Political Campaign Gigs Pose Challenges By Breanne George
ThE NEws MagazinE For LivE Sound APRIL 2008 Vol. 6 No. 7
Don’t Mess with Texas
LAS VEGAS — Political campaign season is in full swing as presidential hopefuls rally across the U.S. for a chance at the Oval Office. This time of year also means an increase in political campaign gigs for live production companies. While political events are often an exciting change of pace from the typical concert tour, they also provide a host of unique challenges. Dan Myers of On Cue Systems worked on the recent Sen. Barack Obama presidential rally at the Arizona State Fair’s 14,000-seat Veterans Memorial Coliseum. As FOH engineer, Myers was responsible for setting up the PA system as well as mixing the event. He has also worked with President George W. Bush and Sen. John Kerry on their 2004 campaigns. He admits that mixing sound for a political speaker presents unique challenges, especially in an indoor venue that is very reverberant and has the potential to cause unintelligible speech. In addition, the lavaliers When the phone rings at IPR Serthat political speakers commonly wear vices, the company’s owner Bob Patcontinued on page 7 to move around on rick expects to hear a challenge. After all, IPR has been at the helm for some of the most interesting install projects across the globe, including The Mirage in Las Vegas, Staples Center in Los AnBy Bill Evans geles and Makkah Mosque in Saudi Arabia. Still, he wasn’t quite prepared WASHINGTON — So how many when he heard that he only had 18 channels of wireless mics and permonths to get the design and install sonal monitors do you use on a typidone for the brand new 7,100-seat cal gig? Oh, and you do have an FCC Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles. license for those, right? Patrick and the IPR team got to work If your answers to the above shortly after the theatre was constructwere A) not a lot and B) Yes, then ed and designer Chips Davis buffed out you should have no problems with the room’s acoustics. Eighteen months. Google’s recent proposal to the FCC Ready, set, go to page 28. for deploying wireless broadband devices in the same spectrum we use for live audio production. But, under that proposal, the rest of us are pretty much screwed. Buyers Guide If you want to take a look at the 35 Get juiced with power distros. actual proposal Google is putting forward, go to www.fohonline.com/ Nightmare google_filing.pdf. A case of audio improv was no sweat 38 It boils down like this: They are for this sound guy (except for the ocean offering a “safe harbor” area where dripping off his forehead that is). wireless mics could operate without worrying about the new devices the FOH-at-Large computer industry is so intent on 52 Whether running the United States of marketing. Those channels are what America or an audio production company, it’s all about the mix. are currently UHF continued on page 11
IPR Takes On Nokia Theatre L.A. Live
Google Fuels White-Space Fire
At least don’t mess with Dallas-based Crossroads Audio. The company is all about regional events, from corporate shows and music festivals to regional tours as diverse as jazz artist Diana Krall, Dane Cook and a college tour featuring cartoons from the Adult Swim show. Co-Owner Ed Spoto, along with two partners — Stewart Bennett and Robin Magruder, made the big leap from touring life to launch a live sound biz with a booming concert segment. With competition fierce in the touring biz, they made the decision to solely focus on regional work. Crossroads doesn’t chase small local events either, where competition is just as fierce. Instead, they made a niche for themselves with large-scale one-offs. Crossroads Audio has made quite a name for itself in Texas — turn to page 42 to find out why.
D&M Holdings Inc. Acquires Allen & Heath By Breanne George
TOKYO — Since when did mergers and acquisitions become a staple of your favorite live audio magazine? Since a bunch of companies have been merging and being acquired. There’s another one that just finalized, but it seems like a good fit from the start, making it less scary than some other recent M&A moves. To “further its growth in live audio, broadcast and DJ technologies,” D&M Holdings Inc., a Tokyo-based operating company that owns such brands as Calrec Audio, Denon DJ and continued on page 5
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April 2008, Vol. 6.7
Power of Love Charity Gala
40 Sound Sanctuary
IPR Services had only 18 months to turn the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live into a worldclass install. Find out if they met the short timeframe.
Don’t get burned out and overbooked with too much God.
40 The Bleeding Edge
Power amplifiers are experiencing internal power struggles with DSP.
30 Production Profile
18 Sound crew had to ensure everything from the charity’s powerful message to Michael Buble’s performance was heard loud and clear.
Rascal Flatts’ latest tour still feels good with the largest PA on the road.
44 The Rant Zone
Welcome to the inaugural installment of the FOH Rant Zone.
32 Road Tests
We put to the test Hear Technologies Freedom Back and the QSC GX5 Power Amplifier.
46 Theory & Practice Distro Tapping 101.
34 Vital Stats
47 The Biz
Pro Media/UltraSound is a triple threat in the audio industry — tours, corporate events and installations. COO Ted Leamy fills us in on why that is.
Will a recession cause receding profits at this year’s music festivals?
Anklebiters vent about a major pet peeve — unprepared venues.
35 Buyers Guide
Get juiced with power distros in this month’s listing.
Running an audio company is a lot like running the United State of America. No, really.
38 Welcome To My Nightmare
This sound guy came down with a case of audio improv.
42 Regional Slants
Don’t mess with Texas-based Crossroads Audio — a major audio player in the Lone Star state with large-scale one-offs.
Ron Reaves and Mikael Stewart chat about the numerous challenges they faced at this year’s 50th Annual Grammy Awards.
Departments 2 Feedback 4 Editor’s Note 5 News 11 International News
Hi Jamie, I read your column in FOH and I’d like to ask a related question about your business. You mentioned in an article that you hire techs to run sound in several houses of worship, which I am curious about. I currently run the sound at my church as a volunteer, however, it is becoming a lot more than a volunteer position. If it would work out, I’d like to see what it would take to build a business providing technical services to other Houses of Worship here in the South Bay area of Northern California. On the occasions that I have visited other churches, I typically find the overworked volunteer who does as much as he can to get through each Sunday service, many times not trained for the job or skilled in the art of mixing for a worship band. Also, as many churches raise their expectations of quality and capabilities, the volunteer staff just cannot keep up. I have recently considered starting a business based on providing sound reinforcement as well as recording services for other churches and small to medium-sized events. I have run sound and recorded for several events of this size for the last 20 years, but on a volunteer basis, which I don’t mind continuing if that works out best. But I would like to get advice on what it takes to setup/run a business like this, such as what are the going rates for a sound tech to lead the technical crew or run a sound system for a band with an audience in the 250-500 person range. Also, what would the going rate be for a portable “gig” if I provided the equipment? I assume you have experience with corporate events such as trade shows, sales kickoff events or seminars where there are one to six speakers and they want a recording in audio/video format. If so, what would the revenue look like? I have read FOH with interest in the business of providing sound reinforcement for bands, but rarely find anything that would help to understand the business, rates, costs and profits. I know that a strong business is based on the quality of service provided to the client and building the word-of-mouth reputation and client base, but I just need guidance on how to get started in the business. Thanks for any help you can provide. David McNeely Director of Technical Arts Trinity Church of Sunnyvale, CA
12 On the Move 14 New Gear 16 Showtime 38 In the Trenches Here is Jamie Rio’s response: Hi David, It seems like you have been thinking this through a bit and that is an important first step. As far as starting a business sending out techs to various houses of worship, you must first convince these worship houses that they need professionals instead of volunteers. Or you can offer services and let the various volunteers observe your work. In a sense, you will be training the volunteers. Obviously that will shorten your mixing duties with the client, but it is very good for your name. Generally, the larger the congregation, the more complex the services are to mix. So I would seek out big churches. Once you have your potential client, they may want to interview your tech to see if he or she will click with the church staff. It is very important that you assign the same technician to the same house every week. If your tech calls in sick, you fill in. You must instill a strong sense of confidence in your clients. I pay my guys $25 an hour and I charge my clients $40. However, mixing services is a door opener for installs, outreach shows, rentals and any other sound needs a house of worship may have. With regards to pricing for bringing in my own rig and mixing an event, I will always ask the pastor or staff what the budget is. It varies greatly. But the truth is dollars are not always the bottom line in this side of my business. In a sense, I work for God and that is very satisfying. Good Luck, Jamie
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H e ads , Hea r ts an d Han d s
Publisher Terry Lowe [email protected]
Editor Bill Evans [email protected]
Managing Editor Breanne George [email protected]
t’s really easy to tell when someone really cares about what they do. When I am out on gigs I see it all the time. The funny thing is that the bigger the gig, the more likely you are to find at least a few people who just don’t really give a rat’s ass about the gig. It is just a paycheck. Then there are the folks who put everything they have into every gig. Last week (as I write this, it will have been a few weeks ago by the time you read it), I spent a few days in the sprawling metropolis of Johnson City, Tenn. The local event production company, Audio Video Integration, was doing a gig, as they often do, at East Tennessee State University. (Side note; Yes, the name of the company makes them sound like AV installers, but install work is less than half of their total work flow.) I will be writing up a story on the company in an upcoming issue so don’t want to give too much away, but let’s just say that this
“head.” You’ve heard the term before. When it comes to stagehands there are heads and there are hands. A head knows the job, can make good decisions and directs the flow of something like the complicated load-in of this show. For hands, they had some student volunteers and a bunch of guys they hire on a regular basis from the local security company, which I thought was a pretty cool idea. But the thing that made the trip such a kick was the fact that every person I dealt with — from the owners of AVI to their office manager to their production manager to the woman who runs events for the school who was 36-weeks pregnant—was a head with their heart 100% into what they were doing. I have come to think that this whole heart thing is a big reason I have stayed in publishing for most of my adult life. The fact that I get to publish about an industry I really care
Bottom line is that it’s great to get to hang with people who care about and are really good at what they do — no matter what it is that they do. Passion is a wonderful thing. was an A-list country artist whose management decided that — even though this was a one-off in a much smaller venue than they usually play, to bring in the whole show. AVI is a small company and every person I met who worked with them was a
about is an added bonus. But in both publishing and live audio, if your heart ain’t in it, you will most likely leave and find something that is easier and does not require the stupid hours that are a fact of life in both live event production and publishing.
Bottom line is that it’s great to get to hang with people who care about and are really good at what they do — no matter what it is that they do. Passion is a wonderful thing. Speaking of people with heart, we lost a big one in Las Vegas recently. Roddy Pahl, who did a number of Road Test reviews for FOH and who was both the head of audio at the MGM Grand and the main audio guy at the Fremont Street Experience, died on Friday, March 14. In addition to his audio work and friends in that community, Roddy was the sole provider for his wife, four kids and two sets of parents living with him at the time of his death. We actually had a bit of a dilemma here because we had a story scheduled to run about doing audio in a new convention venue at the MGM Grand and Roddy is quoted extensively. We batted around the idea of not running it so as not to reopen freshly healing wounds, but after talking with his friends we decided that an audio guy talking about the job and doing something he cared about was a fitting goodbye. If you knew Roddy, there is also a pretty moving tribute in the Big Daddy blog on the FOH Web site. I had to be out of town on a gig the day of the memorial service, but I hear that MGM did Roddy right and opened up a ballroom in the Conference Center and that coming up the escalator, pant legs were flapping as the sounds of Metallica and Audioslave came screaming from the room. Just like he would have wanted it.
Technical Editor Mark Amundson [email protected]
Contributing Writers Jerry Cobb, Brian Cassell, Dan Daley, Jamie Rio, Steve LaCerra, Nort Johnson, David John Farinella, Ted Leamy, Baker Lee, Bryan Reesman, Tony Mah, Larry Hall, Ken Rengering Photographer Steve Jennings Art Director Garret Petrov [email protected]
Production Manager Linda Evans [email protected]
Graphic Designers Crystal Franklin [email protected]
David Alan [email protected]
Web Master Josh Harris [email protected]
National Sales Manager Dan Hernandez [email protected]
National Advertising Director Gregory Gallardo [email protected]
General Manager William Hamilton Vanyo [email protected]
Business and Advertising Office 6000 South Eastern Ave. Suite 14J Las Vegas, NV 89119 Ph: 702.932.5585 Fax: 702.932.5584 Toll Free: 800.252.2716 Circulation Stark Services P.O. Box 16147 North Hollywood, CA 91615 Front Of House (ISSN 1549-831X) Volume 6 Number 7 is published monthly by Timeless Communications Corp., 6000 South Eastern Ave., Suite 14J, Las Vegas, NV, 89119. Periodicals Postage Paid at Las Vegas, NV and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to Front Of House, P.O. Box 16147, North Hollywood, CA 91615-6147. Front Of House is distributed free to qualified individuals in the live sound industry in the United States and Canada. Mailed in Canada under Publications Mail Agreement Number 40033037, 1415 Janette Ave., Windsor, ON N8X 1Z1. Overseas subscriptions are available and can be obtained by calling 702.932.5585. Editorial submissions are encouraged, but will not be returned. All Rights Reserved. Duplication, transmission by any method of this publication is strictly prohibited without the permission of Front Of House. Ad info:http:// foh.hotims.com
D&M Holdings Inc. Acquires Allen & Heath continued from cover
McIntosh Laboratory, has acquired Allen & Heath, effective April 1, the first day of D&M Holding’s 2008 fiscal year. D&M Holdings Inc. officials first approached Allen & Heath regarding an interest in a business venture and discussed the prospect with major shareholders in late summer 2007, says Glenn Rogers, managing director of Allen & Heath. It was then decided that the acquisition would have a positive impact on both parties. “We’re moving from a small company that did everything for itself into a corporate world where we can use the expertise within the group to try and accelerate into new areas of thinking. Although we’ve done very well with our technology development, we have the chance to get ideas from the other brands,” he says. Although D&M Holdings is now the sole owner of Allen & Heath, the private company will remain relatively unchanged from a customer standpoint, Rogers affirms, acknowledging that the brand, distribution, employees and manufacturing will remain the same in the foreseeable future. “We are obviously working to continue to develop strong business, but we have some very loyal and successful distributors around the world that have worked very hard for the Allen & Heath brand and we hope to continue that relationship with them,” Rogers says. Lynn Martin, president of American Music and Sound, the exclusive U.S. distributor of Allen & Heath, says that he has received assurance from the company that distribution will not be affected. American Music and Sound will continue to deal directly with Allen and Heath representatives in the UK. “Certainly one could project that there could be a lot of synergies between the various brands,” Martin notes. Rogers says he is looking forward to developing new technologies and possible synergies between the other D&M Holdings brands, particularly Calrec Audio, manufacturer of broadcast audio equipment and Denon, manufacture of DJ products, to create opportunities to expand Allen & Heath’s business in those markets. “I think Calrec Audio is a good interest because they are in the same sector as we are,” Rogers says. “Some of our products do get used for broadcast from time to time, but most of our business is focused on the live sound market. A few extra doors might open up for us, so I look forward to working with them,” he adds. Gail Petersen, director of corporate communications for D&M Holdings, says the main reason behind the acquisition resides in the company’s corporate strategy, which is to expand in the professional audio arena and Allen & Heath seemed like a perfect fit with D&M’s business platform. The aforementioned business platform provides sales, marketing, human resources, supply chain and after-sales services, among others, allowing a “smaller audio company like Allen & Heath to expand their global footprint, where before they might not have been able to, and concentrate on innovation,” Petersen says.
Jim Sides Named CEO of Meyer Sound Germany; Sascha Khelifa Assumes Role of Managing Director MONTABAUR, GERMANY — Meyer Sound has announced two promotions at Meyer Sound Germany: the appointment of Jim Sides to the position of CEO and the promotion of Sascha Khelifa to managing director. Sides relocated to Meyer Sound Germany in 2006 to serve as the office’s managing director. He has directly managed and driven an upsurge of growth in the German and Scandinavian markets due to large purchases by local rental companies and significant installations throughout the region, doubling Meyer Sound’s sales within these two markets.
In his new role, Sides’ primary focus is to oversee the overall business and sales strategies of Meyer Sound Germany and to directly manage the German sales team to meet its goal to further increase Meyer Sound’s market share in Germany and Scandinavia. Sides considers his role of CEO as an opportunity to build on the successful foundation he’s helped Meyer Sound establish in the German and Scandinavian markets. “We’ve accomplished great things over the past two years,” says Sides. “We now have an excellent team in place and we are committed to continuing the growth curve we
have established in the past two years.” Khelifa, who has been an employee of Meyer Sound since 1999, will be responsible for the day-to-day direction and operations of the office. Khelifa will also oversee the management of staff members at Meyer Sound’s new location in Montabaur. “Both long-time veterans of Meyer Sound, Jim and Sascha have worked together to successfully energize our operations in Germany with the values, methods and culture that are so important to us. I’m extremely pleased to offer them these welldeserved promotions,” says Helen Meyer, executive vice president of the company.
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In the March 2008 issue’s Installation article, we refer to the venue as Jobbing.com Arena. The correct spelling is Jobing.com. If you are interested in Jobing.com Arena, please visit http://jobingarena.com.
Australia Plays Broadway NEW YORK — Sometimes things just seem to fit together perfectly. Which was very much the case at Lincoln Center recently as Aussie ex-pat Howard Page mixed a show called Australia Plays Broadway on a console that he had more than a bit of a hand in helping to develop. That console was the new Studer Vista 5 SR. Page is the director of engineering at Clair Brothers/Showco, which recently purchased multiple Vista 5 SRs, and not only does he hail from the “land down under,” he was also instrumental in developing the SR version of the Vista 5 right down to spec’ing the viewing angle on the desk’s touch-screens. Australia Plays Broadway, a show Page calls “one of the most complex I have worked on in many years,” was the kick-off of a fourday event celebrating Australian culture, and organizers aimed for nothing less than to showcase the breadth and depth of Australian talent to an American audience. “We had rock bands next to opera singers next to a concert
pianist next to a didgeridoo next to twin cellists, and we had to put the whole thing together in one day,” says Page. As Page is quick to note, a show like this is usually a three-day process with one day for load-in, one for rehearsals, and the morning of the show for final tweaks and “tidying up.” But, in this case, rehearsals ran until minutes before doors opened to the public. “I had all 96 inputs full and more pressure than I have had in years and years,” says Page. “I was creating snapshots and assigning them to cues — basically building the show right up to the last second — and even then I was changing FOH Mixer Howard Page at FOH for Australia Plays Broadway to put multiple lighting boards next to the VCA control groups on the fly.” Page says it is the intuitiveness and pow- audio console. “I also love the simplicity of er behind the Vista 5 SR that made the show the setup of the console. Three pieces — the possible to pull off. “In terms of the power worksurface and the case that holds the prowithin the footprint, the Vista 5 SR is decep- cessing, which the work surface sits on top tively simple looking. And it sounds stun- of, and the stagebox all connected with one ning,” he says noting that at the Rose Theatre piece of fiber. We are able to get the console he took up so little space that they were able going in eight minutes maximum.”
Juanes Kicks Off La Vida World Tour as front-of-house/recording engineer for chart-busting artists, including Phil Collins, Genesis, Prince, Janet Jackson, Bob Seeger, Ricky Martin and Shakira. Handling tour production is Eighth Day Sound, who supplied the D5 consoles at FOH and monitors, along with d&b J- and Q-Series line arrays and subs, and Dolby Lake drives. Colby once again chose the DiGiCo system for its overall reliability, onboard tools and sound quality. (L to R): FOH Engineer Cubby Colby and Monitor Engineer Anselmo Rota “I went online and got their standprepping for Juanes’ world tour alone software and programmed my own console before I even sat in front NEW YORK — Colombian rocker and 12-time Grammy Award-winner, Juanes, of it,” Colby says. “I immediately fell in love kicked off his ‘La Vida World Tour’ at New York’s with the structure of the console. I enjoy famed Madison Square Garden. At the audio their technology and forward-thinking helm with DiGiCo’s D5 live digital console is creations, especially the touch screen idea Rob “Cubby” Colby, best known for his resume and being able to set the console up differ-
ently if you’re a monitor or FOH guy.” DiGiCo’s ability to handle the rigors of the road is key for Colby, with variables changing on a daily basis. “It’s everything,” he states. “In rainstorms, sleet storms, in the desert, air freighting up and down ramps… I’ve been very fortunate with the consoles that I’ve had from DiGiCo.” Having the ability to translate an artist’s complex musical vision from the studio to the stage with studio-quality tools live isn’t lost on Colby — especially in working with a hands-on artist such as Juanes. “I believe he does all his preproduction on Pro Tools in his studio in Medellin, Columbia, and brings everything pretty well assembled into the studio when he starts to mix. So, from a live standpoint, I’ve been fortunate to work with artists who take a real interest in all aspects of their production. Juanes allows me to have the creative inputs.”
Dolby Lake Unveils Dolby Lake Controller Version 5.0
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FRANKFURT, GERMANY — Dolby Laboratories Inc. has announced the release of version 5.0 of the Dolby Lake Controller software, together with firmware updates already in production. Dolby Lake Controller version 5.0 adds new networking, routing and control features and functionality to the Dolby Lake Processor, including Dante networking technology from Audinate. Dolby Lake Controller version 5.0 enables new input and output routing. Each input source may be routed to any number of available outputs, which provide audio distribution to multiple physical outputs and output types. Input AutoSelect allows assigning of up to four input sources to each mixer channel to enable input audio redundancy. Input/output pass-through and processing module output routing is fully flexible. Version 5.0 will also include the ability to configure the output cards to allow any custom configuration of the I/O card slots. The new release also includes a firmware update to the Dolby Lake Processor (DLP). The upgrade enables the router and Dante networking features. The DLP natively supports 16 AES S/PDIF digital audio inputs and eight Dante digital audio network inputs, with 16 AES S/PDIF digital audio outputs and 16 Dante digital audio network outputs. The new software adds super module functionality, allowing the user to control multiple modules, running across multiple frames as a single entity within the user interface. A super module can be a combination of two or more processing modules that act in unison to provide the same input processing, but different output processing in order to implement a multiway crossover.
Political Campaign Gigs Pose Challenges for Live Production Companies continued from cover
the morning, and then everyone had to clear the venue right before doors so the Secret Service could bring in their dogs. “We had to open all our cases, workboxes and drawers just so they could come in with the dogs and make sure it was clear,” Myers recalls. “When we came back, we had to walk through metal detectors and they searched our bags.” Torres and Lane say a sound crew should really think about what gear to bring and to leave any items that would appear questionable to the Secret Service at the shop. Equipment like a bolometer, razor knives and wire strippers look suspect to someone outside the audio world and could be confiscated. Sudden movements and behavior should also be minimized, such as pull-
ing a flashlight out of your pocket in a way that could look like a weapon coming out of a holster, Torres says. Another issue to work out in advance is where to park your truck during the event because producers have to approve the location. When asked if it is difficult to put political views aside and mix sound for a candidate you oppose, Myers says not at all. He stresses that the focus should be on doing the best job possible. Torres and Lane echo Myer’s statements. “Just because you’re mixing it doesn’t mean you believe in it,” Torres says. “It’s the same with concerts, religious events and corporate shows. You really have to go into it as a job. When you go to the polls, that’s where you take care of your business.”
Sen. Barack Obama in Arizona with On Cue Systems
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move around on stage pick up a substantial amount of ambient noise. “When your dealing with one individual, whether it be a comedian or political speaker, you’ve got that one person that all 14,000 people have to understand or their message is not heard. In my opinion, that makes it harder than mixing a band,” Myers says. Another challenge specific to that venue was the location of Obama’s speaking platform, which was placed 30 feet in front of the main stage used for seating the crowd. The PA was hung from the main stage where the only rigging was located in the venue. “It added a great deal of difficulty because now your microphone is 30 feet in front of the sound system and you have to be really careful of feedback,” Myers says. H.A.S. Productions of Las Vegas worked on the recent democratic debate in Nevada. FOH Engineer Alfonso Torres says that the hardest part of the gig was coverage and making sure the sound didn’t boomerang into the mics. Torres admits that sound quality for the audience must sometimes be sacrificed for the millions of people watching from home. “You try not to, but on two occasions I was asked to turn the volume down in the house,” he recalls. Myers agrees, adding that the single most important part of the gig is the broadcast. Myers put Sen. Obama’s microphone on two different channels of his digital mixing console to accommodate the broadcast. One channel was used for live sound and the other channel was preset and left alone for the broadcast. “When the crowd starts screaming and applauding, I have to push my level up so the people at home can still hear him,” Myers says. “But, if I push my level up and the press is also getting the mix from that same channel, their level increases as well.” The quality of the show’s audio is only as good as the political speaker’s voice and mic technique. “Most of the candidates are so used to speaking in public that they’re still having a conversation with somebody while your putting a lav on them — they don’t even notice,” says Danny Lane, general manager of H.A.S. Productions, who has worked on numerous political events over the past decade.” Lane says the single biggest challenge is picking labor. He has to give the Secret Service the Social Security numbers of the crew several weeks to a month in advance. Secret Service then run a national background check and will periodically bounce people off, Lane says. “You have to pick the guys you know can do the gig and do it right, but who also can clear the Secret Service,” Lane says. “And believe me, in this industry, it’s harder than it sounds.” Once awarded the bid for the debate or rally, Lane says his first order of business is to speak with the producer to figure out where the candidate will enter and exit the venue. “If there’s heavy Secret Service you don’t want to be anywhere near them. I’ll move monitorland, I’ll move all the equipment out of that area because I just don’t want to deal with it,” he says. The Secret Service’s security measures are perhaps the one attribute of political events that distinguish them from any other gig. Although security may seem extreme, Lane and Torres both agree that you have to see the circumstances through the Secret Service’s eyes. “It’s just common sense,” Lane says. “And make no mistake about it, Secret Service is in charge of that show.” For President Bush’s rally, Myers says he set up the sound system and did sound check in
The Next Food Network Star Cooks Up Audio Challenges NEW YORK — When it comes to producing The Next Food Network Star, the last thing the show’s technical staff needed were wires getting in the way of the contestants and others involved in creating the show’s many unique recipes. To address the complex requirements of the show’s production, while facilitating freedom of movement to the on-camera contestants, independent audio engineer Michael Bergman, who serves as the show’s sound supervisor, was committed to a wireless solution. With assistance from Peter Schneider at New York City’s Gotham Sound, the ideal audio system was created with key components coming from Lectrosonics and JazzMutant’s Lemur control surface. According to Bergman, “During taping, as many as 14 people may appear individually or collectively and they are followed by six handheld cameras roaming the kitchen-equipped studio. Conversations can include all contestants or they may be broken down into smaller groups. In addition to recording the production audio to two Fostex DV824 digital eight-track recorders, the producers wanted to have an individual audio mix for each mixes to camera, but they did not want mixer personnel roaming the
floor. The solution was to send wireless each camera from a central mixer. In the past, this meant potting up and down from a myriad of rotary Aux sends on the console — a method which proved inefficient and frustrating.” Peter Schneider at Gotham Sound designed an elegant and sophisticated system — the first of its kind — that met the show’s unique audio production requirements. “When the show’s producers described their requirements for recording audio on the upcoming season, Michael and I realized no off-the-shelf solution existed that was capable of doing what they wanted,” said Schneider. “With a combination of Lectrosonics equipment and JazzMutant’s Lemur touch screen surface controller, we designed a custom solution that enables one sound mixer to quickly route any of 16 microphones to six automixes on the fly — saving the show both time and money.” In the show’s control room, the sound department views the images from all six cameras on a six-split video screen, with cameras 1-3 on top and 4-6 across the bottom. The graphics on the Lemur are arranged accordingly, with the names
of all individuals wearing microphones appearing as ‘buttons’ contained within each camera’s graphic parameters. The audio mixer sees who is appearing on each camera and, using the Lemur to route audio through two Lectrosonics DM84 digital matrix audio processors, switches each mic on or off for each camera mix, creating individual camera mixes that are then wirelessly transmitted to each corresponding Michael Bergman of the Food Network with the Lectrosonics DM84 Matrix Mixers and camera. The show uses a com- JazzMutant’s Lemur control surface. bination of 12 Lectrosonics UM200 and 26 UM400a beltpack trans- “The Lectrosonics equipment performed mitters in conjunction with three fully extremely well. With people wandering stocked Venue modular receiver systems about, we had transmitters walking away as well as 18 Lectrosonics UCR211 and 20 from one setup and into another, yet we UCR411A receivers. Additionally, a Lec- encountered no downtime in a variety trosonics IFBT4 compact IFB transmitter of environments over the course of a sixwas used by the producers to communi- week shoot that included RF heavy New York. Out of 68 working frequencies, we cate with talent. Bergman described the performance only had to reprogram three units durattributes of the Lectrosonics wireless ing the entire run, which is nothing short equipment in what can only be described of terrific. The Lectrosonics gear proved as a heavily congested RF environment. indispensible.”
Colburn School Installs Class-Act Sound System
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Sonitus is an affiliation of independent LOS ANGELES — The Colburn School in downtown Los Angeles has installed an consultants that offers sonic environment L-ACOUSTICS KIVA line source array system solutions, says Vogler. “There are a couple with KILO low-frequency extension speakers of folks that work with me and we divvy up in Thayer Hall, a newly constructed 200-seat the workload; somebody designs the audio performance and instruction space. The network paths, someone looks over the loudspeaker system, which is powered by video elements.” Thayer Hall, which opened in SeptemL-ACOUSTICS LA4 amplified controllers and also includes the company’s 108P self- ber, is additionally outfitted for webcasting, powered reference monitors for left, center video displays and long-distance teaching. and right stage lip fill was specified by A/V “We’re excited because the L-ACOUSTICS consultants Sonitus and is integrated into a system integrates well with all of the digital networking that we’re providing,” shares campus-wide audio and video network. Sonitus Principal Fred Vogler, an L.A.- Vogler. “We have CobraNet for live sound based independent consultant, sound de- and EtherSound for recorded elements. We signer and engineer, recommended the setup can channel it locally at each of the perforof four ultra-compact KIVA line source array mance venues or distribute it throughout elements flown below a single KILO LF exten- the campus, including the internal cable sion on each side of the intimate Thayer Hall video network.” The new hall is part of a $120 million, stage. “I’ve had success using L-ACOUSTICS speakers at the Hollywood Bowl,” explains 326,000 square-foot, 12-story expansion of Vogler, who works the entire summer season the Colburn School. It comprises a school of L.A. Philharmonic and contemporary music of performing arts and a degree-granting events at the Hollywood Bowl, which features conservatory of music. All four programs offered by the consservatory are fully ensubstantial V-DOSC and dV-DOSC arrays. “My experience with L-ACOUSTICS has dowed and cover tuition and room and shown that it’s a great speaker for all types of board costs for each student. music, whether it’s heavy rock or subtle classical amplification.” The KIVA and KILO systems, which were introduced less than a year ago, were appealing for a number of reasons, he says. “These are the baby brothers of the dV-DOSC and brand new on the scene, and we didn’t need something that was too imposing. Especially in a small concert hall, you don’t want a large eyesore of loudspeaker technology. The coloring and shape of them also matches the The Colburn School’s 200-seat Thayer Hall performance space style of this facility.”
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Maroon 5 Breathes Easy with New Consoles
Singer Adam Levine of Maroon 5 performs at The Pearl at The Palms Casino Resort on Nov. 10, 2007 in Las Vegas.
BUENA PARK, CA – Maroon 5 continues its successful worldwide tour in support of their latest It Won’t Be Soon Before Long CD. Clair/Showco is providing complete production and crew for the tour with audio equipment, including two Yamaha PM5D digital audio consoles, one for house and one for monitors. “ The first time I used the 5D was on Motley Crue,” states Kirk Shreiner, front of house engineer for the Maroon 5 tour. “I was using another digital console and just never liked the
way it sounded, nor could I trust it. So while the tour took a break, I switched to the PM5D. I liked it a lot better; it feels like I’m mixing on a console and not a computer.” Prior to joining the Maroon 5 tour, Shreiner used a PM5D to mix Fiction Plane, the opening act on the Police Reunion Tour. “When I found out I was going to mix Fiction Plane, the PM5D was my first choice,” Shreiner says. “The one thing I really like about the console is that you can patch your split in the back of the console, not requiring a rack to go with it in order to get your inputs into the console. I like the overall feel, how it
sounds, and the lay out of the PM5D,” he continues. “It's always my first pick.” During last year’s leg of the tour, P.A. consisted of a Clair/Showco Prism PA, 8 wide by 4 deep per side. Shreiner used 14 S4 subs across the front with four FF2s for front fill, all powered by Crown 3600 amps. His drive rack consisted of six Lake IO units with custom Clair/Showco crossovers for each kind of cabinet. For the second leg of the tour beginning in early 2008, an I4 or I3 rig may be used. Microphone arsenal consists of Shure SM57 and 58s, Audio-Technica 4050s, OPUS 88s, AKG 460 and 414s, and a bunch of DIs. Monitor Engineer Bill Chrysler uses a Yamaha PM5D digital console for monitors and his setup consists of SRMs for floor monitors. For side fills he flies three Prism blues per side with four Prism subs on the deck, two per side — one up stage and one down stage. The drummer and keyboard player use ML-18s and a butt shaker for low end. The band also uses personal monitors driven by a Shure 700. “I've probably used PM5Ds and PM1Ds since they on about several hundred shows,” states Chrylser. “I have been using the Yamaha PM5D on the Maroon 5 for about six months now and just traveling with a PCMCIA card with my show program on it that I can plug into the 5Ds used at each show. A huge part of the creative and artistic part of our jobs is on these cards. We are preparing all the equipment for the next leg of the tour in Japan and Europe, and having the console settings on this card will save an incredible amount of time.”
Heil Sound Assumes Worldwide Distribution Efforts
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FAI R VI E W HEI G HTS, I L — Heil S ou nd ha s annou nced that effec tive immediately the compa ny will as s u me a ll wor ldwide s ales dis tr ibu tion effor ts. The a nnou ncement comes af ter the compa ny ’s dis tr ibu tor s ent a letter to dealers telling them that they were res igning the Heil S ou nd line. Heil S ou nd Pres ident B ob Heil s tated, “ The decis ion to handle ou r own dis tr ibu tion had alrea dy been ma de on ou r end a nd we have been assembling a sales team which will cons is t of a national s a les mana g er a nd inde pendent reps. Anyone who has s een me at a trade s how, or at a concer t or giv ing a talk to dealers k nows that I enjoy the direc t conta c t and dialog with cu s tomers. Af ter a ll, it is my name on the produ c ts. B y eliminating the U.S. dis tr ibu tor ‘ layer,’ we a re better a ble to prov ide the ma r ketpla ce with new and exciting micro phone produ c ts.” Heil Sound dealers are encouraged to contac t their local repre sentatives or call the fac tor y direc tly should questions arise. 10
International News Operation MySpace: Live from Kuwait Entertains U.S. Troops KUWAIT — Entertaining a few thousand troops overseas is hardly a new concept, but sending the show live over Gary Lux the Internet for a few million more viewers takes it to a whole new level. MySpace and AEG Live teamed up with the U.S. Department of Defense for Operation MySpace: Live from Kuwait, a three-hour plus MySpaceLive! concert that brought leading stars to the Middle East to perform for U.S. troops. The broadcast featured live performances by Jessica Simpson, Disturbed, the Pussycat Dolls, Filter, and more. The landmark event was webcast live on MySpace.com and portions of the MySpaceLive! concert are scheduled to air nationally on FX television on April 12. Los Angeles-based Bennett Group brought their dual 96-channel Pro Tools|HD recording rigs to Kuwait, with veteran engineer Gary Lux manning the Digidesign VENUE D Show console. The entire system was supplied, designed and integrated by Los Angeles-based RSPE Audio Solutions, who also provided ongoing support and expansion. “It was kind of like taking Hollywood and placing it on the moon, then taking it away again,” says Lux of the barren, stifling desert setting, just 12 miles from Iraq. “The system ran like a champ, even in the face of 100-degree heat and blowing sand. And this is the same system we took on a ski tour last year — it’s been through a range of over 150 degrees. Digidesign’s stuff is the most robust and dependable equipment ever. I’m fearless on this system.”
Melodifestivalen Narrows Down Competition STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN — United Audio Starlight (UAS), Sweden’s largest audio rental provider, has given its new NEXO GEO S12 line-array system a high profile nationally, taking it all over the country with the Melodifestivalen, the competition to choose which artist will represent Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest. The five-part Melodifestivalen culminated in a grand final at Stockholm’s famous Globe venue in mid-March. All concerts were sell-out shows, and the process up to and including the final selection was broadcast live on SVT. UAS, which has taken delivery of 24 NEXO S1210 and four S1230 cabinets, complete with EtherSound-enabled NX242 TDControllers and CAMCO Vortex 6 amplifiers, used its new
inventory as the outfill system partnering the main GEO T frontof-house system on the show. A long-time NEXO user, UAS has made a commitment to the GEO S12 Series after it noticed that a number of smaller PA companies were beginning to pitch for UAS business. “In the Swedish market, the S12 is the best-selling NEXO array,” says Per Olof Ljungmark of Intersonic, which imports NEXO into Sweden. “Being a small country, we Melodifestivalen competition have a lot of small venues and in fact, it’s a godsend for a lot of club ownthe compact S12 Series is just the right size, ers and regional rental companies.
Google Fuels White-Space Fire continued from cover
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channels 36, 37 and 38. Problem is that channel 37 is already set aside for uses including medical telemetry and radio astronomy and the FCC has made moves in the past to protect those uses. And in markets such as New York and Los Angeles, channels 36 and 38 are already occupied by DTV signals. And even in markets where 36 and 38 are “clear,” the two channels combined offer nowhere near the bandwidth needed for a large production. Google’s other offer is a beacon device that they describe as a “relatively inexpensive” add-on to existing wireless mics that basically transmits a signal that says “I’m a wireless mic, don’t use this spectrum.” Which sounds great except that the only tested versions of similar schemes have failed badly and the little technicality that use of the beacon as currently envisioned would require users to input an FCC license number into a database. You DO have an FCC license for all of the wireless in your shop, right? This requirement alone, totally separate from the “it doesn’t actually work” issue would mean that the vast majority of wireless mic users would not be able to use the beacons.
On the Move DAS Audio USA has announced the appointment of Ramon Franco to the position of applications engineer. With an extensive background in both the application and sales sides of the pro auRamon Franco dio business, Franco’s new position with DAS Audio expands the Miami office’s ability to better support both existing and prospective clients throughout the Americas. In his new position, Franco’s responsibilities will encompass Aero line array systems support and configuration, as well as general technical support and systems design services for the entire DAS family of products.
Shure Incorporated has appointed Robin Hamerlinck to vice president of global information systems and CEO. In this position, she will be responsible for the development and opera- Robin Hamerlinck tion of all of the Company’s information systems and infrastructure. Previously, Hamerlinck was chief technology officer at Merisant Worldwide, Inc. and before that, she worked at Monsanto, where she held various information technology management positions.
LIVE SOUND Theory & Practice
By Mark Amundson
QSC has announced that Harold Yin has been named as the company’s new senior vice president of global strategy and business development. As part of his duties in this newly created executive position, Yin is responsible for directing and managing strategic planning and development activities for all global business.
Sabine has named Joe Nguyen as the n e we s t a d d i t i o n to the Sabine sales team. As sales director for the eastern region, Nguyen will be responsible for Pro Audio sales east of the Mississippi, customer and consul- Joe Nguyen tant relations, as well as developing new markets. He is relocating to Sabine’s home office in Alachua, Fla., and will be traveling in the territory immediately. Most rece ntly, Nguyen was product manager for the Crest Audio and Architectural Acoustics Divisions of Peavey Electronics.
Shure also announced that Paul Applebaum will lead the human resources division. He has served as vice president of global legal services and general counsel for three years. As exec- Paul Applebaum utive vice president of human resources, global legal services and general counsel, he will now assume responsibility for all aspects of the human resources division, as well as continue to be responsible for the company’s legal matters.
Theory & Practice
Marshank Sales recently announced that Paul Hugo has joined the company as a partner with Gary Marshank. Hugo brings his background in the contracting, live sound
Meyer Sound has announced that Dave “Wiggy” Wiggins has joined the company as its director of marketing for Europe. In this newly created position, Wiggins will be responsible for planning and executing Dave “Wiggy” Wiggins strategic marketing efforts that will further promote Meyer Sound in Europe and help serve the needs of the local markets. Wiggins will work closely with Meyer Sound’s marketing department in Berkeley and with the sales Joe Caruso force throughout Europe. Meyer Sound’s growing technical support team has also grown with the appointment of audio veteran Joe Caruso Jr. as Northeast technical sales support representative. Caruso will work with Northeast Sales Manager Sandy Macdonald to provide onsite support services and product demonstrations throughout the region.
Prior to taking on his new role at QSC, Yin was a senior consultant with McKinsey & Company. While with the firm, he worked to develop successful growth strategies with leading global compa- Harold Yin nies in the telecommunications and technology sectors.
Harman Pro North America has expanded its support personnel by appointing Shane Morris as principal engineer for Soundcraft and Studer’s digital console offerings. The announcement comes from Nick Owen, HPNA Shane Morris vice president of sales. Morris is primarily tasked with providing technical sales, engineering and support for sound reinforcement customers using Soundcraft Vi Series and Studer Vista Series consoles. He comes to Soundcraft and Studer with more than three decades of pro audio industry experience, initially starting out in his native Australia designing and building mixing consoles and power amplifiers. Morris most recently was employed as a U.S. technical sales and support engineer for DiGiCo.
and broadcast segments, as well as a manufacturer’s point of view to assist Marshank with the overall management of Marshank Sales and focus on the company’s contracting and live sound markets. Paul Hugo
IVE SOUND, Theory and Practice offers practical advice on real topics important to technicians and engineers in the live sound business. In these pages sound engineers of all levels will find vital help on how to deal with real-world problems such as time-pressure, troubleshooting a rig, dealing with non-technical individuals (venue management, musicians, patrons, etc.) and their competing demands, and the limitations of their budget. Collected and expanded from Amundson’s monthly column in FRONT of HOUSE magazine, LIVE SOUND, Theory and Practice offers solid technical data to help you understand the theory behind the hows and whys of sound reinforcement with sections that cover speaker and amplifier configuration, power distribution and signal processing, as well as concrete practical advice you can use when the gig gets hot. It’s recommended reading for anyone out on a gig who wants to get it right.
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Here is our “virtual” show coverage of Europe’s major music trade show.
he ProLight and Sound show in Munich, Germany, is one of the biggest music trade shows in the world and there is plenty of audio there. So why don’t we at FOH attend? Well, truth is that if I am going to fly to Europe, I want it to be for more than another freaking trade show. Sue me. But we get lots of announcements of stuff that was intro’d at the show, so we have put together this bit of “virtual” show coverage. Just pretend we actually went…
Aviom 6416m Mic Input Module
Aviom has introduced the latest addition to its Pro64 Series of audio distribution products, the 6416m Mic Input Module. In tandem with this debut are its companion products, the RCI Remote Control Interface and the MCS Mic Control Surface. Aviom’s new Pro64 series features a remote-controllable 6416m Mic Input Module, and the product delivers with 16 mic-level analog inputs to a Pro64 audio network system. Each channel on the 6416m has a continuously variable gain setting, multi-segment signal level LEDs and individual channel on/off switches. The 6416m supports all valid Pro64 sample rates, from 44.1/48 kHz± to 192 kHz±. The 6416m can be remote controlled by adding the RCI Remote Control Interface and MCS Mic Control Surface. The 1U RCI provides a network access point and monitor station and accepts the MCS Mic Control Surface, which is used to select and edit any active mic preamp channel anywhere in the network. The Control Group function on the 6416m and RCI allows control of active mic channels to be divided among up to four different simultaneous users and control points. The 3U-high 6416m Mic Input Module is compatible with all Aviom Pro64 digital audio network products and can be connected to analog or digital output modules, or to the 6416Y2 Yamaha console card in any combination. Aviom’s Virtual Data Cable (VDC) connectivity for GPIO, MIDI and RS-232, also included on the rear panel of the 6416m Mic input Module, allow users to configure and transmit up to 14 channels of non-audio data throughout the A-Net Pro64 network without compromising audio bandwidth. www.aviom.com
Innovason Sensoft Version 12.0 Software
Innovason has released Sensoft v12.0 software, which coincides with the release of the new internal effects module, the FM-8VB, as part of the PRO FX package. Sensoft 12.0 offers full management of the comprehensive range of effects that comprise the FM-8VB. Compatible with the full range of Innovason audio racks, FM8VB is simple to implement and use. With four effects engines installed between each pair of I/Os, all of which are fully configurable to receive the algorithm of your choice, all the I/Os are accessible via the patch grids within Sensoft. From there, you simply have to declare your I/Os as insert points, or to feed your inputs via an aux on the console while using a temporal effect such as reverb, echo, etc. The other major feature of Sensoft 12.0 is that it increases the mix capacity of the Sy48 from 72 inputs/40 busses to 104 inputs/48 busses, all in the same compact, lightweight format. www.innovason.com
JBL Professional Introduces AE Compact Loudspeakers
Crown has launched the Macro-Tech i series. Comprised of three models the MA-5000i, MA-9000i and MA12000i the Macro-Tech i Series builds upon its predecessor by incorporating Crown’s advanced, patented Class-I circuitry, which delivers greater power while simultaneously reducing overall amplifier weight by more than half. The new lineup is equipped with comprehensive status, fault and load monitoring via standard Ethernet networking and Harman Pro’s HiQnet and System Architect software. In addition, a universal power factor corrected power supply is designed to ensure that the new models can be used anywhere in the world, delivering full-rated power regardless of where touring schedules may lead.
JBL Professional has introduced eight new compact AE Series loudspeaker models. The new AE Compact loudspeaker series provides more options for system designers and integrators in a variety of applications. The new JBL Professional AE Compact loudspeaker series features eight models, providing system designers and integrators with more flexibility. The new loudspeakers consist of eight high-output, two-way loudspeaker models incorporating either single or dual woofers, including 5.25-inch, 6.5-inch, and 8-inch transducers. The high-frequency sections include a one-inch dome tweeter for two models (AC15 and AC25), while the remaining six models incorporate one-inch exit compression drivers. The AC18 and AC28 models offer the system designer a choice of rotatable Progressive Transition waveguides with coverage patterns of 90 x 50 degrees or 120 x 60 degrees. Progressive Transition waveguides deliver uniform off-axis frequency response to every point within the intended coverage area. PT Waveguides combine pattern control with undistorted sound for natural music and intelligible speech. The AC25, AC26 and AC28 models incorporate JBL’s Filtered Array Technology (FAT ), which is designed to allow each of the low-frequency transducers to be independently controlled for magnitude and phase response, resulting in smoother power response and constant coverage. Rounding out its VerTec Series line array family of powered and passive loudspeaker models for the professional tour/rental and performance-venue markets, JBL Professional introduces the JBL VerTec VT4889ADP Full Range High Directivity Line Array Element and the companion VT4880ADP Ultra Long Excursion Arrayable Subwoofer. Both models are integrated audio systems featuring field-proven JBL DrivePack technology.
Recognizing an opportunity to create a product tailored to an application growing in popularity, Celestion has introduced the NTR08-2009D, a 200-Wrms, mid-bass range unit, designed for line array applications. With a space-efficient octagonal profile, this loudspeaker features a neodymium ring magnet that delivers a high-force factor. Overall, the NTR08-2009D provides 95 dB sensitivity across a frequency response of 70 Hz to 3 kHz. In addition, the NTR08-2009D features a copper-sleeved pole to reduce inductive rise for improved HF performance. An “M-roll” surround provides progressive excursion control. NTR is a range of cast-aluminium chassis neodymium magnet drivers for professional sound reinforcement applications designed with “intelligent heat management” applied to both chassis and magnet assembly. www.celestion.com
Crown Macro-Tech i series
4/1/08 11:50:26 AM
Meyer Sound MM-4XP
Turbosound Flex Array
Meyer Sound has unveiled the self-powered MM-4XP miniature loudspeaker. Housed in a compact aluminum enclosure, the MM-4XP is especially suitable for installations involving space limitations and visibility concerns, such as fill and spot coverage, and hidden locations like chancel steps in a house of worship. It’s flexible and easy-to-configure mounting options, as well as its ability to reproduce both speech and music, make it a choice for fixed applications, theatrical presentations (stage lip frontfill) and small portable systems for corporate AV solutions. The MM-4XP meets the same performance standards established by its predecessor, the MM-4, and adds the advantages of self-powered systems with onboard amplification and signal processing. The MM-4XP’s proprietary four-inch cone transducer, manufactured at Meyer Sound’s Berkeley factory, delivers a maximum peak SPL of 113 dB, and has a wide operating frequency range of 120 Hz to 18 kHz with low distortion. Peak and rms limiters regulate loudspeaker temperatures and excursion, ensuring that the MM-4XP performs well even when driven into overload. The MM-4XP’s amplifier and signal-processing circuits are designed to store DC power and tolerate voltage drops, thereby accommodating light-gauge cables and long cable runs. The MM-4XP receives balanced audio and DC power from a SwitchCraft EN3 connector on its rear panel. The sealed, five-pin EN3 connector provides protection against harsh environmental conditions when the MM-4XP is installed outdoors.
Turbosound has introduced the Flex Array, a medium–scale professional sound reinforcement system that combines elements of Turbosound’s patented point-source system with well-proven line-array technology, resulting in a versatile, onebox-fits-all loudspeaker product designed for a variety of venue types. By changing the orientation of the cabinet, one enclosure type is capable of being used in either line-array or point-source configurations. The ability to rotate the mid/high waveguide within the enclosure gives additional flexibility of use from only one type of box. The Flex Array system has been designed from the ground up, resulting from a three-year development cycle closely related to the development of the Polyhorn, and uses Turbosound’s patentpending Dendritic horn, which produces a line source element with directional qualities together with clarity and definition. All neodymium drive units ensure that weight is kept to a minimum for easy trucking and handling. Flex Array is fully arrayable with flywear integrated into the box for rapid setup with no external parts, or can be used with external yokes and brackets for semipermanent and fixed installations. The bandpass low-frequency cabinet uses a neodymium 18-inch drive unit and can either be flown with mid/highs, or ground stacked. Digitally self-powered versions with integrated lightweight Class D amplifier modules are also available, making Flex Array products ideal for the corporate market as well as for live sound applications.
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4/1/08 11:51:20 AM
Showtime Huey Lewis and the News Venue
FOH Console: Midas Heritage 1000 Speakers: 32 - EV XLC DVX, 6 - EV Xi1152, 12 - EV XSubs Amps: EV P3000, P3000RL Processing: EV Dx38, BSS FCS 960, TC DTwo, Yamaha SPX 990, SPX2000, Eventide H3000 D/SE, Lexicon 480L, dbx 160SL, Summit DCL200, Drawmer DS404, DL441 Power Distro: Motion Labs Rigging: CM Lodestar
Shaw Conference Centre Edmonton, AB
FOH Engineer: Jim Moran Monitor Engineer: Brian Teed Systems Engineer: Chase Tower Systems Techs: Garett Brechin, Colin Detert
Soundco Axe Productions Inc.
ST Breakout Assemblies: Ramtech Snake Assemblies: Ramlatch MON Speakers: EV Xw12, EAW SB850, Shure PSM700 w/ custom molds Amps: Crown MA1200, MA2400 Processing: dbx Driverack, KT DN360, Avalon Vt737, Lexicon 960L Mics: Shure, Sennheiser, Shure UHF U4D w/ SM58 Power Distro: Motion Labs
Community Christian Church — Blast/Fusion 2k8
Kalahari Convention Center Wisconsin Dells, WI
FOH Engineer: Tom Braxton Monitor Engineer: Carl Rupsis Systems Engineer: Tom Braxton Production Manager: Tom Braxton, Wayne Kwiat System Techs: Peter Brennan, Carl Rupsis
FOH Console: Midas Verona 480 Speakers: Nexo Alpha: 6x M3; 10x B1; 4x S2; & 2x PS15 (frontfill) Amps: Crest Pro 9200 Processing: Nexo NX241 (PA); BSS DPR404 & dbx 160x comps; BSS DPR504 gates (inserts) Mics: Shure, Sennheiser Power Distro: big audio Proprietary Rigging: 2x CM Lodestar 1-Ton Breakout Assemblies: Whirlwind, Ramlatch
Snake Assemblies: Ramlatch MON Consoles: Midas Siena 480 Speakers: 7x Shure PSM 400 w/ E3 Earpieces (5 wireless, 2 wired); 2x EAW M500, 2x EAW SM222 (sidefills) Amps: Crest CA12 and CA6 Processing: BSS, Drawmer, dbx Mics: Shure, Sennheiser Power Distro: big audio Proprietary
Soundco big audio
NFL Tailgate Party with Willie Nelson & Sara Evans GEAR
Cardinal Stadium Louisville, KY
Clearwing Productions Phoenix LLC E>ÛÝÛJFLE;Û
FOH Engineer: Jeff Schauer Monitor Engineer: Scott Briese Systems Engineer: Chris Balke, Brian “Youngblood” Baumgardner (network engineer) Production Manager: Gary Brunclik System Techs: Chris Balke, Youngblood, Nick Dressler, Jermiah Pflieger, KC Pelligrino
Snake Assemblies: Ramlatch, Whirlwind eSnake, eMods, Newegg Network FOH switching Console: Yamaha PM5D FOH, DM2000 Distrubution MON Speakers: L’ ACOUSTICS V-DOSC. ARCS, Consoles: Yamaha PM-5DRH (MON) HiQ115xt, MTD 112, Martin WT-15, Yamaha PM5D Fox Broadcast Meyer Melodie, JBL VRX, Meyer UPA, UPJ Speakers: Shure PSM700 Amps: Lab.gruppen, Crown Amps: Lab.gruppen Processing: Dolby Lake Processing: Dolby Lake w/ tablet Mics: Sennheiser, Shure, Earthworks, Mics: Shure, Sennheiser, various others various others Power Distro: Motion Labs Power Distro: Motion Labs Breakout Assemblies: W-1, W-2, W-4 JK8>@E>ÛÝÛ[email protected]
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LIVE SOUND, Theory and Practice This book offers practical advice on real topics important to technicians and engineers in the live sound business. In these pages sound engineers of all levels will find vital help on how to deal with real-world problems such as time-pressure, troubleshooting a rig and dealing with non-technical individuals.
informing creative minds... Back-to-Basics Audio Back to Basics Audio is a thorough, yet approachable handbook on audio electronics theory and equipment. The first part of the book discusses electrical and audio principles. Those principles form a basis for understanding the operation of equipment and systems, covered in the second section. Finally, planning and installation of a home audio system is addressed.
Computer Sound Design This comprehensive introduction to software synthesis techniques and programming is intended for students, researchers, musicians, sound artists and enthusiasts in the field of music technology.
4/1/08 3:47:43 PM
Venue University of Miami Miami, FL
FOH Engineer: Booth Feed Systems Engineer: Frank Snipes Production Manager: Rod Sintow Systems Techs: Jack Figaro, Sean Miller
Show Systems Inc.
Orange Bowl GEAR
FOH Console: Yamaha O1V Speakers: 40 Meyer Milo, 10 Meyer 700hp Amps: Meyer self-powered Processing: Meyer Galileo Mics: Shure Power Distro: Skjonberg Controls, Inc. Rigging: Crane Service Snake Assemblies: Whirlwind
MON Console: Yamaha
Montessori School Fundraiser
Soundco Brantley Sound Associates
Montessori School Brentwood, TN
FOH Console: Midas Venice 32 Speakers: 4 EAW KF300Hs, 2 EAW SB850‚s Amps: 2 QSC MX1500s, 1 QSC MX2500, 1 QSC MX4000 Processing: 2 XTA DP2s, 1 K-T 3600, 6 dbx 160s, 3 Aphex 622s, 1 Yamaha REV 7, 1 Yamaha SPX90, 1 TC Electronic M-One Mics: 4 Shure Beta 58As, 4 Countryman Type 85 DIs
CREW FOH Engineer: Chris Demonbreun Monitor Engineer: Dennis “Jade” Fielding
944 Magazine’s Superbowl Party Venue
Pontiac Garage Stage Scottsdale, AZ
MON Speakers: 12 Radian Microwedge and EAW KF600, SB1000 side fill Amps: 8 Crown K2, Macrotech and I-Tech for side fill Processing: dbx Driverack 480
Power Distro: BSA Custom Breakout Assemblies: BSA Custom Snake Assemblies: BSA Custom MON Console: Midas Venice 32 Speakers: 4 EAW SM200iHs Amps: 4 Crown 24x6s Processing: 2 BSS FDS-310, 6 White 4650s Power Distro: BSA Custom
We Want You! FOH wants your gig shots, horror stories and resume highlights! Go to www. fohonline.com/submissions to send us your Showtime pics, Nightmare stories and In The Trenches stats. Or e-mail [email protected]
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FOH Engineer: Scott Bozack Monitor Engineer: Eric Schnaitman Systems Engineer: Donovan Mote System Techs: Stew and Ryan
FOH Console: Midas XL 200 Speakers: EAW KF 750 Amps: Crown I-Techs Processing: I-Techs, and dbx Mics: Shure
4/1/08 3:48:52 PM
A y l r i v o e m ’ s e M p 12th e e K Annual
Power of Love
Sound crew delivered the powerful message loud and clear to raise money for charity. By BreanneGeorge (L To R): Sound Tech Mark Benson, Head Of Sound Roddy Pahl, FOH Engineer Craig Doubet, Sound Techs Sean Macke and Shad Groverland
Since the time this story was written, Roddy Pahl, head of sound at MGM Grand, has passed away. Our condolences go out to his friends and family. he MGM Grand Hotel and Casino’s newest venue, the Grand Pavilion, recently hosted a swanky affair in typical Vegas fashion. The venue, decked out in lavish decor, crystal chandeliers and expensive cars was transformed into Tinsel Town for the 12th Annual Keep Memory Alive Power of Love charity gala. The multi-million-dollar fundraiser brought together Hollywood celebrities, world-famous athletes and Vegas elite to raise money to help find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease and other memory disorders. VIP guests included Muhammad Ali, John Cusack, David Copperfield, Siegfried and Roy, Terry Hatcher and Hilary Duff, among many others. And for $75,000 a table, everything from the world-class dinner prepared by celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck to crooner Michael Buble’s performance, had to be flawless. Perhaps most important, Keep Memory Alive’s powerful message had to be delivered loud and clear to raise money for the Lou Rubo Brain Institute. Enter Roddy Pahl, head of sound at MGM Grand. Pahl was in charge of audio for the entire event, including production numbers, orators and the auction, which included bid packages featuring tennis lessons from Andre Agassi in Lake Tahoe, a trip to New York City to see Jersey Boys on Broadway and meet the cast backstage, and a chance to race on the Monaco Grand Prix in Monte Carlo. FOH Engineer Craig Doubet mixed audio for Buble’s performance, while H.A.S. Productions of Las Vegas installed the PA system.
Not Designed for Audio
CREW & GEAR
The Power of Love charity gala was the first concert event to take place in the venue, which had opened two weeks before. The Grand Pavilion expands the MGM Grand’s event space to 602,000 square feet, including the confer-
ence center ballrooms and Grand Garden Arena. “The cool thing of having a room this big is you can do anything you want to it. Once you get inside the fancy curtains, it’s a totally different space,” Pahl says. However, he acknowledges that the Grand Pavilion wasn’t designed for audio and has no permanent sound installation. “There’s no absorption of sound — it just bounces everywhere. We have to do a lot of adjusting and notching frequencies to compensate.” A dozen EAW 850s are to be installed to improve acoustics for music and speakers during events, but not full-blown concerts — in those instances, MGM will turn to H.A.S. to bring in a PA. The charity gala is essentially a test drive for another high-profile event slated for the Grand Pavilion in May — The Country Music Awards (CMAs). Pahl and his crew can prepare for the live award show by smoothing out the audio cracks now. “This is our first go-round in it, so it should be interesting. For the CMAs, we will use the full 400-feet-by-200-feet-ballroom. For this event, we’re thirding off the room,” he says, adding that in such a large room, the goal
CREW Sound System Contractor: H.A.S. Productions MGM Grand Head of Sound: Roddy Pahl FOH Engineer (Michael Buble): Craig Doubet Monitor Engineer (Michael Buble): Craig Brittain Techs: Mark Benson, Sean Macke, Shad Groverland Backline: Studio Instrument Rentals (S.I.R.)
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is to not have an overdose of volume in the front. “There’s some really high-class people here — they aren’t up for Metallica-level volume by any means,” Pahl says jokingly. “We’re going more for coverage than volume. People are here to spend a lot of money — they don’t want to be rocked out.”
A Balancing Act
The load-in for the one-night event was an entire week, requiring constant coordination between the three different sound crews. Pahl admits the hardest part wasn’t hanging the speakers and perfecting the acoustics, but, rather, keeping everyone happy and on the same page. H.A.S. Productions installed 24 JBL VerTec 4888s for mains and delays, 12 EM Acoustics subwoofers, two JBL VP frontfill with flybars, one JBL VP Drum fill with sub, four Crown ITech line array amp racks and 10 Radian/Rat Sound Microwedge RMW 1152s. The sound design consisted of speaker placement in the front to cover a third of the room, and then a delay set that covers the rest. “It’s a big square
Yamaha PM5D digital consoles JBL VerTec 4888s EM Acoustics Subwoofers JBL VP frontfill with flybars JBL VP Drum fill with sub Crown I-Tech line array amp racks DBX Driveracks: 2 DBX 4800 3 KT DN 3600 Dell Laptop, SMAART Live Rig, DBX 4800 V.4 settings
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box so it sounds like a big square box, but like most of our lives, you come in and make it work with what you have. The floor’s carpeted and there’s a decent amount of drape up, but most of it is not acoustically pleasing,” Doubet noted. “Keeping the speakers pointed at the seats is key.” A Yamaha PM5D digital console sits at front of house and a Yamaha DM2000 is used for a sidecar to mix the production numbers from various local acts, including dancers, choirs and musicians. “Buble’s guys are using up all the channels of the (PM5D), so we’re having a submix. That way it’s easier for both engineers so they aren’t stepping all over each other,” Pahl says. Buble’s band, which includes an eightpiece horn section, had 12 personal monitor mixes that were stored on memory cards for the Yamaha PM5D. “It’s a great starting point, rather than starting at zero,” Pahl noted. Doubet brought his own microphones for Buble and his band — a mix of Shure (Buble sings out of a Shure Beta 87), Sennheiser, Audio Technica, AKG, Neumann and DBX. Doubet admits it is one less variable to be concerned with since he is familiar with how they will perform and has the ability to pre-EQ. He uses Smaart Live to analyze the difference between the output of the console and what is going into the mics. The charity gala is a diversion from the arenas that Doubet is used to working on since joining Buble’s current tour as FOH engineer last June. His rig in the arena is the same everyday, making it easy in regard to the technical aspects of the job. “This event is a different part of the brain — I have to constantly be thinking, ‘what am I going to do about that speaker, what if it’s there?’ or ‘did they cover that part of the room?’ It’s fun to use the more technical side,” Doubet says.
Short and Sweet
Buble performed a short set for the event — only five songs — but despite the timeframe, this performance was just as challenging, if not more, for Doubet. Perhaps the one
CBI 200-ft isolated transformer split snake Radian/Rat Sound Microwedge RMW 1152s Monitor amp rack A (8 Crown XTI 4000, built-in DSP) Sennheiser 6 mix IEM racks Shure UHF Wireless, 2 Beltpacks, 2 Beta 87s Motion Labs 3-phase distro DAS STI800 Powered System sidefill
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The stage at the Power of Love charity gala
JBL VerTec 4888s provided coverage
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negative of mixing celebrity-packed red-carpet events is the fact that FOH is always in a less-than-optimal location. Doubet is mixing on a raised platform in the back of the room, thus higher up and farther away than the VIP guests. “They’ll never put (FOH) in the middle of the house at these high-end events,” he says. “For one thing, they don’t want to see it, and two, these tables cost a lot of money — $75,000. So, they’d rather put a table there than me.” To compensate for the location, Doubet walks around the room to get a feel for what it sounds like in different areas. When he mixes, Doubet says he must keep in mind that the sound he hears coming from the stage may not be accurate to what the guests are experiencing. So, although he may hear too much low-end at FOH, for example, the acoustics could be ideal from a guest’s standpoint and vice versa. “It’s like a translation device in your brain — you have to be aware that you’re not in an optimal location and figure out the difference between where you are located and the guests,” Doubet says. “It’s constant give and takes to make it work.” The biggest challenge of mixing Buble, Doubet admits, is keeping his wide dynamic range constrained in the room. Buble has such a big voice, in fact, that certain frequencies will take over the room; however, Doubet can’t remove those frequencies because they are needed during softer moments. “With a powerful singer like Michael, it’s a bit of a learning curve to know when he hits hard and when he doesn’t, and modifying the dynamics so his voice doesn’t take over.” Another challenge is figuring out what Buble will do next, as he is constantly interacting with the audience between numbers. ‘He’s a chatty guy — he’ll walk off the stage and out into the crowd and chat with people, then his band will jam and he’ll jump in,” Doubet says. “Michael likes to pick up on what the crowd wants, so he could end up doing a rap song (laughs). Honestly, it’s happened before.” Doubet has a two-week stint before he’s back on the road mixing for arenas. “I enjoy the whole show — the big band stuff is the most fun. It’s really exciting to do an intimate-style big band show in an arena and make people feel like they’re in a nightclub. Hisw music is a little different than the typical rock ‘n’ roll,” he says. “Just another color to use — instead of a guitar, you have eight horns.” When asked if there is anything he’s learned mixing at the charity gala, Doubet looks around the posh interior, taking note of the overwhelming Barbie-pink color before responding. “I learned that pink clouds look really weird onstage in front of all the instruments,” he laughs, pointing to the stage design. “I’m like, OK, that’s interesting. Hey, I like mixing with pink…”
4/1/08 4:02:29 PM
Ron Reaves and Mikael Stewart – Grammy’s Live One-Two Punch The 50th Annual Grammy Awards shook up the Staples Center
All Photos courtesy of the recording AcAdemy/WireimAge.com PhotogrAPhy by AlexAndrA WymAn
with a record number of performances — and challenges.
L-R: FOH Music Mixer Ron Reaves, FOH Production Sound Mixer Mikael Stewart, ATK System Manager Andrew “Fletch” Fletcher, FOH System Tech Jeff Peterson
his year, the Grammy Awards hit the big 5-0. The show, at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, lived up to the Recording Academy’s assertion that it would be the biggest show yet in terms of number of musical performances: 35 songs in 19 segments. Those performances required more than 450 microphones, not including what was used on the outdoor stage for the Foo Fighters’ show. Plenty of attention has been given in recent years to the broadcast audio for the Grammys, which went to a parallel 5.1 surround mix five years ago, and this year saw the main broadcast mix become 5.1 for the first time — the stereo mix would be an automated folddown. But nothing’s going anywhere if it isn’t right in the house. That’s where Ron Reaves and Mikael Stewart come in. Reaves, the FOH music mixer, and Stewart, the FOH production sound mixer, commanded a pair of Yamaha PM1D digital consoles that sent to a JBL VerTec 4889 system comprised 94 cabinets and 12 flown subs. They sat down to talk to FOH at various points before and after the show. Reaves has mixed the Grammy’s front of house for six years. Stewart, a 10-year veteran of the show, mixes everything that Reaves doesn’t: dialog, announcements, audio from video and commercial interstitials, combining them with Reaves’ music mix and sending the whole thing into the PA.
50th Annual Grammy Award’s stage setup at the Staples Center in Los Angeles
FOH: What was the biggest challenge you faced at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards show? Mikael Stewart: The diversity of artists and personalities. Thirty hairdos a day [laughs]. Seriously, though, the challenge for live sound on the Grammys is the Staples Center itself. The suites create a vortex effect for the sound. Combined with all the flat, hard surfaces in here, there’s only so much you can do in terms of EQ before you start to lose intelligibility. Ron Reaves: The set this year exacerbates what is already a tough room. It’s a concave design that tosses the sound around the stage. It creates the equiva-
lent of a huge parabolic horn that sends the sound right back at us. It contributes to a lot of the leakage we have to deal with. For example, Carrie Underwood’s song had the drum kit off to the side, but the parabola set projected it into the middle of the stage. We inevitably have a lot of drums leaking into the vocal microphones. We get some help — the venue puts down carpet and drapes for us. What can you do about that? MS: It’s a broadband problem, especially when the hall is empty. The seats are soft, but their vinyl covering makes them reflective between 800 [Hz] and 6 [kHz]. We’ll tweak the XTA processor to
some extent, but once the room fills up, the sound tightens up. Every engineer does a sound check in an empty arena. Though, we got lucky this year with the smooth, slanted piece of the set behind the podium. It’s better than the cocoonlike set piece we had last year, and this one actually helps the sound on stage by deflecting unwanted sound upwards. RR: The PA is tuned post my console, by Jeff Peterson, who is walking the room with a wireless tablet for the XTA processor. I found myself EQing my mix bus in addition to what was already on the PA. What other challenges did the show present? RR: There was a lot of lighting that was creating a hell of an RF field on stage. The buzzes and hums changed with the fluctuation of the lights. Also, stage volume is often an issue with bands, and here it was exacerbated by the horn effect created by the set design. I try to keep it between 95 [dB] and a peak of 102 [dB], but some
The challenge for live sound on the Grammys is the Staples Center itself. The suites create a vortex effect for the sound. Combined with all the flat, hard surfaces in here, there’s only so much you can do in terms of EQ before you start to lose intelligibility. — Mikael Stewart 20
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of the bands, like Brad Paisley, get a little hotter. What we have to remember, and what sets this show apart from any other you mix, is that the front rows of the audience are made up of record producers and engineers, and they don’t want to be assaulted. But you also still want the sound to have some impact.
nician backstage near Splitworld [the routing and patch hub for the show]. He runs them on our Pro Tools system and sends them out to us. Most of the time, it’s sweetening tracks, loops, effects and background vocals. Things that would be time-consuming and difficult to have me achieve. It’s easier to give me a track and let me blend it in. Kanye was simple
A JBL VerTec system rocked the Grammys with 94 cabinets and 12 flown subs.
of Genelecs in a truck or a recording studio. When you translate them to 90 15-inch speakers, I have to do a fair amount of EQ-
What were the two or three most critical pieces of gear you worked with that night and why?
The set this year exacerbates what is already a tough room. It’s a concave design that tosses the sound around the stage. It creates the equivalent of a huge parabolic horn that sends the sound right back at us. — Ron Reeves There were some backing tracks used on the show. Some were obvious, as with Kanye West, and others were blended in with the live performance. How does that work? RR: When an artist brings us backing tracks, they have to be in the form of a Pro Tools session and they go to a tech-
– eight tracks for one song: a pair of percussion, a pair of instrumental tracks, a pair of strings and a pair of effects for Daft Punc. The second song was literally just a twomix. A problem with prerecorded material is that they are mixed for a totally different medium. Audio-for-video is mixed on a pair
ing to make them sound the way they were intended to. When you mix on a 10-inch speaker, you’re going to get way too much low-end on the tracks. Add that to what’s coming off the walls and I’m fighting it in the 160 to 300 [Hz] range. I often high-pass those tracks because they have too much low-end for what we’re doing. It’s probably worst with audio from videotape. It’s not done in a music environment and they typically hype the low-end so it sounds good on a television speaker, but not through an 18-inch sub.
MS: The CEDAR DNS 1000. I used it as a kind of active noise gate on the podium microphones. It has a multiband filter capability that allowed me to eliminate room return into the podium mic. The Yamaha PM1D is versatile and reliable, which is great for this kind of work. I didn’t need the snapshot automation like Ron did; once I set things, all changes going forward are all organic and all on the podium microphone — I’m constantly chasing EQ based on all the different voices up there.
4/1/08 4:06:48 PM
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John Legend performing
RR: I especially liked using the 1176 and dbx 160 clone plug-ins on the PM1D. The 1176 plug-in is great for very powerful voices like Alicia Keys’. You did two remotes in one show — the Foo Fighters across the street and Amy Winehouse across the Atlantic Ocean — as many as have ever been done in 50 years of the Grammy Awards. How well did they translate to the PA? MS: Pretty well. As Ron mentioned, these are mixes made for TV. I made EQ changes to help in the room. The feed came to my console first, as a two-mix, I made some minor adjustment — in rehearsal I cut Amy down about 5 dB at 75 Hz, but needed less of a cut when the room was filled — then it went to the PA. RR: I concur, they translate as well as you could expect. Were there any new audio production elements at this show? MS: We did more of the performance-
into-award format. For instance, Fergie and John Legend did two minutes of a song and went right into the intro for an award. This is something you just don’t encounter on other award shows. What kind of input were you getting from Leslie Ann Jones (advisory council member of the Recording Academy’s P&E Wing, who supervised the live sound) and from the artist’s own live sound mixers? RR: We get suggestions and they are very appreciated. At one point [Grammywinning audio engineer/mixer] Leslie Ann Jones was behind me, calling out the moves on the Herbie Hancock and Lang Lang Gershwin tribute. She hung over my shoulder saying, “Clarinet! Herbie! Trumpet two!” It was difficult to see my own notes and that was a complex piece. I was glad for the help.
RR: Herbie and Lang Lang were 54 inputs, including three different stereo miking possibilities on each piano. Alici a Keys used up 61 inputs, but the biggest was the gospel medley, which used 64 inputs, 72 if you count the effects returns. Occasionally, I had to pop back and forth between two layers. John Harris, who along with Eric Schilling, mixes the 5.1 surround broadcast from the Effanel truck, also chooses and places the microphones. He’s looking to optimize the mic set up for broadcast. How does that affect what you do at front of house?
RR: I t ’s never a compromise. I t ac tually helps — his taste in mics is impeccable, and the microphone manufac turers are there in force and they help out. Looking back on Sunday night, what would you have done differently? MS: I’d have got my hair cut if I’d k nown how many video crews were around. Ac tually, ever y time we do the show, I always look for ways to make that room tighter. RR: I might have worn a hat.
How big were some of the snapshots getting on the PMD1 console?
50th Annual Grammy Award’s stage setup at the Staples Center in Los Angeles
4/1/08 4:08:00 PM
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IPR Takes L.A. Live “We need a world-class install. Oh, and you only have 18 months. Is that a problem?” By DavidJohnFarinella
the American Music Awards and performances broadcast during the Grammy Awards — were also staged and broadcast from there. It will be further tested when the Primetime Emmy Awards begin to telecast from the theatre this fall.
Keep It Flexible
two arrays of nine JBL 4880A subs and three JBL 4889s down fill boxes. The use of subwoofers in the center hang, Patrick says, “turned out to be quite beneficial. Each center array has three rear facing subs and eight forward facing subs that have been timed and tuned to produce a cardioid coverage pattern resulting in more than 18 dB reduction on the stage. That was very significant.” Additional boxes — two 4889 threeways and eight 4880A subs on each side of the stage, PD5212/95 in the upper balcony and AC2212/00 that were hung under the balcony — ensure even coverage throughout the theatre. When it came to picking a monitor system, IPR went with a Clair Bros. rig
The Vi6, especially with Vistonics, is very easy to learn if you’re not familiar with it, and the performance is on par with any of the best consoles. It’s basically a Studer console in disguise.” — Bob Patrick While the 4889s cover the majority of the room, a center hang that includes
A center hang including two arrays of nine JBL 4880A subs and three JBL 4889s
Designing a system that was flexible for all of those events was important, Patrick reports, and so was making sure the PA was rider-friendly. To that end, IPR called for a system that includes Crown amplifiers, two stripes of JBL 4889s in a line array and a pair of Soundcraft Vi6 consoles. “The ability to have a wellrespected and acceptable in-house system was a major criteria,” Patrick states.
all photos by Dan Griffin
hen the phone rings at IPR Services, the company’s Owner Bob Patrick expects to hear a challenge. After all, IPR has been at the helm for some of the most interesting install projects across the globe, including The Mirage in Las Vegas, Staples Center in Los Angeles and Makkah Mosque in Saudi Arabia. Still, he wasn’t quite prepared when he heard that he only had 18 months to get the design and install done for the brand new 7,100-seat Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles. Patrick and the IPR team got to work shortly after the theatre was constructed and Designer Chips Davis buffed out the room’s acoustics. Eighteen months. Ready, set, go. Beyond the project’s timeframe, Patrick was challenged by the integration of a number of disciplines that included the sound system, video system, security, telephone, data, broadcast cabling and RF distribution. The theatre opened in October 2007 with a six-day run featuring the Eagles and the Dixie Chicks. After that blockbuster run, musical acts like Sugarland, Queens of the Stone Age, Neil Young, Anita Baker, Mary J. Blige and John Fogerty have hit the stage. The room’s technology was maximized when a pair of awards shows —
that includes 12AM and ML18s powered by Crown amps. While the technology is there for bands to use personal monitors, there is not a permanent package installed at the theatre. The Soundcraft boards were picked for a couple of different reasons. “The Vi6, especially with Vistonics, is very easy to learn if you’re not familiar with it,” he says, “and the performance is on par with any of the best consoles. It’s basically a
Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles
Studer console in disguise.” According to the Nokia Theatre’s Head Sound and Video Engineer Keith Evans, the Vi6 board is becoming more interesting to bands coming into the venue, although most are still bringing in their own board. “The board is very intuitive and it’s great,” he says, “but when you’re dealing with a lot of tours coming in for a one-off, [they] tend to use what they know. It’s not a time to experiment.” That said, Evans says that most acts will hook into the venues racks and stacks. “But they’ll bring in their own outboard gear,” he adds. “We are working to get the bands to use our infrastructure. That’s the biggest obstacle, but if people have time to set up then it’s a little easier.”
Outside of the musical and talking head events that are booked into the theatre, a handful of televised events will be taking place there, and the board’s ability to send 56 channels of MADI was crucial for those dates. In fact, because of the facility’s broadcast future, the design team also included an extensive broadcast cabling system with somewhere around 30 media panels throughout the facility and a broadcast patch room stage right. Each of the media panels, Patrick says, has high definition SMPTE connectors, Triax connectors, BNC coax connectors, audio connectors, single mode and multi-mode fiber connections, telephone connections, Ethernet connections and power. The panels serve a number of functions — as tie-lines to the patch room, as tie-lines between panels or as a tie-line to broadcast trucks parked either in the
Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles
JBL 4889 three-ways and eight JBL 4880A subs on stage
“The ability to have a well-respected and acceptable in-house system was a major criteria.” — Bob Patrick loading dock or in the upper deck of a nearby parking lot. “We used the same approach at Staples and what it allows us to do is provide a clean installation where broadcasting can come in and connect directly to the building and basically not ruin the building in terms of the temporary cabling that occurs,” Patrick explains. “The real purpose of the inter-tie system is to have the ability to transport different disciplines, be it sound, lighting, broadcast, video or security to these various locations throughout the building.” The selection of the board also helped simplify the system because most of the processing was built in, Patrick reports. “We used BSS processing for routing and then Lake processing for driving the arrays and Crown amplifiers. Of course, the mark of any successful installation is a combination of satisfied audiences and recognition from industry pros. The Nokia Theatre L.A. Live got just that during the 19th Annual Pollstar Concert Industry Awards when it was named Theatre of the Year for 2007. Looks like 18 months was just enough time.
Rascal Flatts Tour Still Feels Good
Madison Square Garden
The chart-topping country sensation boasts the largest PA system on the road. Photos and Text By JoyZaccaria
ascal Flatts has been on fire for a couple of years and, according to Pollstar, the band’s 2007 tour ranked in the top 10 of the year. Rascal Flatts puts on a major show and to support it, Sound Image put together what they say is the largest PA system currently on the road in the U.S., featuring 90 JBL VerTec VT4889 full-size line array loudspeakers and 32 VT4880 arrayable subwoofers and two Studer Vista 5 SR digital consoles. Sound Image is also using dbx DriveRack 4800s for speaker management and Crown I-Tech 8000 amplifiers. For the first time on a major tour, all aspects of the system are controlled through a single interface HiQnet System Architect. Pairing Up the Consoles
It is common to see one model of console at FOH and something completely different in Monitor World, but there are advantages to the pair of Vista 5s that are out on this tour. “We can meter, we can see, we can manage everything and troubleshoot from one source,” said Jon Garber, long-
Rascal Flatts give fans a country music spectacle on their Still Feels Good tour
FOH Engineer Jon Garber in front of a Studer Vista 5 SR digital console
time front-of-house engineer for Rascal Flatts. In addition, setting up and tearing down is very efficient and fast with the new console. “The Studer sounds great,” he said. “It’s very smooth and what comes in is what goes out. There’s no coloration.” The Studer Vista 5 SRs digital desk converted Rascal Flatts’ Monitor Engineer Stuart Delk, who had resisted going digital. Prior to the Studer, Delk was using two analog desks weighing about 1,100 pounds each when in their cases. “My footprint took up one 10- by 22-foot area,” said Delk. “Now I’m at a third of that size. With the Studer, I have more outputs, more inputs and this one desk is doing what three other desks were doing: all my personal monitors, my sidefills, my flown sidefills, my subs on stage and the wedges out on the B stage.” The FOH and monitors have completely different channel bus requirements so each system has its own stage box, which handles the mic pres and runs back to the console on fiber. FOH has 84 mono inputs and 20 stereo inputs. Within that there are
eight stereo groups, 10 mono aux, 10 stereo aux, five mono matrix and five stereo matrix. The monitor console has a different channel bus structure. Delk has 84 mono inputs, 20 stereo, 20 stereo auxiliaries and 10 mono auxiliaries. Naturally, each member of the band wants to hear something different in their mix — which means he wants to be louder than everyone else. Effects are also a personal taste thing some guys like a lot of reverb, some guys don’t. “That’s why I’ve got one for every person on stage,” said Delk. “I have eight people on stage and nine reverb units. There is one extra for a guest. Brian McKnight has been known to sit in.” The Venue of All Venues
Setup went smoothly for the tour’s second major show using the Studer console. “We got loaded into Madison Square Garden at 6 a.m. and everything just seemed to flow,” said Garber. “If you don’t have your stuff together when you come to a place like MSG, you can find yourself
Rascal Flatts performing on stage at Madison Square Garden
in trouble and costing the band lots of money in labor time.” In addition to the personal monitors, Delk also installed JBL VerTec VT4889 sidefills for the singer. “It’s just the vocals as loud as possible in the sidefills that hang facing the stage,” said Delk. While the singer relies on his personal monitors to hear the lack of stage wash from the house speakers can be disconcerting. “These line array systems are very efficient,” said Delk. “All the sound goes toward the audience. Nothing resonates off the back of it. When we first switched to this VerTec PA, we didn’t have the sidefills and he was having a hard time hearing pitch. I got the sidefills going and he’s good to go now.” With guitar amps typically housed offstage and miked, Delk found a similar solution for the guitar player. There are wedges turned on when he’s playing a solo so he can get controlled feedback. The tour winds up on Aug. 2 at the TWC Music Pavilion at Walnut Creek in Raleigh, N.C.
FOH Engineer Jon Garber at the Studer Vista 5 SR digital console
Rascal Flatts in concert
“We got loaded into Madison Square Garden at 6:00 a.m. and everything just seemed to flow. If you don’t have your stuff together when you come to a place like MSG, you can find yourself in trouble and costing the band lots of money in labor time.” — FOH Engineer Jon Garber 30
Hear Technologies Freedom Back By BillEvans
s the use of personal monitoring systems has become more common, we have watched the price of earpieces come down substantially. You can get universal-fit models that rival the sound quality of customs that once cost more than a grand and can even find some custom fits for about ¼ of what was once the “standard” cost. While that has been happening with the earpiece side, the wireless transmitter/ receiver part of the equation has remained pretty resistant to price reductions. Yeah, there have been some downmarket models introduced, but even those are fairly pricey and the “rider-able” ones remain in the “more than a grand per” category. The Gear
Hear Technologies has made a great package of personal monitoring tools that is affordable, flexible and capable. Full disclosure here: I own and use both their Mix Back matrix mixer and Hear Back personal mixers and I am a big fan. But wireless is a whole ‘nother thang, and I have to admit approaching the review with a bit of trepidation. It’s kind of like going to see a friend’s band that you have never seen before and really hoping they are good so you don’t
and coupler for moving the whip antennae from the back of the unit to the front for rack use. The transmitter — unlike most units in this price range — has a metal case. Looking at the front from the left, you have a ¼-inch headphone jack with a volume control. Next is the control module with an LCD panel, Up, Down and Set buttons for scrolling through and changing parameters and a power switch. Pretty simple. The rear panel has an input jack for the wall-wart power supply (yes, we wish it had and onboard power supply, too, but at this price range you just won’t find that), a mono/stereo switch, a pair of balanced Neutrik combo input jacks, a -12 dB pad switch, a pair of input level controls and the antennae jack. The beltpack receiver is plastic, but with a nice rubberized finish that looks like it can take some abuse. (I dropped it three of four times and it had no discernable effect.) The top has the antennae, an RF signal LED, 1/8-inch earphone jack and volume control. The front has a backlit LCD and the same Up, Down and Set buttons as on the transmitter. Very simple to use: I actually pulled it out of the box, turned it on and started using it
The Freedom Back is a well-made piece of gear that does just what it needs to without a bunch of unnecessary and expensive bells and whistles. have to tell them otherwise when they ask for an honest opinion. I had nothing to worry about. The Freedom Back is a well-made piece of gear that does just what it needs to without a bunch of unnecessary and expensive bells and whistles. It comes in a nice plastic carrying case, which most FOH readers will likely never use, as it will end up in a rack. The ½-rack unit ships with rack ears and a BNC cable
without even cracking the manual because the settings are so few that setting it up is a no-brainer. Depending on whether you are using the A or B unit, you are running in the 584–608 Mhz or the 655–679 Mhz range with 120 channels grouped in 10 groups of 12. Frequency range is 40 Hz–16 kHz The Gigs
I used this both myself and with another singer in a loud rehearsal environment in Las
Freedom Back transmitter
Vegas about 100 yards from the backsides of the casinos on the west end of the Strip. This is not an RF-friendly area and I have had problems with other “prosumer” level wireless in the same room. I never had a blast of RF static or a dropout over two days of constant use. Battery life is published at four to five hours, but I ran it three hours each day and it still showed life on the receiver. So what doesn’t it have? One interesting thing is that there are no “loop through” connections for running multiple performers on the same mix. Instead, the Freedom Back takes the approach of using unlimited receivers on the same channel to accomplish the same thing in a much more cost effective manner. It sounded great, had plenty of volume and an automatic limiter on the transmitter that saved me a few times when someone plugged in a mic without muting the channel first. And the price is way below the “pedigreed” stuff.
Hear Technologies Freedom Back What it is: Wireless PM system Who it’s for: Bands, HOW and “nonrider” soundcos Pros: Well-built, simple, sounds good Cons: External wall wart power supply How much: $599 MSRP Web site: www.heartechnologies.com Freedom Back wireless receiver
QSC GX5 Power Amplifier By MarkAmundson When I first heard that QSC was going to offer a “low cost” audio power amplifier, my first instinct was how much lower from the RMX models could they go? Then they mentioned that they will adopt the new PLX2 cosmetics and limit the recommended load impedance to 4-ohms and up, and a “great idea” light bulb lit up in my head. And when QSC management said the amplifier would suit MI users and “oldsters” like me, I knew something good was afoot. This result was the introduction of the GX3 and GX5 audio power amplifiers with $399 and $499 manufacturers suggested list prices. The GX3 is a Class AB amplifier 32
with a stereo 4-ohm power rating at 425 watts, and the GX5 is a Class H amplifier with a stereo 4-ohm rating at 700 watts. The GX3 and GX5 numerics have some meaning in that the GX3 delivers 300 watts per channel into 8-ohm loads, and the GX5 delivers 500 watts into 8-ohm loads. What is great about these amplifiers is that they are not skimping watts needed to drive MI speakers to full excursion, like many competitive amplifiers. The Gear
The QSC GX series of amplifiers shares the same front and rear panel features. On
the front panel, your basic power on/off rocker switch is followed by two detented gain controls for individual channel level adjustment. Each channel gets two LEDs for signal present (green) and clip threshold (red), beside a common AC power on LED (blue). What is different about the GX series from all other QSC amplifiers is that the split grille intakes cooling air from the left side and partially exhausts heated air on the right side. Some remaining heated air does exit a smaller grille on the rear panel. The rear panel is a thing of beauty from a techno-geek perspective. On the left side,
the input signals have a triple redundant choice of inputs with XLR jacks, balanced or unbalanced TRS phone jacks and unbalanced RCA phono jacks for the DJ gear interconnects. Accompanying the jacks is a crossover switch to choose from normalWhat it is: QSC GX5 Power Amplifier Pros: Compact and rugged, enough power, price point. Cons: Nada for the price. How much: QSC GX5 $499 MSRP Web site: www.qscaudio.com.
4/1/08 4:12:59 PM
full range operation to a 100-Hz crossover split with channel 1 getting the subwoofer signals and channel 2 getting the top-box signals. Also on the rear panel, combo Neutrik NL2/Phone Jacks plus binding post handle the speaker cable interconnect tasks. With the Phone Jack feature using center orifice of the NL2, means that QSC is acknowledging our bad history of using guitar plugs and small gauge speaker wire for MI speakers. Rounding out the rear panel features, an IEC power jack and resettable circuit breaker handle the AC power chores. Other than the previously mentioned power ratings, the GX5 provided to me for this review has pretty standard specifications with less than 0.1 percent distortion ratings at 4-ohms, and a frequency response of 20 Hz to 20 kHz at the +0, -1 dB points. Damping factor is a barely adequate 100, but that is an okay trade-off for a cost sensitive amplifier circuit. And the six ampere draw at stereo 4-ohm loading to 1/8th power shows club power friendliness of the Class H amplifiers. Of course, the conventional transformer-based power supply does impact the chassis weight of 26 pounds. My curiosity got the best of me, due to what makes the GX5 a low-cost power amplifier offering with the QSC branding. After popping off the lid, and noting the “Made in China” labeling on the rear panel, I saw the reality of the technology. By designing the amplifier for only 4-ohm or higher speaker loads, the heatsinks could be reduced considerably along with the power transistor count. And the wellexecuted ducted fan cooling into the heatsinks puts the reliability concerns to rest, even with the expected torture from inexperienced sound system users. Another aspect came from the well thought-out owner’s manual, in that the 2-ohm rating is 350 watts per channel; assuming you ignored the rules and wired up four 8-ohm loads per channel. So, instead of getting the 700 watts per channel at 4 ohms, or 350 watts per 8-ohm speaker, the 350 watts per channel at 2 ohms places only 81 watts per 8-ohm speaker; an audible reminder that things get wimpy on loudness when you disobey the rules. The Gigs
QSC GX5 Power Amplifier
Ad info:http:// foh.hotims.com
I took the QSC GX5 out to a couple of gigs and placed the amplifier in both the top-box application and the stage monitor application. The 700-watt rating at 4 ohms makes a nice top-box amplifier for your typical dual 12-inch plus horn, or dual 15-inch plus horn full range speakers for club applications. In this situation, the GX5 kept cool all gig long and had enough snort for a rock ‘n’ roll club gig. The next test was handling a pair of wedges per side, in a similar rock ‘n’ roll/screaming vocalist kind of gig. Again the GX5 handled the chores of making the wedges scream back at the vocalists without running out of headroom or thermaling out. Many shop tests were equally torturous and the GX5 passed with flying colors. While the design of the GX5 does not compare with RMX and PLX design in terms of extra heatsink and parts, I could not find anything wrong with its performance or design. And I think the GX amplifiers deserve good marks in delivering on the low-cost attribute without suffering on the cheese factor many other MI market competing models show.
4/1/08 6:12:03 PM
Ted Leamy, Pro Media/UltraSound
Ted Leamy UltraSound has a long relationship with the Grateful Dead (shown here performing at the Greek Theater in Berkeley, Calif.), dating back to the 1970s.
By KevinM.Mitchell Who: Ted Leamy, COO, Pro Media/ UltraSound.
First gig: “A very long time ago when Mick Whelan was still on the road!”
What: Tour sound, corporate event production and audio installations.
I knew I wanted to be in this business when... “At 13 years old, I just said, ‘I’m doing that.’ I was a nerdy little kid, and everything about sound was just fascinating.”
Where: Hercules, Calif. (Just north of San Francisco) When: Founded in 1978. Full-time employees: 40 Recent tours and events: Dave Matthews Band, San Francisco Symphony, Irish Tenors, Pro Bowl, Andrea Bocelli, Primus, among others. Pro Media/UltraSound client Dave Matthews Band in concert
Recent installations: HP Pavilion Arena, San Jose, Calif.; and Anaheim Pond Arena.
Recent company highlights: Hired Ted! … and the company was recently awarded the Dallas Cowboys Texas stadium project. The new stadium is slated to open before the 2009 NFL season and will accommodate 80,000 to 100,000 people. Honored to be: Director of the Zappa Institute of Technology, a program for at-risk students in the Los Angeles school district. Gig before this gig: JBL, vice president of installed sound.
Biggest challenge of my job: “Balancing my time between the installation and tour sound divisions. That, and kicking the occasional butt.” Best part of my job: “First, getting back to the music. Secondly, being able to encourage people entering the industry that they too can realize their dreams and be successful.” What annoys me most about live concerts today is … “Why does it take sooooo many laptops to run a show?” If I could have lunch with anybody, living or dead, it would be… Donny. My greatest fear is… “Forgetting to point the loud part of the speaker towards the audience.” Words to live by: “Stick with it… just stick with it.”
Pro Media/UltraSound has recently worked with the San Francisco Symphony.
4/1/08 4:15:36 PM
top and think about it — given all of the nightmares that can happen on a typical audio gig, it is astounding that so many revolve around insufficient, inconsistent or just plain crappy power. And as the Digital Revolution marches on, it becomes even more crucial when you remember that an old analog console will handle inconsistent power levels a lot better than that shiny new digital board. Given its importance, it is shocking (pun intended) how many small sound
Furman Sound ACD-100
providers skimp when it comes to power distribution. I literally judge the potential of a small company as much by how they choose to handle power as I do by their speaker and console inventory. When it comes to power distros, the only rule is this: Find the best one you think you can afford then go up one level and figure out how to buy that one. The following chart offers plenty of info on units in a variety of price ranges. Go get juiced…
Motion Laboratories Max Pac
Mole-Richardson Company Type 7701 Lunch Box Plus
Leprecon LDMX Power Distro
AC Power Distribution CFE420
Ad info:http:// foh.hotims.com
Lex Products DB100A-A401520
TMB ProPower PRD
Nominal Chassis Dimensions
Power Inlet Connections
Power Outlet Connections
AC Power Distribution www.acpower distribution.com
RPD Series Distribution
$3,000 and up
Standard flight cases
Varies on configuration
120/240v or 120/208v 3-phase
Camlock, Twistlock, Edison, 19-pin multi, stage pin, Power-Con, Etc.
24” x 12” x 11”
400a pass thru.
21-20 amp Edison
110V/208V Sound Distro
25” x 21” x 28”
400A 5-wire 120/208V 3-phase cam
200A 120V/208V 3-phase
5 L14-20 outlets, 5 L21-30 outlets, 6 Duplex Edison outlets
120/208V Lighting Distro
25” x 21” x 31”
400A 5-wire 120/208V 3-phase cam
250A 120/208V 3-phase
6 Duplex Edison, 4 110V 19 pin, 4 208V 19pin, 5 wire 400A 3-phase cam
25” x 21” x 19-42”
400A 5-wire 120/208V 3-phase cam
80A-400A 120V/208V 3-phase
DAD 6SP FC3 “SOCAPEX DISTRO
20” X 20” X 10”
120/240V, AC 1200 Amps, 3-phase
6 Socapex receptacles 2 20-amp Edison duplex receptacles
DAD 2400 SC “SUPER CAM SPIDER”
24” X 9.5” X 14”
2,400 amp, 800 amp per phase, 3-phase, AC OR DC
19” x 14” x 3.5”
120V 1-phase 50/60 Hz
10-20 [email protected]
42” x 36” x 10”
350 lbs +/-50
208/240VAC 1-phase 50/60 Hz
50-200 [email protected]
19” x 18” x 8.75” max
10-100 [email protected]
3.5” x 19” x 8”
Stud terminal w/ set screws
Selectable: 120V single phase, 240V single phase, 208V 3-phase
3.5” x 19” x 8”
Stud terminal w/ set screws
Selectable: 120V single phase, 240V single phase, 208V 3-phase
19” x 13.5” x 6.5”
160A 5-wire Camlock
21.75” x 11.75” x 10.75”
40 lbs. 400A 5-wire Camlock
Applied Electronics www.appliednn.com
Equi=Tech Corp. http://equitech.com
Furman www.furmansound. com
INDU-ELECTRIC North America, Inc. www.indu-electric. com
Lex Products www.lexproducts.com
21.75” x 11.75” x 10.75”
Leprecon Power Distro
40” x 20” x 30”
Leprecon Power Distro
$4,000 - $15,000
15.5” x 20.75” x 24”
24” x 26” x variable RU’s
4x 19-pin 20A 120V N/A
16 series Cam-type
3 x 6 circuit (18 total) 19-pin 20A 120V, 3x 20A Duplex outlets
Twistlock, Edison, Stage pin, Multi
Variable up to 400 amps
Twistlock, Edison, Socapex, stage pin
Up to 400 amp, 3-phase, 4P5W
14” x 14” x 14”
16 series Cam-type 4P5W
100 amp, 3-phase, 120/208 VAC
NEMA 5-20 Duplex receptacles
14” x 14” x 14”
16 series Cam-type 4P5W
400-160 amp, 3-phase, 120/208 VAC
16 Series Cam-type 4P5W
Type 7841 Pass-Thru Plus
11” x 12.25” x 23.75”
120/208 volts, 1,200 amp, 3-phase
Bates (6-120 Volts, 100 amp) (3-220V, 100 amp)
Type 7991 See-Thru Cam Spider
14.25” x 24.5” x 8.25”
Camlock (2 in Parallel)
120/208 volts, 2,400 amp, 800 amp per leg, 3-phase
Camlock (6 double neutral)
Type 7701 Lunch Box Plus
9” x 9.625” x 6.75”
100 amp, 120 volt
5-20 amp duplex, 100 amp bates pass-thru
12.25” x 17” x 15”
120/208V, 200A, 3-phase
6 x NEMA L21-30, 1 x Edison duplex
12” x 11” x 22.5”
120/208V, 100A - 225A, 1-phase or 3-phase
2 or 3 RU x 17” x 5.5”
NEMA L5-20 thru NEMA L21-30, PowerCon
120/208V, 20A or 30A, 1-phase or 3-phase
Edison, Twistlock, PowerCon
Nutech Industries Inc. www.nutechpower.com
19” x 14” x 6”
60-amp Pin and Sleeve
60 Amp 120/208 Volt
NEMA L21-20s / 5-20 duplexes
2RU; 3.5” x 19” x 7.5”
Plugs into standard NEMA 14-50 socket (Range Plug)
80A total load
Standard NEMA connectors
Compact Custom Series
4 RU, 7” x 19” x 18.75”
3-phase power: 300 amps available, single phase: 200 amps available
3 L21-30s and 3 color-coded Edison duplex outlets
Custom Power Distros
Up to 20 rack spaces
Single and 3-phase power, 150 to 1350 available amps, 120/208 volts
3.5” x 19.0” x 10.5”
20 amps @ 120 volts
14 grounded AC receptacles
1.75” x 19.0” x 10.5”
15 amps @ 120 volts
8 grounded AC receptacles
1.75” x 19.0” x 10.5”
20 amps @ 120 volts
9 grounded AC receptacles
ProPower CE HPS-24 and HPS-48
19” rack in flight case w/ casters. HPS-24: 6.5” x 26”; HPS-48: 26.5” x 40”
Varies upon configuration
415V up to 400A
KC or Socapex 19-pin via Wieland patch leads
ProPower CE RMD
$1,500 and up
EIA 19” rack width; height varies upon configuration
Varies upon configuration
415V up to 400A
Wide selection of configurations available
19” x 6” x 5.25” (12” depth also available)
Varies upon configuration
120/240V or 120/208V; 30A 1-phase or 3-phase, 50A 1-phase; Pin & Sleeve or Twist-lock
Input 120/208V or 120/240V, output 120V
Wide selection of configurations available
$3,000 and up
EIA 19” rack width; height varies upon configuration
Varies upon configuration
120/240V or 120/208V; up to 400A 1-phase or 3-phase; Camlock or Pin & Sleeve
120/240V or 120/208V; up to 400A 1-phase or 3-phase
Wide selection of configurations available
Motion Laboratories www.motionlabs.com
Ramtech Industries www.ramtech.net
Mole-Richardson Company www.mole.com
9’ grounded AC power cord
415V up to 400A Powerlock or Pin & Sleeve
4/1/08 4:17:32 PM
6 sub and 2
Number of Sub-circuits/Breaker Ratings
20-amp thru 400a
Digital metering of voltage, amperage & frequency. Indicator lights provided on all circuits.
Numerous output configurations available. Options include main breaker, dimming, gooselights, etc.
Indicator lights on all outlets. Safety caps on Camlock pass-thru. Lightweight durable design.
5 20A 2-pole, 5 30A 3-pole, 6 20A single pole
3-phase main breaker LED indicators. PM-360 power monitor system continuous display of 3-phase voltage and current phase to phase voltage, ground-toneutral voltage and frequency.
UL 1640-Listed ;11U rolling ATA style rack
30 20A 1-pole, 24 20A 2 pole
3 main breaker LED indicators. PM-360 power monitor system with continuous readout of 3-phase voltage & current, phase-to-phase voltage, neutral-toground voltage and frequency
5-port LSC Delta DMX splitter, UL 1640-Listed, 13U Aluminum-lined ATA style rolling rack
Determined by outlet configuration
3-phase main breaker LED indicators. PM-360 power monitor system, continuous display of 3-phase voltage & current, phase-to-phase voltage, ground-toneutral voltage and frequency.
UL 1640-listed, 9-22U ATA style rolling or custom-designed rack, custom colors & logos available.
38 breaker positions
Indicator lamps for hot legs.
Go thru box only, no breakers
Available models: 2 x 6 or 4 x 4
Double neutral input/output
1 15-20A CB
Indicator lights show active surge protection and output state.
Balanced power system for racks in production/performance venues. Sizes range between 1-2 kVA.
6-20 output circuits
Indicator lights show active surge protection.
Balanced power system for hard wiring production/performance venues. Sizes range between 5-20 kVA.
5 15-20A CB max.
Indicator lights show active surge protection and output state.
Balanced power system for racks in production/performance venues. Sizes range between 1-10 kVA.
Oversized buss bars, high-inrush magnetic circuit breakers, varistor spike and surge protection
Sequencable, oversized buss bars, front panel key switch
24 x 100% rated 20A 1-pole breaker
Voltage Test Jacks, Indicator Lights
Switch-rated rocker-style breaker, low-profile suitcase design, customizable, C-Ul-US-listed
1- 400A main breaker
Voltage test jacks (optional), digital metering (optional)
Steel-enhanced rubber corners, stackable, integrated handles, laser-engraved logos, C-UL-US-listed
21 x 100% rated 20A 1-pole breaker
3 x 19 pin LED cluster Lights, 3 x LED for Duplex, voltage test jacks (optional)
Integrated handles, Stackable, 100% customizable, Laser-engraved custom logos, C-UL-US listed
Digital voltmeter, digital amp meter
Heavy-duty wheels, ATA-style case, Littlite brand Raklite, 4-way opto-splitter, 8-way opto-splitter
Digital voltmeter, digital amp meter
Wheels, Littlite panel, 4- or 8-way opto-splitter.
Digital phase and neutral monitoring upon request
Custom configurations, extruded aluminum frame, HDPE protective panels, LED indicators
20A, 30A, 50A
Variety 15 20 amp, 1-pole breakers
Heavy-duty molded rubber enclosure, compact, UL-Listed
1 20 amp NEMA 5-20 duplex
Instructions for setting the breaker included on interior label
Adjustable, 100% rated, electronic trip main breaker, compact, UL-Listed
1-20 amp (duplex)
Designed to distribute 3-phase power to motion picture and television lighting set-ups.
Aluminum enclosure with reinforced edges, nylon skids, integrated pocket handle, ETL-listed
6 x 30A 3-pole, 1 x 20A 1-pole
Handles on front and sides, designed for a variety of uses, Lightweight, self-contained
120/220-volt bates outputs, straight and reversed ground connectors, voltage/frequency test jacks
1-20 amp (duplex)
Handles, stackable, low-profile
3 to 6 breakers, 15A to 30A
12 1-pole 20 amp C/B
UL-listed, Clearview for easy inspection
6 independent 20 amp circuits
Provides 6 independent 20-amp circuits, each with individual circuit breakers
6 sub circuits, 30 amp 3-pole breaker for L21-30 and 20 amp single pole breaker for Edison outlets
Neon phase indicators for X and Y.
Other power outlet connections available. .125” aluminum chassis, Flight case available
Multi-function panel mounted meters with sequencing capabilities for current and voltage readings on 3 phases, and current on the neutral.
Industrial electronic main breaker, magnetic/hydraulic branch breakers, work light, test points
Rack-mount Series Mode Surge Eliminator/Power Conditioner with Programmable Sequencing
Rack-mount Series Mode Surge Eliminator/Power Conditioner with Littlite Connectors and Dimmer
Rack-mount Series Mode Surge Eliminator / Power Conditioner with Remote Turn-on
Rack mountable, rear or top output
10A per channel Multimeter for volts and amps per phase
24-way and 48-way patchable power and dimming in one rack. CE. Portable. Flight case. Casters. Complete configurable rack panel distribution system. CE. Portable. Every possible option.
Depends on the variety of output 20A per circuit
Distro Pack for amps, effects or speakers. 3U rackmount. UL-approved. Aluminum/steel construction.
Depends on the variety of the output
Multimeter for volts and amps per phase
Complete configurable rack panel distribution system. UL-approved. Portable. Every possible option.
4/1/08 4:17:46 PM
Welcome To My Nightmare
A Case of
Audio Improv T
his AV company calls me up for a hotel testimonial dinner… just baby-sit a small system with a couple of mics for speakers. I get there and it's an improv company with eight lavs and a couple of wireless 58s with a Mackie 16ch and no EQ whatsoever. There are two powered Mackies jammed up against the plaster walls, a tile floor and lots of glass in the walls and ceiling. I'm thinking of taking a hike, but I'm supposed to be good enough to make it work. I don't bring any gear with me, as I'm forbidden by the company to bring in my own gear unless the client pays for it and, of course, they won't. All I've got is my headphones, board tape, Sharpie and a small multi-tool on my belt. Oh, and I just happen to have a TRS-XLRM pigtail in my car. It had gotten left out in packing up another job and just tossed in. I quickly reconfigure the "system" by chaining the speakers together, panning everything hard right, EQ'ing what I could with the channel strips and cut the now extra XLR cable with the multi-tool. Rewire the cable swapping pins 2 and 3 to reverse the phase, route the feeds from all the lavs back into an extra channel via a post fader aux and proceed to dial it into the mix as needed to phase-cancel the feedback from eight open lavs running around like crazy often two or three within a foot of each other. It's times like this that I'm proud to be an engineer. Show went well, client was happy, but I sweat a bucket and the headache lasted all night. Hugh Manatee (Name has been changed to protect the guilty… —ed.)
In The Trenches
Your #1 Source for continued education.
FOH Mixer Trinity Chapel Powder Springs, Ga. Trinity Chapel.org 678.333.5485 [email protected]
Exploring Sound Reinforcement
Services Provided: Front of house mixer
A practical guide to understanding PA systems, applications and operation, from Yamaha Corporation of America. Exploring Sound Reinforcement is a major work produced by Keyfax NewMedia in conjunction with Yamaha Corporation of America that looks at all aspects of buying, assembling, and operating sound reinforcement systems.
Clients: Family Force 5, Trinity Chapel Church (12K people) Quote: “Front of house is seldom seen, but always heard.” Personal Info: Been in music all my life not as an engineer, but as a musician. By default, I became an engineer, although music was always my passion. My husband is a writer and singer and all three of my boys are in a band, Family Force 5. I’ve worked in different venues: many churches, large festivals, CBGBs, Viper Room, The Roxy and Hard Rock. I guess I'm quite a novelty. When I am out with the boys, people assume I am just mamma never that I can kick butt and take names all at the same time. Women are great multi-taskers and have great ears. I’m not a technician, but I consider the board an instrument that can
be played. The picture is of me working and watching my grandson, Cash, at the church during New Year's Eve 2007. I very much enjoy what I do. They call me “Digi woman.” Hobbies: Music my passion, reading, antiquing, playing piano, my grandson. Equipment: I love my Digidesign Venue with the big package plug-ins, SLS line of arrays, EAW subs, Lab.gruppen power amps, Neumann, Beyer, Sennheiser mics, Shure IEM, Aviom personal mixers. Don’t leave home without: “A sharpie, board tape and now my thumb drive. Was always analog, but baby look at me now!"
If you’d like to see yourself featured in “In the Trenches,” visit www.fohonline.com/trenches to submit your information to FOH, or e-mail [email protected]
for more info. 38
Video Sound Now fully updated to reflect the latest advances, the second edition of Basics of Video Sound is a primer for anyone wishing to learn about recording sound. It describes the principles and processes involved in obtaining professional results in educational, training and corporate environments.
Order online TODAY! at:
Sound Sanctuary By JamieRio
Too Much God?
s I sit here writing this piece, it occurs to me that I really should be writing an article like this prior to the holiday onslaught. By the time you read this it will be spring and most of us will be looking forward to the busy summer season. But it wasn’t until this past Christmas/Hanukkah season that I had the types of experiences I will be sharing with you here. Let’s start with the simple fact that most of us want to work as much as possible. At least if you like to pay your bills on time and eat regularly this is the case. There are those of you who volunteer as sound guys or girls for your home church. We will speak to you a little later. Anyway, back to those of us who love this type of work, believe we are a positive influence in the community of God and also enjoy cash. “More work is better” has always been my mantra until this last holiday season. I was absolutely overdosed with work (spirit-filled and secular), and the worst part of it was that I wanted every gig, driven by a combination of guilt, responsibility and greed. I was simply unable to be two places at once. Last month, I wrote about employing a Godly tech, and I do have a couple of really good guys on my team. They were a big help, but the circumstances were unique and they were unable to accommodate many of my church clients’ wishes.
The dilemma I faced (and I am sure many of you have faced as well) was that the houses of worship that I had been mixing at all year wanted me specifically to mix their very important Christmas or Hanukah shows. Thank God the Jewish holiday is slightly offset from the Christian one. Of course, I still had all of the regular Christmas parties and secular events that my company supplies sound for during the season. The crew handled most of those, but there were some that insisted on my presence. You see my friends, by following my own advice that I have been giving you all year, I have developed some very loyal clients who are confident that I will do an excellent job under any circumstance. So it is only reasonable that my clients would want me to personally handle their holiday services and events. I am not telling you this to make myself out to be some sort of mixing superman. If any kudos are due my way, it would be that I made it through the season without punching out a pastor or losing my religion. Learning From the Past
Well, the season is thankfully behind us now, and this is the perfect time to set ourselves up for a more successful year. As I write this, Easter is just around the corner and myriad children’s worship plays and events will accompany the
holiday. So, the question becomes — how can we handle it all and not get burnt out on God? The first thing I plan to do is sub myself with one of my techs on a more regular basis. The idea here is to get my tech comfortable in a particular house of worship and at the same time let the church staff become acquainted and confident with one of my guys. If a member of my crew clicks with a particular house of worship, I have set the foundation to be able to send out that particular individual should I have a conflicting schedule. I potentially have a Jamie Rio replacement in a pinch. I have already started to implement this practice. Now I have a year to fine tune it before Santa Claus shows up again. As for the houses that use volunteers most of the year and call me for special events, I don’t have any ideas yet. Most religious organizations really frown on cloning (just kidding), but there should be some sort of compromise out there. If I come up with anything, I’ll let you know. By the way, if you are a volunteer, my advice to you is become very conscious of what you commit yourself to and practice saying “no.” The idea is to celebrate the season, not burn out on it. Hitting the Wall
I definitely hit the burnout point by Christmas Eve and I still had Christmas day to go.
Church services can start very early (7 a.m. in La Cresenta) and Christmas parties can go very late. I guess we all have to be able to say “no” at some point no matter how much gold is on the table. Sleep and good nutrition became very scarce during this time. It reminded me of my years on the road without the glamour (ha ha). At any rate, I managed to mix three events on Christmas Eve and Christmas day itself. Next season, somebody else can mix Christmas day. My personal issues were based around scheduling and knowing my limitations. I started with a nice tight schedule, and then I got those last minute calls that I just couldn’t pass up. For all of the above-mentioned reasons, I said yes when I should have said no. Had my team of techs been in place, I could have said no and offered a tried-and-true replacement. I have no real complaints about the entire holiday season, I just intend on doing a better job next season. We all want to work smarter not harder, right? And, of course, it’s not a good idea to neglect family during the holidays — especially if you want to have one next year. Not to mention our own personal beliefs during the season. I sure got a lot of God time racked up in a variety of forms. If that helps to absolve any future sins, I should be able to raise hell all year.
The Bleeding Edge By SteveLaCerra
Internal Power Struggles If you’re a gear geek like I am — and since you’re reading FOH, I’ll bet that you are — you may have noticed that signal processing has been steadily migrating into power amplifiers. This is nothing terribly new: For years amplifier manufacturers have offered addon processing. I can remember when I was a teenager (late 1700s) trying to lift a Peavey CS800 — the original CS800, many of which caused herniated disks and are still in service today — and seeing a weird circular socket on the rear panel. I was afraid to touch that socket, thinking I’d get electrocuted even when the amp was unplugged. Turns out that was an octal socket intended to accommodate some sort of audio circuit such as an isolation transformer or a crossover. Other manufacturers offered octal sockets for similar purposes. Definitely Crest Audio’s 8001 (and similar amps in that series) employed octal expansion, and some of the QSC amps of the same era come to mind. I clearly remember an install where single Crest amps (model 7301?) were used to biamp monitor mixes. A crossover module plugged into the octal socket, enabling the amp to run low-frequency audio from one amp channel (for the LF driver) and high frequency audio on the other channel (for the horn). If I recall correctly, the 7301 was built with this purpose in mind and provided higher output capability on one channel compared to the other so that you could have more power for the LF driver. Back in the day, I think a lot of engineers didn’t “get it” and stuck with their outboard crossovers. Or maybe that was just me. 40
The Next Level
Crown Audio took the concept to another level with PIP modules (Plug-In Processing), circuit cards that fit into rear-panel slots of certain Crown amps providing similar functions. Somewhere along the way this processing went from analog to digital domain, opening up the portal to external control via proprietary networks or even commonplace Ethernet. The introduction of amps like the Lab.gruppen PLM 10000Q and Crown’s iTech series raises onboard processing to a new level. The PLM 10000Q, which literally can deliver enough power to run a moderately sized refrigerator, incorporates something that no other power amp currently in production can offer: Dolby Lake Processing. If you are not familiar with DLP, you should be (see Larry Hall’s review in the February 2008 issue). Among the features that DLP provides are Raised Cosine EQ, linear phase and classic crossover types, LimiterMax loudspeaker protection, and Iso-Float ground isolation [that last item, Iso-Float, is nothing short of pure genius. It allows you to easily make or break an audio ground connection at the rear panel of the device, negating the need to screw around making cables with unterminated grounds in an effort to eliminate a ground loop in the system. Iso-Float should be licensed to every manufacturer who produces a power amplifier, EQ, crossover or system controller]. If we look around at other manufacturers, we’ll find Dynacord’s new PowerH Series of high-end power amps. In addition to delivering peak voltage outputs from 180 to 200, Pow-
erH amps accept Dyncord’s RCM-26 expansion card, a dual-channel digital controller module. Adding an RCM-26 to a PowerH amplifier provides a variety of signal processing functions, including EQ, crossover, delay, compression, linear phase FIR filters, zero-latency FIR filters and digital loudspeaker protection algorithms. It also provides digital (AES-3) I/O, RS-232 and RJ-type ports, allowing the amp to hook into Dynacord’s IRIS-Net- network. That’s an incredible amount of processing muscle for a device that traditionally has done no more that boost the gain of an audio signal. Other manufacturers are addressing the integration of system control and power amplification. For example, Yamaha’s TXn Series of power amps not only offers the ability to safely drive two-ohm loads, but also incorporates onboard DSP accessible from a frontpanel interface. TXn amps incorporate EQ, delay and limiting and have a rear-panel slot for Yamaha mini-YGDAI interface cards enabling a lot of I/O options including EtherSound and CobraNet. What Does It Mean?
Well, for one thing it means less wiring and smaller racks, both of which translate into systems with smaller footprints (clients love that). Building DSP into power amps can ultimately mean that we won’t need any external crossovers, limiters or EQ in our drive rack — though I still want 31 sliders to grab without paging menus during the show. We can eliminate the wiring that goes along with those outboard devices, and maybe some of
the ground issues that crop up as well. Devices with this type of DSP typically include a library for preset and user settings, facilitating setup for touring systems, and I expect we’ll see that in power amps too. While integration of system processing into power amps means a reduction in the complexity of advanced PA systems in terms of hardware, it means increased complexity in terms of software. You’ll need to learn an operating system to program the amp from the front panel and probably will be able to (or need to) use a PC for programming and monitoring of the amplifier’s status. Oh yeah, and don’t forget to brush up on your networking skills because you’ll need them in audio… A trade-off of placing DSP in the power amplifier is that you have less physical access to system control. Power amps are rarely if ever located at front of house, with good reason: They occupy a lot of space and make a lot of noise (or at least their fans do). Unfortunately, we’re accustomed to having our drive racks right next to the mixing desk at frontof-house, so having a computer with access to the amp network will become a necessity and not just something that impresses the audience. I imagine that we’ll need some sort of redundancy for these systems because if you lose the processor, you’ll probably lose the amp (and vice-versa). The thing that really scares me, though, is the idea of leaving computers in an amp rack, collecting dust and cooking in the hot summer sun of an outdoor festival. Maybe we can have the amp racks hermetically sealed…
Crossroads Audio: Don’t Mess with Texas Ed Spoto made the big leap from touring life launching a live sound biz with a booming concert segment. All Photos by Robin MAgRudeR
Meyer M3D sound system used during the FIRST robotics competition at Epcot Center at Disney World
Stage setup for Grammy Award-winning jazz vocalist Diana Krall at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas
A Meyer Sound system comprised MILO, MILO 120 and 700-HP subs at the Bonnaroo Music Festival
d Spoto laughs at the question of whether or not he misses the touring life. “Not one bit,” he says with a hint of laughter. “I am one of the few people who does not miss the road. I spent 10 years of hard touring and it was time to come home, have children and all that.” While Spoto got off the road, he did not get out of the audio business. In fact, along with two partners — Stewart Bennett and Robin Magruder — Spoto has been running Dallas-based Crossroads Audio since 2001. The trio purchased the company, which had been open since 1972, after leaving Showco where they had earned their stripes. Bennett is the only one still out on the road, touring with Tom Petty whenever he goes out. Spoto admits that they’ve retooled the company over the years and Crossroads Audio now includes a retail outlet, concert services department and rental division. Why all three? “It helps smooth out all the lumps,” Spoto answers. “When the concert department is a little slow then we have the retail department to make up for that.”
From Dane Cook to Christian Festivals That said, Crossroads Audio has a booming concert department that supplies live sound services to corporate events, music festivals and regional tours. Included in those categories are corporate shows featuring Reba McEntire and Rod Stewart, regional tours supporting Diana Krall, Dane Cook and a college tour featuring cartoons from the Adult Swim show, as well as stages at Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits Festival and the Big State Festival. It’s a good market, Spoto reports, especially since the company works from Dallas to Ft. Worth to Austin. Crossroads also services one of the largest Christian music festivals in Dallas that takes place the weekend before the 4th of July. “We did 60 bands in two days,” Spoto says with a laugh. “There were 10 minute sets and two minute set changes.” The company has also picked up a number of jobs at the large membership Christian churches that are popular in the area. “Some have 20,000 people a weekend go through and they tend to do outdoor festivals in their parking lots that are fairly large scale,” Spoto says. “The market
for these guys is very high end; they are really only interested in upscale products, so it is kind of the religious one-off gig. There is a whole area of Christian tours where the Christian artists go from church to church and play in the sanctuaries. When the larger artist comes through, they need a fair amount of support because they usually don’t carry any gear at all.” Other than the regional tours the company supports, Crossroads is not in the touring business. “We all come from touring backgrounds and it is just a market segment that doesn’t have a lot of return on investment,” Spoto says. “And to try to go up against Clair and those guys for accounts and nitpick here and there is just something we weren’t interested in doing. We wanted to do regional work. Now a lot of people are just getting stacks and racks for the region instead of taking full production with them. We do a lot of console rentals and that kind of thing.” According to Spoto, Crossroads also doesn’t chase smaller events around town. “We don’t do a lot of the local festivals that are run by the city, because, quite frankly,
Eric Clapton concert at the Crossroads Guitar Festival in Dallas
there is not enough money in it,” Spoto explains. “There are a lot of sound companies in the Dallas area, so it ends up that we don’t even try for the smaller gigs. We put our eggs in corporate shows, festivals around the country and things that give a better return. One-offs, basically, but large-scale one-offs.” Housing Versus Owning In addition to sharpening the company’s marketing approach, the trio has improved Crossroad’s list of equipment. In fact, the PAS boxes that were in the inventory back in 2001 have been replaced by all things Meyer, including the M1D, M1DSub, M2D, MILO, MILO 120 and MICA lines along with UPJ-1P, 600-HP and 700-HP subs. When it comes to consoles, Crossroads doesn’t own any large-scale boards. Rather, the company houses and maintains boards like Digidesign Venues, Yamaha PM5Ds, Midas Heritage H3000s and the like for other rental companies. “We house and maintain all the consoles for preferred rates. It’s so hard to rent [a large- scale
(L to R): Bill Larmour, Ed Spoto, David “Ziggy” Buie, Curtis Claxton at the Celebrate Freedom Christian Festival
Rod Stewart stage setup at Texas stadium for a DIRECTV corporate event
“We’ve become the Showco retirement home, which is an advant age because there are clients who want to see somebody old on their jobs.”
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console] enough to pay for it and to be able to return the investment on just using that console in a regional market is almost impossible,” he says. “This way, it keeps our overhead costs way down, but we are able to offer the client pretty much any console they want.” As far as expanding beyond audio, Spoto says the company has mostly resisted any temptations so far. “It’s what we’re good at and it’s where our contacts are,” Spoto states. “We have been expanding as much as we have to into video products, but we pretty much stay away from lighting and sub that out to local companies that we have relationships with.” Spoto points out that the company is always looking to expand its reach as well as its collection of gear, with a “measured pace.” At the same time, the Crossroads staff is fairly small — there are the three partners, a couple sales reps and a couple rental people. Spoto’s wife handles the books and the office management. “Everybody else is an independent contractor,” he says. “We’ve become the Showco retirement home, which is an advantage because there are clients who want to see somebody old on their jobs. We have younger guys that we teach and bring up, then we send them off to Clair Bros. when they’re ready to tour.” He pauses and thinks back to his experience. “Then they come back to us when they’re tired of it.”
4/1/08 6:12:59 PM
The Rant Zone
Who’s the Headliner?
By LarryHall (One of my favorite funny/smart people is Dennis Miller, and I remember I used to watch his show no matter who was on just to hear “The Rant.” Well, Dennis is busy doing game shows and I haven’t heard a good rant in way too long. So, welcome to the FOH Rant Zone. Will this feature run all the time? Nope. But as often as we get really good rants, we’ll run ‘em as long as they won’t get us sued. To open this inaugural installment, we have one of my favorite hotheads. Take it away… — ed.)
hearsal/sound check, I notice at FOH a Yamaha PM4K and a Yamaha PM5D. When I advanced the show, it was with the PM5D, so I assumed the other act on the bill had requested an analog console. Well, NO! The PM5D was for the orchestra and the PM4K was for both acts. No big deal if there is enough room on the PM4K. But these are both large bands with four or five singers in each so, of course, the only way to have enough room was to short all of my inputs. We are in an 8,000-seat arena. One kick mic, no ride mic, one bass line and all keyboards shorted to mono inputs — again, not a big issue. I have had a time or two where a DI died and the stereo becomes a spare. No spares here. But we have that big orchestra playing all of the parts that the keys are playing anyway, so I am not too worried about the key direct boxes failing. The odd thing that never ceases to amaze
inant part of the show. Oh, and the vocals were too loud. Of course, my band is now complaining they couldn't "feel" the show and wanted it much louder. %$*@*%#! Where do I go from here? I was a bit confused by these comments. Last night, all seemed happy. After holding and caressing my bruised ego, I asked, "if the band is a vocal-based band shouldn't the vocals be a bit louder than everything else? “NO,” I was told. Everyone here came to see the orchestra so that's what needed to be loudest. Well, if everyone is coming to see the
When a group is hired by an orchestra or promoter for the orchestra to perform their hits, whose show is it? Who is the artist? orchestra, why did you hire this singing group? To sell tickets? Hmmm... The resolution for the band? I had the monitor engineer crank the band in their wedges so they could "feel" the energy of the show. Now on to the other issues — loud singers and prioritizing the orchestra. At this point, I relied heavily on Brown’s ability to decipher what is too much band vocal and not enough orchestra. We found
If the symphony is the primary focal point, why don’t they just do the songs of famous groups and leave them out of it? Could it be because no one would come to see that show? I am sure after this issue comes out I will have some older sound guys lecture me about egos and just doing my job. A few other guys will bitch and complain about my “pity poor Larry” attitude. SO FREAKIN WHAT! After reading what I wrote after the gig, I am pretty sure my ego is… OK, it’s inflated like all singing, guitar-playing sound guys. Face it, those three occupations might be the most ego-driven gigs in our industry. But after this gig, I put my ego in check… I am out with this “old school” R&B group who was recently invited to play — along with another similar chart-topping group — a show of their hits with a symphony orchestra, We had a twonight engagement — 50-minute shows each night with a world-class orchestra. Did I mention the gig was in Hawaii? Yep, four days and four nights all expenses paid and first-class plane ride, too. Oh yeah, the hotel DIDN’T suck either! But wait, my wife is a professional photographer and the band hired her to shoot the show and paid for her expenses as well. Okay, I am really done bragging about the trip now. Really. When I arrive at the venue for the re-
a happy medium where I think most people (maybe all) enjoyed the show. This brings the questions: When a group is hired by an orchestra or promoter for the orchestra to perform their hits, whose show is it? Who is the artist? My thoughts when I went in (obviously very, very wrong) were to make the band sound like they did in the ‘70s when they recorded the songs with orchestral accompaniment — a nice full sound with the band being complemented by the orchestra. The sign outside did say
me is the sound company owner who gets angry at the thought of an extra rental. The band decided they didn't want me to share consoles and sacrifice anything, so I made a request to the owner of the sound company to bring another PM5D and the band would pay for it. The gig was 24 hours away so there was no crunch time either... He FREAKS! As it turned out, it was because he didn't have one available and would need to cross-rent it. I was like, “Well dude, make some money on the cross rental…” Long story short, we are back to the overpopulated PM4K. But we did have a nice NEXO GEO rig. The FOH for the orchestra, Mike Brown, is a freelance guy living the dream in Hawaii (yep, life is tough for Ol’ Mike). We had long talks about the two of us keeping the mix together and making sure all was happy in famous R&B land and orchestra land. He had put all of the sections of the orchestra on stereo inputs and routed them to both sub groups and a VCA so I could have some control. When the first show finished, we were feeling pretty good about it… so off to the bar! The next night, things took a nasty turn. I walked in and was informed that my mix was too loud and the orchestra was not the dom-
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"Featuring The Famous Band." So, who is featured? I like the straightahead "you’re an opener or you’re the headliner" Pretty cut and dry. You know your gig. If the symphony is the primary focal point, why don’t they just do the songs of famous groups and leave them out of it? Could it be because no one would come to see that show? Okay. Ready? Set? ATTACK!
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Get Your FOH Media Kit 4/2/08 2:48:15 PM
Theory and Practice By MarkAmundson
Distro Taps Figure 1: Venue Sub-Panel
am going to flirt with disaster and show the licensed and unlicensed electricians/sound persons the basics of tapping feeder wires into venue switch boxes and subpanels. Those of you who do not have a professional license can at least understand what is happening, and what could happen if done incorrectly. So, if you think your ego trumps your unlicensed status, I want you to thoroughly understand people could die (including yourself ), if done incorrectly. Advancing the Venue
Figure 1 is a photo I took of a typical subpanel with my #2 gauge feeder tails properly tapped into the correct busses. As shown, always attempt to make your feeder connections into unenergized subpanels or disconnect switches (bull switches, company switches, etc.). In electrician parlance, unenergized panels are “cold” if they do not have any supply voltage present. The next best choice is to have the inbound feeders energized, but the master breaker in the subpanel is tripped, allowing the hot wire buss bars to be cold. I still feel very cautious on these semi-cold panels, as I can electrocute myself if I do not pay attention to my hands and the breaker switch
Neutral Bus Bar 100A, 240VAC Breaker
Safefy Ground Bus Bar
I cannot emphasize more that you should always advance the venue before having to do the feeder connections for production power. This is more than just knowing the brand of subpanel to be encountered. Knowing the make of the panel/switch box helps with having the right spare breakers, neutral/ground bus connectors and strain relief panel bushings for your feeders. With advancing the gig, you have the time to ask questions about power, or at least get a feel for how the venue’s electrical system is laid out and what kinds of loads you can apply safely without taking down the location’s electrical supply. A good example of this is a bowling alley/nightclub that I have frequented for gigs. The subpanel has no master breaker inside, and so I have to go to a master panel in the bowling part of the venue, carefully get my hand between a narrow vending machine/breaker panel gap to flip off the subpanel breaker, and then go back to make the panel tap with my feeder tails. Now when I flip off the subpanel, the stage and surrounding seating goes dark, so I have to be equipped with my mini-mag headband and have everything preplaced to do this in minimal lighting. Then there is the time element, as the bar’s soda system also loses power; and I have to do the work within minutes or thirsty bar patrons and staff lose patience. By advancing this situation, the task gets done within the constraints provided. Cold Taps
Color Bands on Feeders
The Process Strain Relief
With advancing the gig, you have the time to ask questions about power, or at least get a feel for how the venue electrical system is laid out and what kinds of loads you can apply safely without taking down the location’s electrical supply. positions. And that is why you see me with 600-volt insulated screwdrivers, hex-wrenches, pliers and rubber safety gloves in these situations. The worst-case scenario for me is a total hot panel, where everything almost has to stay energized while making my connections. I say “almost” because I always trip off the breakers that I will be inserting my red and black (hot) feeders into. In these scenarios, I usually want another person keeping an eye on me for safety reasons, and to make sure nothing distracts me while trying to keep my loose feeder tails from accidentally touching energized metals. I do not care who you are, you still sweat a lot doing these dangerous activities. Preparations
Square D panel and they have 3/16” allen (hex) keying for tightening the feeders to the bars. And no one doing subpanel taps, should caught without spare double pole breakers for the most commonly encountered panels. For me, it means Square D Q0, GE, ITE, and both kinds of Cutler-Hammer 100 Amp circuit breakers. Yeah, each breaker costs about $50 each, but not having them costs more to your production experience. I also keep 50-amp versions as well for smaller club work. It is nice to have switch panels to connect to, since they do not require the breakers to be provided, but about half of my venue taps are on subpanels, and I may get lucky enough to have the spare breakers present for the hot feeders.
Besides having the right tools for hot and cold panel/switch taps, it pays to check your feeder tails before the gig. My feeder tails are four-wire, singlephase, with four #2 gauge wires made of many strands of small gauge copper wires in a rubberized black jacket that is weatherproof. They were made to my specifications by J Custom Supply (www. jcustom.com) of Zachary, La., with 25 feet of the four #2 feeders banded and
terminated with 1016 female cam-loks on one side, and bare ends with colorcoded tape on the tap ends. The electrical code requires these black rubber feeders to have at least three inches of colored electrical tape to indicate the type of feeder wire (green/ground, white/neutral, red/hot and black/hot) as shown in Figure 1. Most times your feeder tails are in the condition you last left them in. This usually means the bare copper strands are frayed and possibly well oxidized. A good practice is to wrap a loop of electrical tape after removing the feeders to keep the wire tightly bundled. Of course, periodically you must cut off the old frayed wires, and strip off a fresh half-inch of jacketing to start anew. Another crucial prep-step is to have a couple spare feeder to bus connectors for the correct brand of switch/ subpanel. It would be nice if the last person who tapped in left their connectors, but we cannot bank on this charity. Although the connectors are only a buck or two each, having a goodly supply is necessary for bonding your safety ground (green) and neutral (white) feeder tails to the bus bars. In Figure 1, I have two square bus connectors for the
Thankfully, most of the switches panels I tap into have feeder cable strain reliefs, but some do not. Thus, I also carry NM clamp bushings for 1.5”, 2” and 2.5” panel holes to strain relieve the feeders and avoid the sharp panel cutouts from cutting into the feeder jackets. If space permits, I will also wrap shop rag between the feeders and bushing, as a filler to help with function and prevent jacket extrusion when snugged up. Panel tapping is pretty much used to run feeders through strain relief, snug strain relief, strip feeders as required (~0.5”), and connect them to the ground, neutral and hot breaker busses in that order. Of course, that simple statement is true provided that you have the panel/switch as cold as permissible, and are using the correct tools for the right tasks. One tip I recommend is remove the double pole breaker on subpanel taps for the hot feeder tail connections and make the tail connections outside the box. Then snap-in the breaker back to its location to finish the job. Anything to stay outside a busy wired panel until the last moment. Once tapped, I recommend making the cam-lok connections to your portable power distribution unit (PPDU) before energizing the switch or un-tripping the breaker. This way you have no exposed hot cam-loks, and the metering on the PPDU can give you the status of your feeder wiring. I hope this power-tapping dissertation is a thorough enough description of the process. These are the things that go through my head when doing this job, and you can see I am extremely risk-adverse when performing the taps. There are no mentions of sneaking feeder tails into inlet feeder connectors, or using Trico clamps onto hot bus bars. Figure 1 is obviously shown without other wiring to keep the focus on the tails connections. You can find Mark at [email protected]
The Biz By DanDaley
Will the Economy Rain on This Year’s Festivals?
he old adage is that when the economy’s down, entertainment is up. Dave Shadoan, president of SR provider Sound Image, has been a firm believer in that throughout his career. But this year, even he wonders how well it will hold up. “This is going to be a new one for all of us,” he says. “There has never been so much entertainment out there, and all of the musical artists are making the majority of their money from touring, not from record sales anymore. A concert has always been a good value for the consumer… but we’ll have to see this year if they’ll be buying as many tickets as they did last year. We’re going to see if we can have a recessionproof touring season.” Gary Bongiovanni, editor of Pollstar, says he’s seen a slow start this year. “[Promoters] are getting more conservative about booking the big arenas this year,” he says. “Maybe it’s because everyone is waiting for the Led Zeppelin shoe to drop, but there’s a sense of caution, even pessimism out there.” Do the Math
Same Old, Same Old?
It’s not like we haven’t been though this before. We weathered a recession in 2000–02 and the bursting of the Internet bubble of 1999. But, as the inserts in your mutual fund monthly reports that none of us ever read say, past performance is no indicator of future earnings, which applies to both the economy and the music business. We’ve got a rare confluence of events that has the general economy receding along with the music industry, combined with more possibilities than ever for consumers to spend what disposable income they do have and the fact that
it will cost them more to get someplace to spend those dollars. How many times does someone need to see Clapton or the Rolling Stones? We’re probably going to find out this year. Polling SR providers to get a handle on how the touring season will play out is a little like calling up commercial hose manufacturers to get some sense of how many fires there are going to be in California this year. But sometimes the oblique avenues offer the most parsable insights. Booking touring systems does provide a sense of how well the touring business itself
thinks it’s going to do, and in an industry of self-fulfilling prophecies, that’s worth taking into account. So it looks like a slower start than usual, lots of choices, and more of them on a regional basis and packaged into stationary festivals. It sounds like 2005, which actually turned out well in the end, even though we had to wait till the end to find that out. Inevitably, we’ll have to do the same here, but if you want to place wagers, betting on happy endings usually only works in Hollywood. Contact Dan at [email protected]
Some numbers support the sense of slowdown. Live Nation, the country’s biggest concert producer, reported a four-percent decline in revenues in the fourth quarter of 2007, largely due to the decline in profitable tours compared with the same period a year earlier, the company said. Bongiovanni says certain niches are doing well, like festivals and the jam band circuit. “Dave Matthews and Jack Johnson are still doing great,” he says. “They fit the mold that’s current right now: bands that don’t need records to tour against are selling tickets. The Police, Clapton, Pink Floyd. I wonder what’s going to happen when we run out of those acts — Dave Matthews can’t replace all of them.” (The disappearance of the classic rock artist from the touring scene will be grist for another column.) The SR providers are generally sanguine about prospects this season. Ralph Mastrangelo, executive vice president of touring for Clair Brothers in Nashville, says the work didn’t slow down over the winter as it usually does. “There were lots of small projects around the holidays, but a lot of acts have stayed out longer, too,” he explains. “In fact, the market might be a bit saturated. There’s like five or six new festivals this year, like Mile High in Denver and the Rothbury Festival in Michigan. There’ll be competition for ticket sales dollars.” Sound Image had a similar experience: “I’d say we were busier this time this year than we were last year this time,” Shadoan says. “A lot of return business and new clients.” Keep On Truckin’?
Still, both Mastrangelo and Shadoan sound the same theme when the discussion turns to fuel prices. “The fuel surges are immense this year,” says Mastrangelo. “With so much more riding on revenue from touring for the music business, the increases are going to be felt this year more widely throughout the entire industry.” Bongiovanni expects that the mid-market artists will start to become more of a factor in touring this year. “It’s where the next round of headliners is going to come from,” he says. Ken Porter, owner of Spectrum Sound in Nashville, which is a hub for mid-market shows, agrees. “I expect to see more work for and from the regional acts,”he says.“As transportation costs keep going up, certain touring artists are not going to pay for a semi to haul a PA with them; they’ll rent regionally and limit their load to a trailer.”
“Them That’s Got Shall Get…” By BrianCassell & KenRengering Ken Oh my God, Brian, at yesterday’s gig I almost went in the drink! My client, the bandleader, did a site survey the day before, and reported back that it was all good — a very easy load-in except for off-loading the truck on the street. This was a corporate gig for
ing that gets my panties in a twist more than a crappy load-in. And I have big panties! Brian Some things can go without discussing, Ken. But you’re right about the power and the load-ins. Some of the older halls
cal systems. It’s great that members of the community are making the effort to keep historical performance venues open, but they all seem to overlook the basic needs of modern production: truck-height dock door upstage left and 200 amps of threephase on camlocks!
I am getting a little resentful of these venues that don’t plan to do events, then try and shoehorn performances and parties in to their ill-equipped little kingdom. It’s usually power that’s the problem, but there is nothing that gets my panties in a twist more than a crappy load-in. And I have big panties! 250 attendees, and I work for the band. The end client was a German car manufacturer that shall go unnamed. The venue was beautiful, bucolic, and the load-in was a pain in the ass. One of those 500-yard, switchback down the mountain on the cobblestone path kind of deals. Needless to say, I was soaking wet and exhausted just by the time the stuff was in the room. Because I couldn't make the site survey, I think my client didn't want to let me know the misery in advance. You have clients who "forget" to mention things to you?
around here are the worst. There are a lot of small historic theatres, most of which probably date back to the vaudeville days. It’s a wonderful part of this area’s history, and I’m glad to see them still in use as performance spaces today. I just hate the off-the-street load-ins and the absolutely shameful (not to mention dangerous) state of the electri-
Ken As usual, we completed the task and lived to tell the tale, but that crap does get old when it seems the learning curve is non-existent. And my issues can usually be resolved pretty easily by throwing money at them, i.e., having another hand to load in/out, a generator for three-phase and the
feeder, etc. I hate starting a sound check in a bad mood. I dislike looking like I jogged to the gig after load-in. I realize what I do isn’t brain surgery; the steps happen in the same order every time and every sound vendor has similar requirements for the venue, so who is getting their jollies by making things difficult? The only factor I usually don’t have to deal with out here is the weather. What I’m saying Brian is that some days this job is really a job. Brian Of course it’s a job! We wouldn’t charge folks if it was a hobby. Wouldn’t life be so much simpler if we didn’t have to deal with bids and invoicing and collections and taxes and… well, you get the picture. If I could just go do a show each day, really do it up right with a real crew and everything without dealing with the finances, life would be so much more fun. Maybe if I won that big lottery jackpot… 2-1-5 on the Pick Three and 1-6-4-7 on the Pick Four, please. E-mail the guys at [email protected]
Brian Oh boy, do I ever! Try a client who forgets to mention details like, oh, the fact that we have a gig two days from now. I get a regular email with the schedule, but somehow it seems that this particular gig is exempt from being on the schedule because it’s an annually recurring gig. Funny, I only took you on as a client as of Jan. 1. So, I’m supposed to know about this show how? Ken I love when we’re supposed to be mind readers for the end clients, but this bandleader is supposed to be on MY side. Needless to say, the budget was tiny as well. Did I mention this was for a German car manufacturer at a Ritz Carlton? (Head shake and eye-roll expressed) Brian Yeah, one of those “tight-budget” gigs for sure. It amazes me how those with the most money tend to be the tightest with it, and those with little to spare blow what they have on frivolous things. Me, I don’t like to spend money I don’t have to, but when I genuinely need something, I like to purchase things that will last me a lifetime. I just can’t see running any business without making careful purchasing decisions. But, man, that doesn’t mean you should try to nickel and dime someone out of paying them what they are worth. Ken I am a little miffed, but I will get over it. I am getting a little resentful of these venues that don’t plan to do events, then try and shoehorn performances and parties into their ill-equipped little kingdom. It’s usually power that’s the problem, but there is noth-
4/1/08 6:24:40 PM
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Government? Audio? It’s All In the Mix
COMING NEXT MONTH... Production Profile When the singer is neo-soul songstress Jill Scott, the sound has to be right on. Product Gallery DSP + Power = DSP Power Amps Road Tests Briefcase tools from Radial, TC and others
olitics, slander, innuendo! Who’s qualified to lead? Who is all talk and no action? Who’s tainted by scandal? Whose decisions and reasoning are questionable? Who drinks too much? Who does too many drugs? Who visits hookers? Who takes kickbacks, which one steals, who never has the correct information and then refuses to take responsibility and back-peddles when challenged? Who leads through coercion and intimidation? Who, what, when and where? With so little time and yet so many questions, it’s amazing that anything gets accomplished… and this is just office politics. On a gig, the politics are even more demanding. As an audio/production company, someone has to be in charge and manage the various factions of a gig, but when there is a change of guard, to whom can the company turn? Obviously, it needs to be someone who is capable of negotiating with the venues and the clients, bands, labor crew, lighting and video folks and even the caterer, but who is qualified for such a job? Raising these questions of leadership, morality and fortitude brings to mind the current crop of senators vying for the presidential seat who are arguing their readiness for the position of commander and chief. The various platforms portray one of them touting their experience and readiness to take power on day one. Another presidential hopeful is marketing his fortitude and courage, and the third candidate is campaigning on a policy of hope and change. I ponder the question of who might be ready for
In government, as in mixing, there are certain things that remain constant regardless of the size and complexity of the console and speakers. the job of top dog, and just knowing the difficulties of dealing with the politics in my own little audio world, I come to the conclusion that there are probably very few people, if any, who are ready to assume the mantle of president and commander and chief of the United States of America. It is almost impossible for me to imagine the magnitude of responsibilities associated with the aforementioned job, and the only way that I can get it into perspective is by thinking of managing or running a much smaller business such as, for example, an audio company. Believe me when I say that I am aware of the vast differences between running an audio company and being the most powerful leader in the free world, but in government, as in mixing, there are certain things that remain constant regardless of the size and complexity of the console and speakers. If one is an outsider that is brought in to do the job, then it must be understood that there will be a period of adjustment. It takes time for one to acclimate themselves to a new situation, let alone implement change during a time when they also need to keep the company viable. Change cannot necessarily be made until one has ascer-
tained exactly what needs to be modified and the various individuals who might help or hinder the process. Let’s assume that an audio company has been operating in a certain manner for eight years or so and that there is a very definite dynamic between the current staff and how they get things done. Abruptly changing this on-going dynamic could possibly slow or even shut down the whole system and, if not approached in a politically adept fashion, enemies might be made who could attempt to stand in the way of any forward progress. The responsibilities of the new manager would be to coordinate trucking, video, lighting, staging, backline and audio as well as labor. If the company has all of these departments under one roof, it certainly does not behoove one to aggravate any of the branch managers if they want to get things done… at least not initially. The cash flow for the company cannot be disrupted or the business could fail, therefore, this very same manager will need to develop a good relationship with existing clients as well as garnering new clients and seeing to it that the company has the proper equipment to deal with any situation that may arise. This very same manager
also needs to establish good working relationships with other like-minded companies so that he might be able to call on them when in need. Undercutting their bids or alienating them in any way for short-term gain might turn out to be more of a detriment to the business than it is beneficial. This new manager must have an acute political acumen and a long-term vision regarding the direction of the company, as well as the fortitude, savvy and determination to forge the way. Most of all, the new company administrator needs to be innovative as well as persuasive. This new supervisor, while unifying the diverse parts into a whole, needs to earn the respect of the old guard and is required to motivate those that might be reluctant to change. So, regardless of their experience, fortitude or vision, this new director of audio will still need to have a quick learning curve and prove themselves to all involved parties. In many cases, it probably makes sense to give the job of management to someone from within the company, as they have put in their time and have already proven themselves. They also have the advantage of knowing their way around the company dynamic and modus operandi. The only problem that one could foresee in the event of a tried-and-true insider assuming the position of leadership is that as smooth as the transition might be, this insider may just carry on business as usual and maintain the status quo with no real vision or capacity for instituting any change or growth. Experience certainly speaks for itself, and while there is always a learning curve, it is assumed that the veteran, knowing the ins and outs of the system, can adapt to the new position and keep the company’s momentum flowing with the least amount of disruption. On the other hand, “new blood,” while being a bit of a gamble, has the potential to institute real change and bring with them the possibility of taking the company to newer and greater heights of creativity and profit ever before imagined. Just to be clear — except for the drugs, hookers, innuendo and intrigue — taking the helm of an existing audio and production company is not at all like running the United States of America. That said, it is also not necessarily an elected position, but as in mixing and production, while certain changes might be for the best, there are those constants that remain the same despite the size and complexity of the console and speakers, or regardless of who is driving the rig.
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