spare side of your amp for instant repairs on the gig.
ir.106ne1!f :1f';
Our new and exciting 8 channel mixer is a low impedence cannon type with unbalanced inputs. Bass
and treble controls are ± 20dB for superior EQ. The
effects are preEQ and levels from the main or effects
outputs are monitored by a high quality 4" lighted
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This dual channel graphic equalizer has 10 bands and
is now available at a very favorable price, in fact we
assure you that there's no better value on the market
today. It's black anodized with a standard rack mount
panel and comes equipped with level controls for each
channel and defeat switch.
PRO -100
PRO -200
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Featured here is a two way electronic crossover model
with 800 HZ 12dB pre -octave and separate level controls for high and low outputs. Also contained in this
unit is a 19" x 1'4" black anodized, standard rack
Included in this package is a dual channel 85 watt (per
channel) unit at .1% dist. and 4 ohms per channel using our Omega 100 series plug in modules. Balanced
line inputs, binding post outputs and a black anodized
19" x 3%," standard rack mount panel are also standard.
Presented here is a dual channel power amp with 150
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outputs and a black anodized 19" x 5'/" standard
rack mount panel round out this package.
Our top of the line model is loaded with 250 watts
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inputs, binding post outputs and 19" x 7" standard
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Heil Sound Company
No. 2 Heil Industrial Drive
Marrissa, Illinois 62257
Phone 1- 618 -295 -3000
Today's Equipment
Deserves Tomorrows'
SYSTEM 700 by BSC.
Before You Buy ..
MI rttaaw MUM
ble and crystal clear. Recorded
less prestigious venue, his whispering
flourishes would be muted, but here
they are interwoven
without the crutch of an overmix. The
highs too, are uncommonly vivid, encapsulating a package which approaches absolute perfection.
Consider BSC
DON CHERRY: Don Cherry. [Corrado
Bacchelli, Beppe Muccioli, producers;
Kurt Munkacsi, Michael Mantler,
engineers; recorded at Basement
Recording Studios, N.Y., Grog
Woodstock, N.Y.] Horizon 18.
Performance: In and out
Recording: Gimmicky but good
we've got equalization all togetherand all of us are dedicated to helping
you improve the sound of your fine
stereo system.
Equalizers are used everywhere in the music
making chain. by live performers, recording
studios, mixing consoles, AM and FM stations,
and so on. In every step, each of the engineers use equalizers to make the music sound
the way they think it should sound So after
everyone else makes the music sound the way
they like it, it's up to you to use that same
the equalizer
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the way you like it to sound in your own home.
We also include all the accessories and fea
tures that are a must to make equalizing
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An environmental do -ityourself test record edited and announced by
Soundcraftsmen especially for use with the
Soundcraftsmen Equalizer
ComputoneCharts for making a record of, and resetting
'n seconds, any desired EQ curve ... a Full
channel Frequency-Spectrum -Level Control on
each channel, for instant "no distortion"
n /out balancing... Light- Emitting -Diodes
'or precise visual signal level balancing ... A
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Specifications: S /N: better than
96dB @ 2V. RMS
THD: less than .1%
@ 2V... Filter type: Toroidal and Ferrite Core.
TION porn"
Instructional Test Instructions
Room E uali:Atinn
fla. If.a+. 'a +
,--..... -r+-
Only Soundcraftsmen offers you a choice of six
select the equalizer that best matches
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Don Cherry is an enigma. One
minute he's as melodic as anyone could
wish and the next he can take his
listeners out to freak city. He is a
modern renaissance man coming out of
so many bags that he doesn't stand
still long enough to hang a category on
him. This is to his credit because every
listener can hear something in his
music, but it can work to his detriment
as well, since no two people will
necessarily hear the same thing. Don
Cherry's music is a well where all may
come and drink but some will go away
more satisfied than others.
The engineering is a bit on the rocky
side using devices foreign to the
average jazz recording such as heavy
echo, digital time delay and tapes of
altered speed. Still, I can't call it
dishonest. What the producers and
engineers set out to do, they accomplished. They made a recording of
a jazz musician with a decidedly rock
sound to it.
Interestingly enough, the two bass
tracks by Charlie Haden were not overdubbed. Charlie played the part once.
It was picked up acoustically by a
studio microphone and electronically
by a contact mic which was put
through a wah -wah device giving the
effect of a doubling of the bass line.
It's a gimmick, but it's a clever gimmick, tastefully used.
MEL LEWIS: Mel Lewis and Friends.
[John Snyder, producer; Thad Jones,
musical supervisor;
Tony May,
engineer; recorded at Generation
Manufactured in California, U.S.A. by Soundcraftsmen, 1721 Newport Circle, Santa Ana,
For name
Sound, N.Y.] Horizon 17.
OTARI MX-5050 the original
(and still the best)
compact professional recorder
Just over two years ago, Otari
introduced a unique new product
-the first truly professional
recorder in a compact package
the MX -5050. Since then, the
performance and reliability of this
innovative new machine have been
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thousand critical professional
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worldwide. Universal acceptance
and repeat orders by these
satisfied customers tell this
remarkable recorder's success
story better than we can.
Production Features: Creative
production is simplified with:
Front panel edit to spill tape.
Lift-up head cover to mark splices
and clean heads. Built -in splicing
block on head cover. Adjustable
cue to defeat head lifters. Selective reproduce to add new tracks
in perfect time synchronization.
Two speed operation, 15 and 71/2
or 71/2 and 33/4 ips (field changeable in dc servo versions).
Performance Features: Headroom
is 19 dBm, a full 15 dBm over the
switch selectable fixed output
of +4 dBm. This standard reference
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dBm to drive a PA
switched to
system or power amplifier.
S/N ratio is NAB weighted 69 dB
full track, 68 dB half track,
and 65 dB quarter track. Crosstalk
is greater than 60 dB half track.
Outputs are 600 ohm balanced
(standard on half track) or
unbalanced. Line input and output
connectors are XLR.
Bias can be re- optimized in seconds.
As you compare the MX -5050
with other recorders, keep this in
mind. The MX -5050 is not a hi -fi
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features, and field proven reliability
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Here are some of the key
reasons why the MX -5050 is the
best compact recorder available
Operating Features: Bias is
front -panel continuously adjustable
(not limited to fixed positions).
With built -in test oscillator (not
available on other compact
professional recorders) bias can
be optimized in seconds when
changing tape. Record EQ and
standard reference level are also
front adjustable. Straight -line tape
path simplifies threading. Capstan
is located on back side of tape
for improved tape life. An extra
reproduce head is standard on
all versions to allow playback
of tapes in different formats.
For pitch control and freedom from
power line variations, an optional
dc capstan servo is available
with ±10% correction range.
Easy threading; capstan on back side.
Versatility: Available
in full -track
(with half -track reproduce capability
standard), two -track, and quartertrack versions. Walnut case
(standard), rugged portable road
case, rack mounting adaptor,
or floor console. Universal power
supply standard. Low impedance
input and output transformers and
remote control also optional
See your nearest Otari dealer
for the full story or contact Otari.
And, if it's multichannel you need,
ask about the standard -setting
four and eight channel versions
of the MX -5050.
Otari Corporation
Otari Electric Co., Ltd.
Industrial Road
San Carlos, Calif. 94070
4 -29 -18
(415) 593 -1648 TWX: 910 -376 -4890
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By 1956, when Sonny Rollins appeared alongside Clifford Brown in
Max Roach's band, Sonny was already
an extraordinary presence on the jazz
scene. Although shaped by Coleman
Hawkins, Sonny became an original
early. There was the extraordinary
cohesion of his brilliant, daring solos
( "A
master of 'thematic improvisation' " wrote Gunther Schuller about
him in the early '50's). And the Rollins
sound -instantly identifiable and yet
containing so many glints and explosions of so many different colors. In
addition, there was his sense of time.
Sonny did so much more than swing.
Implying such swirling pyramids of
counter -rhythms that he didn't really
need a rhythm section. And then the
piercing intelligence of the man, often
sardonic but also careeningly playful.
Before he was thirty, Sonny was a jazz
In 1959, he disappeared for two
years in order to really explore himself
and his music, for Sonny is chronically
self-questioning. Some years later, he
exiled himself a second time. But now,
Sonny says, he's back for good. ( "I
don't have that much time left. ") And
in his newest Milestone release, The
Way I Feel Sonny is again magisterial. Bestriding a largely electrified
rhythm section and, except for two
selections, an assembly of nine horns,
Sonny is in thoroughly resilient control of himself and his horn. (Or, as he
once put it, "Sometimes I'm able to
step outside myself and hear what I'm
playing. The ideas just flow. The horn
and I become one.")
On ballads and up -tempo drives, the
Rollins presence is enveloping, pulling
you into the vortex of his emotive
ideas. His sense of time is even more
resourceful than before. His sound is
as powerfully authoritative as that of
his onetime mentor,
Factory Direct Prices
By Nat Hentoff
Instrumentation equipment at incredibly LOW
Sonny Rollins and
Long- Distance
Hawkins; and his improvising continues to consist of leaps of imagination which, in retrospect, appear to
have been part of an unerring prior
design. And always, listening to him, I
hear the jazz equivalent of what
novelist Thomas Wolfe used to call
"the goat cry " -an unabashed affirmation of life, sensual life.
The engineering focuses on Rollins,
and he comes out of the speakers in the
full spectrum of his sonic colors. (I do
wish, however, that the brass had been
brought up more.)
A superbly engineered session-its
crisp, finely balanced clarity enhancing the lyrical subtlety of the
players -is Teddy Wilson and His All
Stars (Chiaroscuro). Like Rollins,
Wilson, of course, is a long-lasting jazz
presence -less overwhelming than
Rollins but swiftly, clarifyingly compelling. Also present is the wittiest of
all jazz trombonists, Vic Dickenson,
who, like Rollins, cannot be narrowed
into a category. Trumpeter Harry
Edison plays with more fresh zest and
invention here than in some time, and
the increasingly impressive Bob
Wilber is on soprano and clarinet. Major Holley and drummer Oliver
Jackson complete the buoyant rhythm
This Wilson set is one of the most
relaxed and yet authoritative sessions
of classic jazz improvising to be
released in some months. Like
Rollins -but in different, more floating
ways -it'll make you feel good. (The
way the rhythm section has been
recorded -light, full and clear
heightens that good feeling.)
[Orrin Keepnews, producer; Eddie Bill
Harris, engineer; recorded and mixed at
Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, Ca. and
Total Experience Recording Studios,
Los Angeles, Ca.] Milestone M -9074.
TEDD WILSON: Teddy Wilson and
His All Stars. [Hank O'Neal, producer;
Fred Miller, engineer; recorded at
Downtown Sound, New York City.]
Chiaroscuro CR 150.
Soundcraf- Ser e! 2 Mi ers.
ibeatable eersatility.ImmacLlate spif cations.
Six standcrd consoles:12 /4;12/8;1E4;154;
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repatching. Cirect line outputs -rom ecch irpit
channel, pre- and post -fade.
Four indeaendent auxiliary mixes, :re- a,
Options include VU or Peak Progrcmne
metering, sweep frequency equalisation, Pemy &
Gles conducive plastic faders and spe`ial
modifications for 16 and 24 track opera-ion.
THD u 1K-iz and +4dBm less than 3.02 %.
Max mic gain 90dB. Relative input noise
-128dBm(200a ).Max output +22dBm intc 80)0.
And if you need studio quality on the road.
well sell you an aluminium flight case as
Sourdcra't Electronics Limited
Great Sutton St London EC1V OBX England
Telephone 01- 2513631 Telex 2198
5 -8
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Soundcrcft North America Divis on
P.D. Box 883 JFK Station
Jcmaica Nev., York 11430 USA
TE (212) 528 8158 Telex 01-2203
Performance Straight ahead jazz
Recording: Honest but a bit fuzzy
around the edges
Simultaneous display - TEN one octave bands -31.5 Hz to 16 kHz
Light Emitting Diode readout
Meets ANSI 1.11, Class II for
Octave Band Fi ter Sets
Fully calibrated in dBspl
dBspl Line Input -calibrated in dBm Flat or A- weighted measurements Hand held- battery operated (rechargeable nickel- cadmium
Precision microphone, carrying case, noise generator,
battery charger included
Basically jazz musicians get
together to blow. This session just
happened to be at Generation Sound
and Tony May opened the mics so we
could eavesdrop.
There are
heavyweights like poll winning
trumpet and flugelhorn player Freddie
Sound system set -up
Noise surveys
Octave equalizer
Speaker checkout
Horn alignment
:Room surveys and
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ALSO: Active and passive
equalizers Other real time
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\ /1,
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Hubbard and lesser knowns like
former Woody Herman saxophonist,
Greg Herbert. The feel is free and loose
and the recording communicates the
relaxed and easy feeling especially
when Hubbard turns his lyrical
flugelhorn loose on Thad Jones' "A
Child Is Born." This is Freddie's second go at the tune. The first was on a
Richard Davis date for BSAF some
years ago. Freddie mellows with age.
So does Thad's tune.
Since it's Mel's date, he gets to do
his tasty bit on drums. Nobody's
brush work is more subtle and sensitive than Mel's and Tony May's
engineering captures it crisply. It fairly bristles from the speakers. I wish
the same presence had been brought to
bear on Hank Jones' piano work. It's
close but no bull's eye.
My main cause for complaint is
something that is in danger of happening any time a record company feels
generous enough to try to give the
listener a bargain and put more than
twenty minutes on one side of an LP.
The closer you get to the label, the fuzzier the sound. It's too bad that the
clarity deteriorates on the version of
Charlie Parker's ode to his pusher,
"Moose The Mooche," which closes
side one because everything was going
so well and Hubbard was playing like a
man on fire.
GEORGE BENSON: In Flight. [Tommy
LiPuma, producer; Al Schmitt, Don
Henderson, engineers; recorded at
Warner Bros. BSR 2983.
Performance: Husbanded talent
Recording: Aborted in flight
At approximately the same time in
their respective careers, George Benson and Wes Montgomery went commercial. With the exception of Benson's singing, the changes in stylistic
content went the same route.
Although Benson's style is clearly influenced by Montgomery and Charlie
Christian, not until his move to
Warner Bros. did he lack fire and zeal
in his play. Apparently his guitar is
now taking a back seat to his singing
and the success of "This Masquerade"
has sealed his fate. George sings on
four of the six tunes featured, and they
all have schlocky string arrangements.
The arrangements are all the same
string intros giving way to a nondescript bottom, then guitar and
funky Rhodes. The mix is bland and
unchanging, not even worth mentioning. The intent is to create a pop album
in the formula of the platinum selling
"Breezin'." Don't expect the next
album to be any different, either. I
remember before his death, that
Montgomery came to regret his commercial success, for he no longer could
play what he wanted. I wonder if Benson will be content when it's all over to
own a Mercedes and play Vegas. G.P.
At those rare and magic times, when the heavens are in proper alignment, a
wonderful old Wizard visits this planet from the Land of Ohm. With fires he brings
marvelous extraterrestrial electronic devices to delight musicians ever where.
Spoke the Wizard, "Call this the Ibanez Phase Tone, a mini- phaser so cc mpact and
durable it will astound you. For those who wish to have more control aver their
sound, here is the Ibanez Phase II, with a depth control for phase effects from a
subtle hint to a bold sweep."
For musicians who want sustain with no distortion, I give you the Ibanez Compressor.
It will help you to stand out and be heard, without having to shaae the ;mavens with
volume. And for those who want a bit of grit with their sustain, here is the Ibanez
GEORGE BENSON: Selling out for
a hard -driving sustain and
distortion device."
PAT MARTINO: Joyous Lake. [Paul
Rothchild, producer; Steve Klein,
engineer; recorded at Criteria Studios,
Miami, Fla.; remixed at Sunset Sound
Recorders, Hollywood, Ca.] Warner
Bros. BS 2977
Performance: Uninspired
Recording: Functional
Past efforts have revealed Martino
to be a guitarist who could move from
funk to space with minimum effort.
Finally, in 1976 with the release of
Starbright on Warner Bros., his product was finally the beneficiary of a
fully equipped promotional apparatus.
That last album was widely hailed
for its unique twists and turns; generally wistful, surreal ambience and its
flawless, clockwork production. That
artistic success made one look forward
with eager anticipation towards this
new record, yet audit of Joyous Lake
yields nothing but disappointment.
On Starbright, both Martino's
guitar and the synthesizers of Delmar
Brown wove some intricate and conMAY 1977
a snap of his fingers the Wizard produced the Ibanez Renoneter ''Captured in
this compact package is a veritable rainbow of tone color, with 5 bands of equalization
and a preamp /tone booster - perfect for any instrument or vocal system."
Then reaching deep into his bag, the Wizard said, "Now this is a moat 'nteresting
effect - the Ibanez Stereo Box. It will give you an automatic variable weed pan
between two amplifiers or two channels of the same amp "
is the device of which 1 am most proud", said the Wizard with a grin. "The
Ibanez Flying Pan, a combination automatic panning device and state of the art
phase shifter which can make the sound of your instrument literally fly around the room.
"But here
a dramatic wave of his arms, the Wizard of Ohm disappeared into
cloud of smoke and a crackle of lightning - but promising to return socn with more
electronic marvels for musicians.
And then, with
iL Ibanez
Boa 469 Cornwells Ht
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327 Broadway. Idaho Fairs. ID 53401
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stantly changing imagery. Here, however, all is formula. Cutesy, trivial
arabesques on Brown's EML 500 guitar are paralleled by Martino; Pat's
rides all seem to follow a basic pattern
of rapid cruising up and down the fret board. Even Pat's awesome technique
is a little suspect not to mention his
abilities, which are
cheapened by the "picking for his own
amazement" deja vu's which turn
most of the tracks into a boring exercise in self -indulgence.
As a result of these subterfuges, all
the cuts sound virtually exactly like
each other. Ironically however, the only concrete inspiration seems to come
from the rhythm section. Bassist
Mark Leonard's brief solo on "Mardi
Gras" and drummer Kenwood Den nard's colorful cymbal work throughout furnishes momentary relief from
What is there to say for the technical
quality of this disc? Stuck with constant regurgitation of bored, trite
passages, Rothchild and Klein seem
content to turn on the tape and let it
roll. At times, Pat's guitar, the
Rhodes, and synthesizers of Brown are
virtually indistinguishable; little clari-
ty and track -separation is evident.
Yet, one gets the feeling that the goal
of the artist is to produce an album full
of space -age cliches, time-saving shortcuts, and worst of all, a marketable
I yearn for more of Pat Martino's
crystalline, pure lead lines which
sparkled throughout his earlier work
on the Muse label. Those were the good
old days.
BARTOK: Bluebeard's Castle. Tatiana
Troyanos, soprano; Siegmund Nimsgern, baritone; BBC Symphony Orchestra, Pierre Boulez cond. [Paul
Myers, producer; Robert Gooch, Mike
Ross -Trevor, engineers.] Columbia M
Performance: Intense
Recording: Bright and clean
The excellent Kertesz recording on
London with Christa Ludwig and
Walter Berry is now joined by an
equally noteworthy performance conducted by Pierre Boulez and sting by
Tatiana Troyanos and Siegmund Nimsgern. Any attempt to choose a "best"
performance of Bartok's brooding
symbolist opera would be ridiculous in
the face of such superb musicianship.
Where Kertesz & Co., bathed in a
warm, plush sonority, draw out the
pathos and sadness of the score,
Boulez and his younger soloists emphasize the bitterness of the outcome.
The intensity when Bluebeard's new
bride, Judith, accuses him of murdering his three previous wives and
demands that the seventh door be
opened is particularly urgent, and the
brighter, more forward sound suits
Boulez's more aggressive approach.
Both views of the score are valid.
Both recordings "stage" the
opera -which really amounts to little
since the action is relatively static,
taking place as it does in the imagination. The London producer, Erik
Smith, writes that he gave "a good
deal of thought and experiment to
creating the right dreamlike sound for
this opera." As the work begins,
Bluebeard and Judith emerge from an
upstage left door (right channel) and
The Sound Workshop 223A Electronic Crossover is a
active balanced inputs
12dB /octave filter slope
degrees maximum phase shift
.005% typical distortion
frequency response =±'?dB, 20Hz -20kHz
noise level below --95dBm
plug in IC's
2 year parts and labor warranty
The Sound Workshop 223A Electronic Crossover...$325.
The Sound Workshop 223AB with balanced transformer
outputs (max level +26dBm into 600 Ohms)
departure from the typical electronic crossover available
today. The use of state variable filters eliminates the
phase shift problems associated with most designs.
Single knob crossover frequency selection, level
controls on all outputs, and crossover characteristic
controls allow maximum system optimization with a
minimum of hassle. The 223A has 2-color screening and
push button mode selection for ease of use in either the
stereo bi -amp or mono tri -amp mode. Unique booster
amplifiers on all outputs permit levels of +20dBm into
600 Ohms ( +26dBm into 300 Ohms) across the entire
audio band with a maximum THD of .05 %! Compare the
features and performance of the Sound Workshop 223A
with the unit you are now using or planning to use, and
cross over.
Sound Workshop
1040 Northern Blvd. Roslyn, New York 11576
(516)621 -6710
descend a flight of stairs. The London
production attempts to follow this and
further stage directions, and the
soloists shift position in the two channels often. There is a definite illusion of
a "live" staged performance with the
orchestra on a lower pit level. In the
Boulez recording, producer Paul
Myers has the soloists enter as on the
London record, but their subsequent
movements are less specific; an excellent vocal/orchestral balance is attained, with all the forces appearing to
be on the same level in a closely miked,
reverberant setting -in this regard,
producing less of a "live" performance
ward lyricism and simplicity of
Haitink and Horenstein, both of whom
I prefer above all. The fourth movement Misterioso, setting of the Nietzsche poem from "Also Sprach
Zarathustra" is taken very slowly, and
one's appreciation will probably depend upon reaction to Marilyn Horne's
rather thick -textured vocalism.
Levine's interpretation and the playing of the Chicago Symphony have so
many excellent qualities that the
miscalculation of the final adagio
becomes even more regretful; in
understandable love of this sublime
movement, Levine caresses each note
and phrases with so much rubato that
at times one despairs of the music going anywhere. Its not a matter of tempo per se (although it is the slowest on
record), but a lack of note -to-note continuity and flow which Bernstein, for
one, has achieved in concert at an even
longer timing.
The recorded sound is perplexing.
The weight and size of the orchestra
certainly comes across, but the unfocussed sound quality resembles
many of the old Concertgebouw recordings on Philips which I discussed
I cannot vouch for the accuracy of
the soloists' Hungarian, but texts and
translations are provided. Smith's
notes for the Kertesz set are far more
stimulating than Charles B. Yulish's
stupid efforts at "relevance" ( "Feminist listeners will find in this Bluebeard
all that they detest.") on the Boulez
MAHLER: Symphony No. 3. Marilyn
mezzo -soprana;
Children's Chorus; Chicago Symphony
Orchestra and Chorus, James Levine
cond. [Thomas Z. Shepard and Jay
David Saks, producers; Paul Goodman,
engineer; recorded at Medinah Temple,
Chicago, Ill.] RCA ARL2 -1757 (two
Amazing Taw x20oanvilea.
The people at Tapco have
spent thousands of hours to
bring you a great graphic
equalizer -the Tapco 2200.
And now, at last. it's here:
the totally profess onal graphic
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studio or home recording,
sound reinforcemeit and
hi -fi use.
Tapco 2200 features include:
Two completely incependent
channels with ten ±15 dB
equalization band`.
Balanced ir puts and outputs
(for use wth al prcfessional
recording equipme-11).
Single -ended input and outputs (for E I hi -ii equipment).
EQ In-out snitches for each
Output Lvel oantrols.
And built -+n line drvers (to
allow the X00 to te used as a
booster fcr wea t signals, too).
What it a II means is that the
Tapco 2200 is compatible with
virtually very type of audio
equipmert on the market.
Performance: Mixed
Recording Massive
Mahler's dictim that a symphony
should encompass all of man's existence is no more successfully
achieved than in his Third Symphony.
The gargantuan first movement alone
is longer than many of Sibelius' symphonies, and the range of mood is
wider than in any other of Mahler's
This is 32- year -old James Levine's
third and in many respects his most
impressive recording in his Mahler cycle for RCA. The 32- minute opening
movement has admirable dynamic
thrust and cogency, the third movement posthorn solo by Adolph
Herseth is the most beautifully played
and evocatively balanced of any on
record, and the fifth movement is the
most "lively in tempo and jaunty in expression" of any performance I've ever
heard. The second movement Minuet to is midway between Bernstein's
Viennese schmaltz and the straightfor-
more information write: Wayne Inouye. Tapco. 405 Howell Way. Edmonds. o/A. 98)20 (206) 775 -4411
MAY 1977
If you can
see yourself
in this
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Compiled from Recording nstitute of America's interviews with key executives and
makers ", plus Reference D rectory and Dialogue's Viewpoints of industry "stars -.
Listen to the industry "pros" describe the
workings of the Music BusinE ss. Hear the
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RIA Reference Directory,
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three hours on two 7 -inch, 71/2 ips, 4track tapes, including a booklet of
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recessed into occasional inaudibility
(especially the weak solo oboe). I would
have liked to hear this score given the
recorded transparency of RCA's Ormandy Planets reviewed above. London's spectacular recording of
Mahler's Sixth with Solti and Chicago
is a touchstone of what can be accomplished in Medinah Temple.
Surfaces on the new RCA discs were
so -so -a problem since the cutting
level is so low -and Jack Diether's
notes are excellent, as always. Alternate recommendations for the Third
are the unsurpassed 1960 Bernstein,
the mid -sixties Haitink and the 1970
Horenstein, with the proviso in the latter recording of ludicrously under -
balanced strings (but gut-pounding
timpani and crystaline inner clarity of
Performance: Good
Recording: Best available
HOLST: The Planets. Patrick Gleeson,
Eu Polyphonic Synthesizer. [Patrick
Gleeson, producer; Neil Schwartz, Seth
Dworken, Skip Shimmin, engineers;
recorded and mixed at Different Fur
Music, San Francisco, Ca.] Mercury SRI
has a
for '77
4icidio Tape
for professionals
Performance:Straight electronic
Recording: Monochromatic
HOLST: The Planets. Isao Tornita. RCA
Performance: Augmented Holst
Recording: Impressive
iurï i
o, Fee Co,ologi
When you combine all of the modules that are part
of this package and then throw in keyboard, 12
event sequencer and a four input stereo mixer, it's
almost like having two synthesizers in a single
package. Wrap them all in sturdy road cases and
you have an instrument that goes anywhere and
does any job. Module complement includes: Road
keyboard with Glide, Two Road module oases, two
Modulator /VCA's,
Reverb, three 4720 VCO's, 4730 VCF, two
Envelope Generators, three Watt Blocks, Control
Oscillator /Noise Source and 12 -Event Sequencer.
No. 4700/S Synthesizer Kit S499.00 *40 lbs.
HOLST: The Planets. The Philadelphia
Orchestra, Eugene Ormandy cond. [Jay
David Saks, producer; Paul Goodman,
engineer.] RCA CRL -1921.
13717 South Normandie Avenue
Gardena, CA 90249
(213) 538 -9830
in the April MR. Bass is muddy, timpani rarely make much effect, highs
have no snap or bite, and winds are
Also Sprach Zarathustra by Richard
Strauss was not the only classic to
achieve stardom due to Stanley
Kubrick's 2001 -A Space Odyssey.
English composer Gustav Holst's far
more engaging work, The Planets, was
popularized simply by dint of its coin-
cidental astronomical theme -even
though it wasn't used in the film. For
awhile in the early seventies, it seemed
that every major conductor had to
record both works, but only now have
Ormandy and Philadelphia made their
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IN: NEW YORK & MONTREAL, Call Collect (212) 582 -0400
RIA Chicago
(312) 383-7494
United Audio
(714) 542-4427
Trod Nossel Productions
(203) 269-4465
Sheffield Rec's Ltd., Inc.
(301) 252-2226
Sound Techniques Inc.
(214) 638-3256
Applewood Sound Studios
(303) 279-2500
Reflection Studio
(704) 377 -4596
Pro Sound Studios
(313) 779 -1380
Holden, Hamilton & Roberts Recording
(206) 632-8300
Recording Institute of America Inc.
(212) 582-0400
Ford Audio and Acoustics
(405) 525 -3343
Lee Furr Studios
(602) 792-3470
LeFevre Sound Corp.
(404) 355-8680
(317) 849-0905
Alpha Audio
(804) 358-3852
United Recording Co.
(301) 588 -9090
Mus -I -Col Rec'g
(614) 267-3133
MARC Productions
(613) 746 -7523
Audio Innovators
(412) 391 -6220
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first recording of The Planets. Concurrently, two electronic versions have
appeared, and the sad fact (going by
past sales figures) is that more
listeners will probably hear these pale
synthesized transcriptions than the
real, full-blooded thing.
The bold colors and daring harmonies of The Planets (1917) set conservative English music, previously
accustomed to the pomp and circumstantial stuffiness of Elgarian
romanticism, back on its ears. One
might say that Patrick Gleeson has
retrogressed to pre -Planets England
with his Eu Polyphonic transcription,
for the thin, Hammond organ -like
sonics will be laughable (or lamentable)
to anyone familiar with the impact of
the full Holstian orchestra. The only
notable feature of this album is a striking jacket photo by one Paco North.
Gleeson appears to have followed
Holst's score closely, but RCA's
Tornita uses the music as a stepping off point, beginning with his own interplanetary introduction and reshaping and abridging Holst's seven movement suite to his own ends. I actually prefer his relaxed tempos for the
Venus and Saturn sections over those
set by the orchestral conductors. And
the production is sonically impressive.
But the dynamism, eloquence and
humanity of this great work are completely missing.
The combination of a virtuoso orchestra and lucid, wide -range sound
totally eclipses the electronic imposters, and Eugene Ormandy's usual
no- nonsense interpretation is matched
by the brilliant transparency and
liveliness of the sound. None of the
available recordings are ideal throughout, and it is possible to quibble over
some of Ormandy's choices of tempo.
His unwavering line in the slow
movements (Venus, Saturn and Neptune) would beneficially support even
broader tempos. The scherzo, Mercury,
is a bit sluggish, but the resulting
clarity (especially the timpani) is
welcome. An unidiomatically sugary
solo violin mars the Venus movement.
Yet, overall, this reading compares
well with any in the catalogue, and the
recorded sound -so important in such
a brilliantly orchestrated work
makes it a top recommendation. The
organ pedal toward the end of Saturn
is a particularly good test of a
system's bass response. Surfaces were
horrible, however.
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NEW YORK'S LEADING dealer specializing in
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R.I.A., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, N.Y.
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COLLECTORS RECORDS 50,000 LPs, sold at
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REVOX A -77 Semi-Pro Deck: 7.5/15 IPS; 1/4
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MAY 1977
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rite with resume and samples of
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3M Series 400 M -23 8 -track tape recorder, 6
years old, replaced heads (minimal wear),
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Ramsey, (512) 478 -3141, 478 -92.94
two 13c stamps fast to Attainment, Box
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serving the recording and sound reinforcement fields. Competitive pricing and wide
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FOR SALE: Revox A -77 [ -track tape deck,
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The name may be long -Close -Loop Dual
Capstan Tape Drive but the concept is
simple: one capstan is just an extension of the
motor shaft itself (the other connects through
a belt -drive inertia fly- wheel). Gone are the
intervening gears that can often impair optimum operating reliability as well as speed
accuracy. The result almost nonexistent
wow and flutter -a mere 0.02% @ 15 ips.
They're versatile. Accurate. And incredibly
informative. 1. You can set for standard VU
operation to determine recording level. 2. Set
to display transient peaks only (up to +15 dB).
3. A third display, Peak Hold, retains transient
reading, letting you accurately measure
audio input and adjusts accordingly with
2dB Stepped Record Level Attenuators.
Original Source'
After Recording'
Source Through
Phase Compensator'
Ideally, what you want on recorded tape
a "mirror image" of the original signal. No
more. No less. Problem: the very nature of the
recording process causes phase distortion.
Solution: during playback, Sony's exclusive
Phase Compensator Circuit compensates
for phase distortion. Result: sound quality
that's virtually identical to the original source.
This means you can lay down two individually recorded tracks in perfect synchronization with each other. Record head has
playback -monitor function in record mode.
This eliminates time lag that occurs when
monitoring through playback head. Thus
both tracks can be first generation, keeping
noise levels at minimum. Flashing Standby
Signal alerts you that the unrecorded channel is record -ready. And Punch -In Record
puts you into record mode instantly, without
stopping tape.
SONYAsk anyone.
Brought to you by
Thanks to the durability of Sony's Ferrite
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360° 4- channel field, What started out in
right front channel stays there. What began
in left rear doesn't wander over to right rear.
There's no phase shift whatsoever.
finished in genuine walnut veneer
íS1976 Superscope Inc_ 20525 Nordhoff
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Other Distinguished Sony Decks.
TC -788 -4
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Prices and models subject to change without notice Consult the Yellow Pages for your nearest Superscope dealer.
iv MAN
IN .1e.PaN
Technics introduces a 321 element IC
or, in plain English,
more torque.
It's in the SL -1400, Technics' semi-automatic direct won't affect turntable speed. The reason: A frequency
drive turntable. With our latest advance: The one -chip
generator servo control. But direct drive isn't all the
321 element IC'with three high- capacity power
SL -1400 has going for it. For outstanding low
transistors. Those 321 elements translate to one reason
tracking error, there's an ultra- sensitive gimbal why the SL -1400 will reach the exact playing
suspended tone arm. With an effective
speed within V3 of a revolution at
pivot -to- stylus length of 91i6 ".
331/3 RPM. That's torque.
And all you do is place the stylus on the
But equally important, the SL -1400
record and the SL -1400 does the rest. From
has the Technics direct -drive system.
auto cut. To auto return. To auto shutoff.
The same system radio stations use.
You'll also get one anti -skating adjustAnd discos abuse.
ment for all types of styli. Variable pitch
Professionals prefer our direct -drive
controls. An easy -view stroboscope.
system for the same reasons you will. Like
Viscous- damped cueing. FeedbackDirect Drive System
inaudible wow and flutter (0.03 ° /o WRMS).
insulated legs. As well as a hinged deBecause with our system the platter is part of
tachable dust cover and integral base.
the motor. So there aren't any belts, gears or idlers
So get the SL -1400. And get the precision
to produce speed variations.
of Technics direct drive. The convenience
You won't hear any rumble, either. Because our
of semi -automatic operation. And the advantage
DC motor introduces so little vibration into the system
of increased torque.
that rumble remains inaudible (-70dB DIN B).
And load changes in AC line voltage or frequency
by Panasonic
.. y
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