Project News Headlines
Having a whale of a time on the Adriatic – Outline sets the scene in a new trendsetting Riccione venue
Century-old Alabama Church Welcomes Renkus-Heinz ICLive X Series to Support Thriving Music Programme
First ST2110 Studio Project in Russia: TV Center Moscow in Control with Lawo VSM, V__matrix and SMART
Solid State Logic Live L100 Console Plays Central Role for Streaming Worship Services at Calvary Chapel Old Bridge
Krung Thai Bank Holds Live Presentations Without Disrupting Nearby Banking Operations Using Renkus-Heinz Digitally Steerable Solutions
ETC Fixtures Installed In ICON Music Center
USA – Partech Lighting recently completed an installation package of 12 High End Systems SolaSpot 3000 luminaires in the Andrew Brady ICON Music Center, a new music venue on Cincinnati's riverfront. The state-of-the-art venue features one main floor and two balcony levels overlooking the inside stage.
Based in Cincinnati since 1988, Partech’s focus is entertainment lighting production as well as LED video walls, media servers, and related services. Their history with High End Systems goes back 30 years with use of products such as Intellabeam, Studio Spot and Studio Color, Cyberlight, and DL2s. They’ve also enjoyed a long and successful relationship with their client MEMI Music & Event Management Inc., supplying services for multiple venues throughout the Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio areas.
Partech developed a system specification for The Andrew Brady ICON Music Center that they felt would be widely acceptable to most visiting LDs, while also working within a rough budget outline. Partech’s Dave Groh comments: “Naturally, throughout the process, budgetary restraints affected some of our recommendations and substitutions were agreed upon. The SolaSpot 3000s were the one item that we felt strongly needed to remain in the specification to fulfil those original requirements.”
“We needed a profile fixture that was bright and had a good feature set. It also needed to be a LED source, satisfy any LDs coming into the facility, and most important be from a reputable manufacturer with an outstanding, accessible service network. As one of the major component workhorses of the system, and with reliability and support being crucial, the choice was clear: High End Systems and the SolaSpot 3000 easily met that criteria.”
I.A.T.S.E. Local 5 handled the installation with assistance from Partech. The entire system was built, labelled, tested and documentation created for the client prior to install. The install called for a dozen SolaSpot 3000; six are hung on an upstage electric/ truss and the other six on a midstage electric /truss. Groh says that additional HES fixture purchases are forthcoming as the industry continues to recover from the pandemic.
Other ETC equipment was installed throughout the facility by another integrator and designer contracted by the general contractor, Partech also supplied an ETC Ion XE 20 12k at the client’s request. The first show to play the venue was KEM with LD Donald Koleber. Groh emphasizes, “We had really great communication and support – top notch as usual – and what we expected from High End Systems. Paul Hancock was instrumental in obtaining the latest updated fixture personality file for the SolaSpot 3000 and for Donald Koleber’s Hog 4 console.”
16th September 2021
A.C. Special Projects Return to Somerset House
UK – More than a decade after it first installed the artistic lighting at the stunning 18th century Somerset House, A.C. Special Projects (AC-SP) returns to the site to perform an upgrade to the vestibule lighting.
Somerset House is London’s working arts centre built on historic foundations around one of the most beautiful courtyards in Europe. Situated at the very heart of the capital, it is home to the UK’s largest creative community.
Welcoming around three million visitors a year to public events, creative enterprises, artistic practice and more, Somerset House has for a number of years utilised LED lighting to bring elements of the building and its architecture to life, as well as maximising colour changing capabilities to support specific events.
Mick Figg, head of buildings at Somerset House comments: “AC-SP have been looking after the architectural lighting at Somerset House since 2008. This recent vestibule lighting upgrade has been done with the aim to draw in visitors from the strand and act as our main entrance for events. The colour changing element of the fixtures enable us to create a more immersive experience for our guests and really set the scene for events.”
AC-SP supplied and installed over 100 Anolis ArcLink 4 fixtures mounted in IP rated encapsulate tubes for this project, alongside all the cabling. Typical LED battens would have been too large for this installation and become visible, this solution allows the fittings to be installed subtly and not detract from the architecture of the building.
AC-SP’s project manager, Chris Little comments: “Somerset House approached us to upgrade and install the fixtures in their vestibule. As one of the first areas visitors see, the lighting here is integral for making good first impressions, therefore, we wanted the fixtures to be fitted discreetly, but also provide a quality output – this is why we installed the Anolis ArcLink 4 – the open beam angle allows for a powerful output and smooth, even coverage of the area. We also installed the cabling discreetly within the ceiling so as not to take away from any of the aesthetics of this beautiful building.”
Mick concluded: “The new fixtures provide a much better output and bring a new lease of life to the Vestibule, especially in the evenings. It is always a pleasure working with the team at AC-SP. The installation of the new fittings and cabling was carried out to the agreed programme and completed to a high standard.”
16th September 2021
Shure SLXD Digital Wireless System Delivers Robust Performance for Lucky Voice
UK – Shure has announced that, in collaboration with Pro Audio Systems and PSA4AV, they have upgraded the microphone system at Lucky Voice’s Holborn venue, with the new-to-market SLXD digital wireless system.
Lucky Voice first opened its doors in 2005 on a mission to bring the joy of singing to the UK with karaoke venues. Lucky Voice is on a mission to spread the joys of karaoke far and wide, growing a franchise and licensing business to add private karaoke rooms into venues as varied as clubs, theme parks, hotels, and beyond.
In 2019, Lucky Voice opened the doors to a brand new 5000 square foot venue in Holborn, which is home to ten state-of-the-art karaoke rooms and had a requirement for a minimum of 20 microphones.
Supplied by Pro Audio Systems and installed by PSA4AV, Lucky Voice had a requirement for a high quality, wireless microphone system that was going to stand the test of time. Craig Walmsley, senior technician, PSA4AV states: “Lucky Voice have been previous users of Shure and we knew that was the only brand that was going to meet all the requirements of the brief. We were really pleased to be the first to get hold of the brand new SLXD Digital Wireless system, in partnership with Peter Butler at Pro Audio Systems who worked closely with us on this project.
Phil Yates, operations director, Lucky Voice comments: “In tandem with losing one of the frequencies we were using for our previous microphone system, we decided when re-opening the Holborn venue post-pandemic, it was time to upgrade our microphones. The microphones we had installed weren’t standing up to the test of the environment and the Lucky Voice brand is centred around providing the best premium karaoke experience. The Shure SLXD Digital wireless system has been representative of our brand values. The system is reliable, sounds amazing and most importantly for a venue like ours, it is sturdy and robust. We are very happy with the solution and more importantly, our staff and customers are too.”
With another two venues in London and one in Brighton, Lucky Voice plans to roll out the Shure SLX-D wireless system across their estate. Stuart Moots, director pro audio, concludes: “When SLX-D was introduced last year, it was designed to offer the same robust reliability and legendary audio that has been core to all Shure products and in a scalable system. It is great to hear that Lucky Voice, and all those involved, chose SLX-D for these reasons and that Shure are able to provide the best solution for their venues.”
16th September 2021
Kunstmin Dordrecht Invests in Robe T1s
The Netherlands – Schouwburg Kunstmin is a theatre and performing arts venue in the Dordrecht, which has invested in Robe’s T1 Profile LED moving lights, a stylish and refined energy-efficient luminaire designed with the demands and precision of theatre lighting at its core.
The sale – delivered by Robe’s Benelux distributor Controllux – was just before the pandemic shut down the industry in March 2020, and with re-opening now on the horizon, the theatre is looking to add more T1s to the inventory to replace their ageing 2Ks on the FOH bridge with an LED source.
Head of lighting Bart Meester and head of technical and facilities Martijn Lohuis were both involved in this latest Robe investment. Bart has been head of lighting at the venue for 15 years.
It followed another set of T1s, LEDWash 300+s and LEDBeam 150s purchased in 2019 for M3, a fully flexible ‘bare floor’ performance space just up the road at Energiehuis, a reimagined old power station building now dedicated to culture and the arts. This vibrant multiple hall, multi-purpose venue is used by several different promoters and organisations, and M3, its largest space, is programmed and run by the team from Schouwberg Kunstmin.
Separate to that, other halls and rooms in Energiehuis also contain various Robe fixtures that have been supplied over recent years by Controllux.
The current spectacular neo-renaissance style Kunstmin building dates to the 1930s – when what is now the Main Hall was added – and it is now a designated national heritage-protected ‘monument’. It has seen several renovations over the years, the latest in 2012-14 which saw a substantial reworking and enlargement of the production and backstage facilities.
Normally Kunstmin, run by an independent foundation and subsidised by the City of Dordrecht, will showcase a diversity of performances and shows, from bands with their own productions to dance and drama shows which are often lit by the in-house. They also host parties, conferences, and corporate events for which the team will usually supply the production kit as well as all the technical creative skills.
They did have some older moving lights there before the eight Robe T1 Profiles and some LEDBeam 150s arrived in 2019, but these needed replacing with something more modern and carbon-conscious, so they looked at several options.
Bart and the crew were using Robe products regularly in M3. Before that venue’s 2019 upgrade, these were LEDWash 300s and 600E Spots which are still there and going strong, now supported by newer fixtures in the form of LEDWash 300+s.
They were also seeing various Robe products increasingly regularly at the Kunstmin with touring productions, so much so that they wanted to buy their own.
The T1 Profiles were chosen primarily for the range of colours including whites plus the “excellent colour mixing and shutter system,” commented Erik, while Bart added that the zoom was another major factor, as it was with the LEDBeam 150 FWs (Fresnel Wash) that were ordered at the same time. The zoom dramatically increases the versatility of the LEDBeam 150 offering very smooth coverage with even edges and superior colour homogenisation.
The price of the LEDBeam 150 FWs was also very attractive, so 16 of these joined the eight T1 Profiles for the 752-seater Kunstmin Main Hall.
Having these new moving lights in the house has already facilitated faster build and more efficient tech periods, which combined with the better quality of light, has resulted in a visible improvement in the way productions can be lit.
Lighting control for both Kunstmin and M3 at Energiehuis is via grandMA3 consoles.
Bart and Martijn also mention that Robe cross rentals (should they need to boost the numbers for a show) are easy as there is a lot of Robe in rental stock circulation throughout the Netherlands thanks to the hard work and tenacity of Controllux!
Since the pandemic, Both Kunstmin and M3 have been active in hosting livestream concerts, broadcasts and some other TV and video shoot variants.
Looking ahead, there are some encouraging signs coming from the Dutch government and market about reopening live entertainment with theatres and events returning, so Kunstmin is hoping that it will be operating a full season from September.
photos: Louise Stickland
14th September 2021
Martin Audio Helps Protect Breeding Falcons at New Battersea Power Station Regeneration
UK – The high-profile owners of new £20 million penthouse suites at Battersea Power Station, including Sting and Bear Grylls, have been playing second fiddle to a breeding pair of peregrine falcons.
As part of the Grade II-listed building’s £9 billion regeneration project it was stipulated that a new tower had to be erected to replace the original iconic chimneys, the natural habitat of these birds of prey who have been nesting there for 13 years.
Martin Audio long-term partners Rossco was introduced to the project by Simon Woodward of Polar Bear Live at the inception. As an acoustics consultant and event technical provider, MD Ross Sharples has provided audio support since the original confirmation of the Malaysian Consortium bid back in 2013.
“We are fully qualified when considering the impact of sound on the environment,” he said. And this includes the falcons’ well-being, where a 1-min calibrated measurement mic has been placed near the nesting platform to monitor any sound disturbance.
But as Europe’s biggest urban development project neared fruition, operators, the Battersea Power Station Development Company, started to introduce events on the jetty overlooking the Thames last summer. An over-the-top line array was brought in by another service provider with the result that the sound travelled across the Thames to Pimlico and beyond.
“Everyone complained and that jeopardised the licence,” reports Sharples. “So this year they brought Simon back and he commissioned us to achieve more acceptable levels.” The Rossco MD had no hesitation in turning to his faithful Martin Audio inventory, specifying a distributed time-aligned system along the deck. “I have always loved the ethos and heritage of Martin Audio,” he qualifies.
The coverage distance needed to be half of the 100m long (10m wide) jetty, with a 5m x 3m high resolution LED screen at one end and a FOH platform set 45m back at the rear. Rossco set a nominal 90dB(A) sound threshold for the wide range of cinematic, theatrical and music productions that would take place.
“While the local council [London Borough of Wandsworth] didn’t impose specific criteria they simply said they couldn’t be exposed to that level of complaint again. As I didn’t want to set hard limiters a subjective common-sense approach was called for.”
Taking no chances, Rossco installed a calibrated measurement meter which records audio levels as a WAV file. “This is stored as data, so as regards sound levels we can access remotely and ensure its within permissible limits,” he says.
Unusually, he turned to older Martin Audio technology to fulfil his objectives, opting for a pair of Wavefront W2s, stage left and right, with seven pairs of miniature W0.5 running back on either side, spaced three metres apart. “All are individually time-aligned and EQ’d, pointing inwards and downwards to maintain a stereo image,” he said. “With a distributed system we knew we could minimise spillage.”
However, the bigger conundrum was with the subs. “We needed rear rejection as LF would be travelling backwards towards the falcons’ nest, and that was the primary concern. A cardioid array would have spoiled the aesthetic.” Their solution was a pair of SXC118, into which the W2s are pole-mounted. “We didn’t need big subs and knew about the excellent rear rejection qualities of this speaker.”
In fact the SXC118 features an 18” forward facing driver and a 14” rear facing driver, each driven independently by separate amplifier channels and DSP. Offering a cardioid dispersion pattern, it combines high output capability with 28dB rear rejection at 75Hz.
Meanwhile, Ross Sharples confirmed that Rossco’s older Wavefront stock had been maintained immaculately and performed exceptionally. “In fact visiting sound engineers were saying the sound produced by the Wavefronts was the best they had heard.”
It has provided the perfect listening environment for the audiences of around 120, lounging in the deckchairs set in pairs along the prominade for the duration of the summer season.
Summing up, Ross Sharples states: “The objective was to redeem the situation on the jetty following last year’s catastrophe with a totally controlled sound that you can now barely hear across on the other side of the Thames.
“At the same time we’ve done our bit to help protect the falcons; it’s special!”
14th September 2021
Audient Console Praised for its “Reliability and Solid Sound”
USA – The final touches are being put on the new studio facilities at the University of Nebraska at Omaha this summer. Featuring a 24-channel ASP8024-HE with Dual Layer Control (DLC) in its classroom-sized control room, Recording Studio 381 is a fully stocked, 96-track (64 analogue, 32 Dante), surround-capable recording facility.
When choosing the console for the Music Technology programme, assistant professor of music technology, Seth Shafer was determined that his students should have a fully-featured tracking and mixing experience. “They should have the opportunity to experience an analogue inline console with sufficient bus outs, plenty of auxiliary sends and a lot of insert options,” he explains. “On the other hand, the DLC control surface allows them to work in the box with convenient hands-on control.”
During his extensive research, Seth discovered that Audient utilises the same mic pre technology in both the large and small format consoles. He went to see the ASP4816 at Chris Schlarb’s Big Ego studio. “I’m a big fan of the music he’s produced on that console. He praised the reliability and solid sound. In an educational setting with many different hands at the controls, his endorsement gave me the confidence that the ASP8024-HE would be the centrepiece of our studio for decades to come.”
The console was installed in a brand new studio space as part of a new wing to the Strauss Performing Arts Center, which opened for courses in spring of 2020. “The inline routing options of the ASP8024-HE are incredibly flexible,” he says, with students and staff equally impressed. “Our faculty of professional engineers were surprised by the versatility and functionality.”
He describes the new facility: “The studio includes immersive 8.1 surround sound, large tracking room, and three isolation rooms. Audio-over-IP connects the studio to both performance halls, a smaller satellite studio and project space, and the adjacent percussion studio.
“The studio is supported by a sizeable complement of microphones, outboard hardware processors, recording and processing software, and routing options,” he continues. “The studio maintains a Steinway B grand piano, upright piano, vintage drawbar organ and speaker cabinet, several vintage electric keyboards, monophonic, polyphonic and modular synthesisers, guitar and bass amplifiers and an assortment of acoustic baffles. In addition, a fully repositionable camera system and large displays facilitate instruction demonstrations.”
With the spectre of Covid-19 and associated restrictions hanging over them, Seth discovered that the Audient desk offered a helpful workaround. “Beyond the standard tracking and mixing features that we teach in our audio recording courses, we were able to use the console for live concert streaming out of our studio when the pandemic cancelled in-person concerts. The console allowed us to build monitor mixes for the performers, mix the live stream, monitor the live stream and record multitracks for later tweaking.”
Despite the challenges of 2020, 70 students got their hands on the console over the past year, and there is already high demand for the studio from both the Music Technology and School of Music faculties. Seth doesn’t see that changing in the near future. “With the opening of the new studio facilities, creation of new courses, expansion of our faculty, placement of alumni in graduate programmes and professional positions and increasing enrolment, the future of the Music Technology programme at the University of Nebraska looks very promising.”
14th September 2021
Having a whale of a time on the Adriatic – Outline sets the scene in a new trendsetting Riccione venue
Italy – A visit to Riccione is fun all year round, but the “Green Pearl of the Adriatic” – so-called thanks to its tree-lined streets, parks and gardens – is at its best from spring through to summer. From Easter to September it becomes the ideal destination for those who want to spend a weekend or a holiday enjoying everything the resort has to offer.
The town’s vocation for hospitality dates back to the thirties and it has been a trendsetter since, with its top clubs in the surrounding hills, leading edge beach and spa facilities and its famous main street, Viale Ceccarini, buzzing day and night.
The iconic street recently hosted the opening of The Balena (The Whale) Lounge Bar by the Villa Delle Rose and Peter Pan group, a venue offering a perfect combination of taste, style and design, in a strategic point once occupied by the Trussardi Boutique.
An Outline loudspeaker system has been installed at the “Balena”, which is already acknowledged as one of the most refined lounge bars on the Romagna Riviera, but as Marco Tiraferri explains on behalf of the group that manages the Villa delle Rose and Peter Pan clubs: “It’s not a disco in the town centre: we cater for a clientele aged from 25-30 upwards who want to pass an evening in a stylish setting, but also enjoy a music selection that is not only refined but above all reproduced well.”
He adds: “Music plays a key role in creating the right atmosphere in all environments. Even more so in the case of a lounge bar, which must have top-grade music reproduction, and a good sound system on which time and care have been spent from the drawing board stage can make all the difference.
The Outline brand was chosen due to our desire to ensure clients premium quality audio to accompany them from breakfast to dinner and from champagne tasting sessions to the great selection of dishes proposed by our chefs. The Outline sound literally knocked us out. However, the only way to find out if a perfect job’s been done is to come here and listen!”
The Outline set-up at the Balena comprises eleven of the brand-new Vegas four miniature speakers and four Sub 110 and the sound system was designed and installed by Emporio On Stage from Scandicci (Florence).
13th September 2021
Showtools International and Chauvet Professional Add New Dimension to Melbourne Recital Centre
Australia – Walking down Sturt Street, it is all but impossible not to be intrigued by the three-storey building at the corner of Southbank Boulevard. One look at the Melbourne Recital Hall, with its steel and glass lattice façade resembling a honeycomb, and playfully designed white frame defying rigid conventions, instantly tickles the imagination.
Inside, the multi-award winning venue, the aesthetics are just as impressive, only now with a more serious bent. The walls of its shoe box shaped main theatre, for example, are covered with beautiful, routed timber, carved with a level of precision worthy of precious stones. The 3D textured panelling isn’t only stunning visually, however, it also optimises acoustics.
In 2021, the 12-year old music venue’s lighting system was upgraded to match its other outstanding qualities, when it had Showtools International install a collection of Chauvet Professional Rogue and Maverick fixtures.
This move was the culmination of a quest by the Melbourne Recital Centre’s lighting team, led by head of operations Jasja van Andel, to find products that would enhance the facility’s lighting rig so they could create the big looks required for modern shows. After an extensive search for fixtures, and an on-site demonstration by Showtools International, they elected to have 12 Rogue R1 Beam fixtures and eight Maverick MK1 Hybrid units installed
“First thing we noticed was the size and weight of the fixture, Harrison Cope, senior lighting technician at the Melbourne Recital Centre, said of the Rogue R1 Beam Wash. “The pan and tilt movement is super quick, and despite their small size, they are very punchy. The 3.7⁰ to 67.7⁰ zoom range gives them great versatility. We’ve used them as beam fixtures on a hip hop act, footlights for a dance performance, and as a side wash on booms for general stage coverage. The colour spectrum is excellent!”
With COVID lockdowns impacting audience capacity, the Recital Centre has increased the recording of shows for online viewing. The Rouge R1 Beam fixtures have proven themselves invaluable in delivering camera-friendly light.
“We’re doing a lot of streaming these days, and it’s been great having the R1s available,” said Harrison. “They work well as eye candy pointing at the camera, or we can use the wide zoom to highlight the stage and room architecture to create depth and interest behind the performers. They are flicker free, which has kept our video team very happy.”
The 440W Maverick MK1 Hybrid fixtures in the upgraded rig are used as a spots and beams, creating stunning aerial effects, in addition to decorating the stage with gobo patterns, according to Harrison.
“Normally with a hybrid fixture there is a trade-off between the spot, beam and wash features, but with the Maverick does all three really well,” he said. “We get everything from the super tight beams you’d expect from a dedicated beam fixture, to a nice smooth wash that can be used for front light. It’s also great to have a full animation wheel in the fixture, I’m a big fan of that type of effect, so I’m glad Chauvet fit one in with all the other features.”
Audiences at the Melbourne Recital Centre are probably not going to marvel at the site of the fixtures in the venue’s new rig, the way they do at its charming exterior and intricate inside walls, but once the house lights go down and the stage comes alive, the results will be just as captivating.
9th September 2021
Italy's Mediaset Acquires Several Solid State Logic System T Platforms for its Broadcast Operations
Italy – Mediaset, Italy's pre-eminent privately-owned communications and commercial broadcasting group, began a transition to an all-IP infrastructure several years ago, refurbishing its facilities and replacing the legacy audio mixing consoles at its three broadcast centres. As part of that process, Mediaset has taken delivery of eight Solid State Logic System T networked broadcast production platforms comprising S500 control surfaces in a variety of frame sizes from 32 to 64 faders, all powered by SSL Tempest T80 engines, and has started installing them in its studios and OB trucks.
All of the installed System T consoles are being used to broadcast live entertainment, talk shows and other entertainment from Mediaset’s studios and external venues. Mediaset, which has grown from a local cable TV channel founded in 1987 by former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi to become one of the largest television companies in the world, has two broadcast centres in Rome and a third in Milan. So far, two System T S500 consoles have been installed in Mediaset’s studios and four S500 mobile control surfaces in a pair of OB trucks. The remaining two S500 systems are scheduled to be installed later this year in a building currently under construction.
According to Giovanni Blasi, head of Milan-based Cablateam Srl, SSL’s reseller in Italy, “For the time being, all of the studio consoles are operating in standalone mode. But by the end of 2021, all three Mediaset broadcast centres will be networked and the System T consoles will be able to work together as if they are all in the same place.”
Cablateam also supplied extensive SSL I/O options with the consoles, including SB 8.8, SDI IF, D64 AES I/O, A 16.D16 and MADI bridge units, as well as third-party interfaces from Focusrite and Ferrofish, that will enable the System T platforms to be networked with the broadcast plant and each other via Dante. Already, Blasi says, the installed S500 systems can access the cameras, recorders, intercoms and telephone system that are on the studio IP network.
Blasi reports that Mediaset’s broadcast engineers love the operational flexibility of SSL’s System T console. “They particularly like the Query function for fast access to a restricted number of channels, Automix on every channel and the flexible mix-minus functionality,” he says. “All of the engineers are amazed by the sound quality. They say that the EQ and dynamics are the best they have used and sound like analogue.”
The engineers also enjoy the ability to make channel strip and channel configurations changes without the need to restart the system, System T’s internal FX rack, event control and the configurable meter bridge, Blasi also reports, and the presets help them with fast recall of frequently used set-ups. “Once they got familiar with all the operating features they found System T very easy to use. They can do things which were nearly impossible to do with other console without very heavy routing processes,” he says.
The two OB truck installations were turnkey projects handled in their entirety by Professional Show S.p.A. of Padua, Italy. Each truck is equipped with two S500 consoles, one of which is configured to work as a frame extension for larger shows or as a backup control surface in case of emergency.
The studio installations were overseen by Pietro Osmetti, Luca Gherardi, audio-video systems designer, and Alberto Cotronei, audio-video systems project manager, from Mediaset’s project engineering department. Wiring was handled by one of Mediaset’s regular subcontractors.
9th September 2021
Century-old Alabama Church Welcomes Renkus-Heinz ICLive X Series to Support Thriving Music Programme
USA – First United Methodist Church (FUMC) in Prattville, Alabama, spent the past year renovating its sanctuary as more than a century has passed since the initial build and nearly a decade has gone by since its last major update. FUMC cleaned, refurbished, and restored systems to better meet the needs of its 1,000, and growing, assembly and provide for a wider range of service presentations and performances. Key to the upgrade is a Renkus-Heinz backed audio system offering impressive clarity in live performances as well as crisp intelligibility of the spoken word.
“Our church is a beautiful but very old building, and with plaster walls and other obstacles, it’s difficult to install new technologies in a space that wasn’t built for it, so we took the approach of doing several things at once,” said Jeremy Pyles, director of music ministries at First United Methodist Church. “We have a thriving music programme involving people of all ages, and after years of dealing with less-than-perfect sound, we took this opportunity to upgrade our sanctuary’s audio system to something we can be proud of.”
For the new audio system design and installation, FUMC turned to J.M. Anderson at Auburn AV, from Auburn, Alabama. Auburn AV is the area's leading audio, video and lighting provider, offering a range of comprehensive design, installation, AV production and sales and rental services.
Anderson said the church had previously used a hotch-potch of speakers from the '70s to the '90s ranging in size and performance. In turn, the large speaker collection prevented the space from carrying a clean and uniform aesthetic and it failed to provide quality sound performance for the congregation.
"Acoustically, the sanctuary is very reverberant. It has stained glass windows, hard walls, floors and sloped ceilings. Our main goal was to use a digitally-steerable sound system to point the sound down at the congregation and away from all of the reflective surfaces," said Anderson. "The ICLive X system was a perfect fit for this project. It delivers excellent, controllable audio with great coverage from a small footprint. It sounds great and looks great, both aspects that are very important here."
The ICLive X Series steerable arrays from Renkus-Heinz bring a high level of flexibility for integrators, contractors, and production/rental houses alike. ICLive X is a complete system, designed from the ground up, consisting of three freely combinable, steerable-array modules and a subwoofer. The system's exclusive Acoustic Source Multiplier (ASM) waveguide allows the HF section to coaxially mount in front of the LF section. The coaxial driver arrangement delivers a consistent and symmetrical dispersion of both high frequencies and low frequencies along the entire length of the array, providing the freedom to choose any acoustic centre available.
The Auburn AV team made use of the Loudspeaker Recommendation services offered by Renkus-Heinz. As a part of this service, the local manufacturer's representative Richard Hembree added his 16 plus years of experience with digitally-steerable arrays to bring the initial design through to a commissioned system. Hembree and the Griffith team often trust Renkus-Heinz solutions when challenged with acoustically demanding applications.
“In addition to the need to avoid reflective surfaces such as the large balcony face and tall plaster walls, this sanctuary has three distinct audience areas: a high balcony, a deep and low under balcony and the wide near-field area between the platform and the balcony,” said Hembree. “The IC-Live X system allows the reinforced sound to focus as needed to evenly cover the congregation with a high level of intelligibility and rich, full-range sound.”
Working with Hembree, to finalise the specifications, Anderson and the Auburn AV team installed a left and right array, each consisting of one ICLive LX, one ICLive X and one ICLive XL. The resulting 9.5-inch wide by 100-inch-tall array is capable of pattern control below 200 Hz. A pair of Renkus-Heinz dual 12-inch PNX212 subwoofers neatly tuck under the platform behind grille cloth to round out the low end.
"We ended up with a high-intelligibility sound system with minimal interaction between the reinforced audio and the room. The room can remain live and rich for the organ and choir, yet at the same time have very high speech intelligibility. With the ICLive X, we can steer the sound where we want it," said Anderson. "For our company, Renkus-Heinz has become the go-to system for difficult spaces like this."
9th September 2021
Neumann Monitors for Immersive Audio at Metropolis Studios, London
UK – From the moment it opened 35 years ago, Metropolis has been a unique studio. Its home is The Power House in Chiswick, West London, a show-piece of Victorian architecture built to house the London Tram System. The building was, in fact, never used for that purpose and sat derelict for 80 years, before being lovingly restored to keep its industrial heritage to the fore but allowing its five floors to hold Metropolis’s four state-of-the-art recording studios, five iconic mastering rooms, over a dozen writing, production and mixing rooms and a full-service bar. It has now added a fifth studio to this impressive list, which features a fully certified Dolby Atmos system, based entirely around Neumann monitors.
It has always been Metropolis’s philosophy to reflect its unique environment and build an atmosphere of creativity and collaboration. This has paid dividends with a list of artists: Queen, Eric Clapton, Elton John, George Michael, Amy Winehouse, Adele and Stormzy, to name just a few, coming through its doors that reads like a Who’s Who of musical legends.
“We’re committed to being the most relevant and diverse studio in the UK,” says Metropolis brand director, Gavin Newman. “I think the fact that two thirds of all domestic Brits nominations in 2021 use the studio and that we’ve become a go-to venue for brand partnerships with the likes of Clash Magazine, Nordoff Robbins, London Fields Brewery, Ellesse, Mastercard, Record Store Day, Amazon Music, Notion Magazine, Fred Perry, Harman, Clarks, Shure, Jack Daniels and WaterAid says a lot.”
The journey to ensure Metropolis stays relevant and technically up to date has led to the creation of its new immersive studio. Developed in conjunction with immersive audio and live streaming specialist Sonosphere, versatility was the key for the Munro Acoustics-designed room. Its centrally located mix position and immersive monitoring environment ensures it can cater for all current surround formats. The room fully meets Dolby Atmos specifications, is capable of delivering 11.8.1 Atmos and includes a Dolby Atmos Mastering Suite server.
Whilst Metropolis has not traditionally been a Neumann house, the Sonosphere team has a long history with the brand and were keen to demonstrate its benefits. A key mission was to ensure clean and extended low frequency, with the required isolation to accurately judge tone-shaping a full octave below the effective range of many monitoring systems. As a result, three Neumann KH 420 tri-amplified monitors are soffit-mounted to the front wall, with one KH 420 positioned horizontally beneath its video screen and twin Neumann KH 870 400W subwoofers flanking the three-way monitors, with deep bass response up to 18Hz. Surround monitoring is handled by 17 Neumann KH120 compact bi-amplified studio monitors, renowned for uniformity between units, and with a ± 1.0dB linearity deviation between 100Hz–10kHz.
“We decided on three loudspeakers across the back wall, with all the loudspeakers around the room arrayed at 30° of separation to each other, so the setup was completely symmetrical for doing third-order [high-order Ambisonic] work,” explains Sonosphere mix engineer, Phil Wright, who was a key member of the design team. “Atmos is more ‘front-centric’, so for that format one of the rear loudspeakers will not be in use, and two of the others will be electronically adjusted for Dolby using a DAD AX32 monitor controller.”
The new studio adds an immersive dimension to Metropolis’ comprehensive array of recording studios and mastering rooms. Whilst the facility is already well known for music, there are a host of opportunities in the pipeline for the new studio, with streaming and delivery options provided by the Sonosphere team.
“There is already a significant order book for the room in terms of record labels, who want well-known catalogue content remixed in Atmos so they can add it to HD streaming services,” concludes Sonosphere director Jamie Gosney. “Choosing Neumann was a no-brainer for us as they produce some of the very best professional studio monitors in the world. We are proud to be able to collaborate with the team at Metropolis on building this top-notch immersive facility, and we cannot wait to see all the creative opportunities that the new studio will bring to their new and existing clients.”
photos: James Cumpsty
9th September 2021
First ST2110 Studio Project in Russia: TV Center Moscow in Control with Lawo VSM, V__matrix and SMART
Russia – TV Center (TVC) in Moscow, the state-run TV station with the fourth largest coverage area in Russia, has embraced IP with Lawo video, networking and control systems.
Owned by the city of Moscow, TVC’s programmes highlight various aspects of Moscow life, aired across the complete Russian territory. In a first phase for the transition to IP technology, TVC has embarked upon a major technical renovation of their central control room and two additional studios. Moscow system integrator DNK was trusted with the implementation of IP video, networking and control technology.
After thorough market research, DNK decided on Lawo, a brand with a global reputation for IP innovation and an enviable number of 24/7 broadcast installations worldwide. DNK, in cooperation with TVC and Lawo, installed Lawo VSM (Virtual Studio Manager) IP broadcast control and workflow solution, as well as V__matrix software-defined IP core routing, processing and multi-viewing platform. For network supervision, DNK installed Lawo smartDASH system monitoring and real-time telemetry for broadcast networks, and smartSCOPE deep packet media inspection and network analyser. A__digital64 units provide abundant I/O connectivity. This installation at TV Center is notable as the first ST2110 studio installation in Russia.
Lawo’s VSM brings IP-based control and workflow to OB, studio and MCR applications in TV and radio. Device-agnostic VSM controls all major video/audio routers and mixers, intercoms, UMDs and multi-viewers, glue and other third-party baseband and IP devices. SMART system monitoring and real-time telemetry software for broadcast networks provides network and data health transparency across all-IP, all-SDI and hybrid WAN/LAN infrastructures. For signal monitoring, the V__matrix based vm_dmv distributed IP multi-viewer app provides high-quality functionality for 4k/3G/HD/SD. Lawo’s LVP LiveView Multi-Image Processor enables the vm_dmv multi-viewer to show both production (SDI/ ST2110/ ST2022-6) and transmission (MPEG-2/H.264/HEVC/OTT-ABR) formats on a single screen for OTT/playout.
Lawo’s V__matrix software-defined IP platform uses multiple cores and a high-capacity COTS switch with redundant 10GbE/40GbE connectivity as a distributed IP routing / processing matrix for frame-accurate switching. C100 processing blades provide physical signal connectivity; virtual module apps with a VSM control layer allow remapping entire workflows in minutes. Virtual modules handle streaming, video processing and multiviewing, with the V__matrix vm_udx app providing SD, HD and 4K format conversion with HDR capability.
The A__stage64, a part of the A__line Audio-to-IP interface family, provides WAN capable transport of analogue and digital audio compatible with ST2110-30/-31 and AES67/RAVENNA audio-over-IP standards.
“An important part of this first phase was to create an IP Routing core which could take 40x40 feeds from the existing main SDI router and transfer them to the IP infrastructure using encaps/decaps via six Lawo C100 processing blades,” explains DNK’s CTO Maxim Krivtsov (pictured). “These C100 blades are also dedicated for four-channel format conversion using vm_udx functionality.”
TV Center’s CTO Alexey Brusnitskiy says: “We decided to transition to IP for our complete infrastructure in order to be ready for the future challenges of TV production and distribution. IP technology offers the highest level of flexibility and efficiency in workflows, and it provides best possible reliability and security for our productions and our network.”
Krivtsov explains the set-up: “Working closely with the customer, we conceived a turnkey end-to-end IP transition project including overall control system, SDN orchestration, IP-to/from-SDI gateways, up/down/cross conversion, multiviewer and a network monitoring system. This was only possible with Lawo’s VSM, V__matrix, SMART and A__line interfacing gear.”
The order, received by DNK in Spring, 2021, was described as an IP upgrade for TVC’s broadcast facility, including the MCR with Studio 1 and Studio 2 as a pilot project and first phase transition to IP technology, to be finalized in August 2021. After this first phase, all TVC control rooms and studios will be integrated into a complete IP infrastructure step by step, as part of the larger multi-stage project.
9th September 2021
Kingside Studio Updates its Workflow with a Neve 8424 Console
Sweden – Kingside Studio has become the latest recording facility in Sweden to install a Neve 8424 console and benefit from the unparalleled connectivity that this flexible console delivers.
Originally established in Stockholm in 2004 by producer and engineer Otto Wellton, Kingside Studio moved to Södermaland in 2009 when Otto and his wife Linda decided to pursue a more tranquil, rural life. A new studio was created next to their home and this is now proving very popular with artists who also want to escape to the countryside.
“The studio is residential and is in a stunning setting with forest views and several lakes nearby,” Otto explains. “It has a large control room, a large recording room with high ceilings, two adjoining booths and a separate writers' room. There is also a pool and a lovely outside bar area where customers can relax and hang out.”
Kingside Studio has always been heavily invested in Neve equipment. Prior to buying an 8424 console, Otto had already purchased a 1073 OPX, a 1073 DPX and various 500 Series products. In addition, his previous console was a Neve VRP60 and it was because this was coming to the end of its working life that he decided to investigate a replacement.
“Our old Neve VRP60 console had strong merits but was started to give us some reliability issues due to its age,” he explains. “That feeling of anxiety led us to utilise a growing number of external preamps and that, combined with today’s way of constantly changing mixes until they are literally on Spotify, made it hard to make small changes or balance more than one project at a time. As a result we were working more and more in the box and using the console as a very substantial monitor controller/summing device.”
Given the way Kingside Studio customers were working, Otto felt that the Neve 8424 would fit the bill perfectly. Launched in 2020, the console offers a centralised platform with connectivity between the worlds of analogue and digital. Although it is a small format console, it still delivers the iconic sound of the large format Neve 80-series console range as well as providing exceptional routing flexibility and modularity so that artists and producers can combine modern, digital workflows with analogue outboard equipment.
“I’m a bit of a gearhead and was fairly well informed about the console when I decided to buy it,” Otto says. “I read about it in various pro audio publications and eventually contacted Anders Glantz, at AMS Neve’s local dealer, Soundware Sweden, to arrange a demo. Anders is a good friend of mine and he’s been second to none throughout this process. The desk was installed in early summer and is now operating as a central hub that connects all of the studio’s outboard equipment.”
Getting used to a new workflow hasn’t proved too difficult for Otto as he was already doing most of his EQ tweaks ‘in the box’, but having the ability to work with analogue headroom is, he says, a big difference.
“Getting your balances up in a more tactile way and using your ears rather than your eyes is, of course, a major point as well,” he says. “I like the fact that the console is neat and everything is within reach. Also, although it is smaller than a traditional console, the sound is stellar. It is a process of scaling down, but I love it and I will love it even more when the automation package is released. Having had 30-plus years of riding faders, I think installing the automation package will also deliver major improvements to my workflow.”
Kingside Studio is a highly diversified production facility that attracts a wide range of projects and clients. As well as external customers, Otto also uses the facility to record artists signed to the record label he runs with his wife, Linda.
“Since the arrival of the 8424 we've been using it to mix an album for Swedish/Sudanese artist Abu Diop,” he says. “We have also recorded an Americana album and two jazz albums, and recorded and mixed a pop EP.”
He adds that customers who have used the new desk are very impressed with its sound quality, although it does take them a while to get used to the look of the studio now that it no longer has a massive old desk at its heart!
9th September 2021
Second House of Hits Studio Opens in Miami with Audient
USA – “In the last year we probably had around 100 platinum records recorded through these consoles,” says House of Hits owner, Vinny DeLeon. The consoles he refers to are the two Audient ASP8024 Heritage Edition desks he now owns. The first is in the original studio, the second at the heart of ‘House of Hits phase two’ which opened in July, yet was still on the drawing board just a few short months ago.
Vinny brings some big creative ideas to the table when it comes to House of Hits. “We are the go-to luxury recording studio in Miami,” he says, and this latest incarnation is no different. “This time I tried to go the extra mile, make it even more modern, more ‘2035’,” he explains. Indeed he has: besides the 24-channel Audient console with patchbay and some tasty outboard gear, the newest control room also boasts a fish tank. “I think the vibe is truly amazing,” he says.
People’s reactions to the space – “just jaw-dropping” – seem to be boosting Vinny’s output. “I got another two Billboard number ones with Daddy Yankee in the last month and six of my records reached 100 million streams on both YouTube and Spotify.” That reflects in the amount of repeat business, suggesting that clients are appreciating it too. “I don’t know if it’s one specific thing or a blend: the vibe, the build, the analogue gear, the Audient console, people just love everything.”
According to Vinny, House of Hits team members as well as visiting engineers have nothing but praise for the desk. “The fact that it’s an inline console makes for an easy workflow and the quality is amazing. The built-in patchbay makes it simple and straightforward, too. It has just been seamless.”
As for Vinny himself? Despite his online alter ego, multi-platinum mixing engineer Mr Mix & Master originally confessing to “not being the most analogue mixer”, he now works on the Audient desk on a daily basis. “I went from using a laptop and headphones to an analogue console with $60k speakers, and the transition has been quicker than I thought. I get great results as my sounds have gotten super-sized!” Having recently recorded Busta Rhymes on an El Alfa remix for La Mamá de la Mamá (“a massive record”) as well as mixing the new Black Eyed Peas single featuring Mariah, he’s certainly been busy.
Now Vinny’s dream of opening a second studio has become a reality, he is keen to up the ante on growing his record label. “I’m opening up another four rooms across the street for my new artists and writers. My producer, two-time Grammy award winning Vinny Venditto and I are working on a lot of big records right now. I’m really excited about the future,” he says.
That’s not surprising really, as he’s also talking about working with his acoustician and studio builder, Christopher Bentley to expand even further. “With this business model we have such a great presence online – number one on Google for recording studios in Miami, over 300 reviews and a 4.9 rating – that we are going to go for the moon and franchise it in other cities, like Los Angeles and New York.”
7th September 2021
Martin MAC Encore Performance CLDs extend Dorfman Theatre’s move towards total LED
UK - After making substantial investments in Martin by Harman MAC Encore Performance LED fixtures in separate tranches over the past three years in part of a major overhaul of its three theatres, the National Theatre recently completed the upgrade to the Dorfman Theatre, as the space heads towards becoming 100% LED. Their investment in MAC Encore Performance CLD fixtures for the first time moves it into an entirely sustainable LED environment, including focusable house lights.
The 13 MAC Encore Cold White heads, supplied by Stage Electrics to replace a conventional tungsten source, complement a similar number of MAC Encore Performance WRM fixtures on the basic rig. These can be supplemented by additional fixtures held by the National’s Lighting Resources department.
According to the National’s head of lighting, Matt Drury, this represents the latest phase in a long capital development programme for the complex which dates back to 2013. This was the year before the Cottesloe Theatre transformed into the Dorfman, and the infrastructure was partly reconfigured.
The pre-existing moving lights (industry standards at the time, and including the Martin TW1) have been duly replaced, along with the generics. The TW1s made way for the MAC Encore Performance WRM Washes in 2019 and it would only be a matter of time before these were complemented by 12 of their cold white counterparts. However, the intervention of Covid mothballed plans until this year.
Standardisation on LED had always been the goal for the Dorfman, confirms the theatre’s lighting supervisor, Jack Champion. “It was a straight swap over to the MAC Encores regarding rig positions,” he said. “It has also made life easier regarding cables, we now have everything on the same connector.”
Describing the MAC Encores as “workhorses”, he says: “They provide the subtlety and colour temperature that designers want coupled with the intensity and quietness that work well in the Dorfman.
“Being a smaller venue, most units are close to audience members. These units are quiet enough to never cause an issue which is a real bonus for us. With the replacement of the previous [tungsten] fixtures we have moved away from an all-warm rig now to have a mixture of warm and some cold units. This provides more flexibility for designers.”
The current production of Rockets And Blue Lights has transferred from the Manchester Royal Exchange where it was lit by Jessica Hung Han Yun. The show unfortunately had to shut after the first preview due to the Coronavirus pandemic. It is now running at the National Theatre where lighting designer Amy Mae has embellished the lighting design to fit the space. The designer has since been using most of the MAC Encores to light the show.
Summing up, Jack Champion says: “These fixtures are great because they are so versatile. Combining warm wash and cold performance gives us the general cover but also the flexibility and intensity of being able to do precise shutter cuts to pick out certain elements for individual productions.
“The Dorfman is a very flexible venue that is almost never in the same configuration for consecutive shows. The rig and these units allow us to manage any configuration that is thrown at us without having to alter the standard.”
The final word comes from Matt Drury. “This latest installation fulfils our ambition to be more sustainable with LED sources. It’s where the industry is heading and for us it was the obvious decision.”
6th September 2021
Solid State Logic Live L100 Console Plays Central Role for Streaming Worship Services at Calvary Chapel Old Bridge
USA – Calvary Chapel Old Bridge non-denominational Christian church, located in central New Jersey, has upgraded its broadcast facilities with a Solid State Logic Live L100 console, which joins an SSL Live L200 console at front of house that was installed during a PA system overhaul in 2017. Wired! Ministry, the church’s audio-visual technology department, chose the L100 based on the performance and compatibility of the two Live consoles, ensuring that congregants worshipping at home during the pandemic experience the best possible audio quality during livestreamed services.
“We’ve been very happy with our L200. We have it paired with an L-Acoustics speaker system and it sounds awesome. So, when our previous broadcast console was reaching end of life it made sense to go with the L100,” says Wired! Ministry’s Marshall Garcia, who oversees the ministry. “It’s nice to be able to swap files between the two consoles. They speak nicely to each other, and it’s great for training. It was a no-brainer for us.”
Wired! Ministry is responsible for the broadcast of four services per week, on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, as well as special events, via livestream, YouTube and Facebook. The ministry’s main broadcast engineer, Nicholas Dunphy, comments: “A lot of churches will have a compressor on an aux sending out to broadcast. But we wanted to go one step better and send out a mix that’s specifically for the broadcast audience. Broadcast became incredibly important in the last year or so with Covid-19 and we wanted to make sure we’re doing a great job for the folks at home.”
The L100 in the broadcast booth, which overlooks the stage in the church’s 1,000-seat auditorium, is connected to the L200 over MADI. “We’re using the preamps on the L200 at front of house and we’re sending those upstairs to the L100. The preamps sound amazing,” says Dunphy. Services, which feature a contemporary band incorporating drums, bass, electric and acoustic guitars, keyboards and several vocalists, are also recorded, enabling virtual soundchecks at both console positions via a Dante network.
Churches typically need to be conscious of their spending, says Garcia. “The L200 was very church-friendly, which made it very appealing to us. It fit into our overall budget nicely and it sounds great.” When it came time to budget for the L100, he says: “Because of what you get with the SSL Live, with all the onboard processing, we didn’t have to worry about purchasing any outboard gear. It’s more than meeting our needs and we’re very happy with it.”
“I really love all the plug-ins that are on the console, especially the SSL bus compressor,” agrees Dunphy. “It’s amazing for the broadcast feed. And on the SSL channel compressor, there’s a tube filter emulation that sounds amazing. We put a little bit of compression on the whole mix just to make it a little less dynamic for the end user.”
To bring a sense of realism to the dedicated broadcast mix, he says: “We have two microphones on the ceiling and two on the stage in the main auditorium. We put in just enough of those microphones so that you feel like you’re in the room. We’re able to listen to what the end-user is getting and can adjust the mix so that it feels like you’re at the service in your home.” The broadcast studio is outfitted with a choice of reference monitors, including KRK V6 and JBL speakers, he says.
The L100’s user interface makes it very easy to operate, Dunphy says. “Having the large touch screen is probably one of the coolest parts about the console. It’s very similar to a DAW; you’re able to go through all the pages and everything is only one button away. I went through one of SSL’s certified live training courses and it was nice to see the different features that the console has, how to route things and really get the most out of it. But it’s been very easy to learn.”
Having Live consoles which offer operators the same workflow and experience makes training very easy for church volunteers. “Once we put them on broadcast, they can learn how to do front-of-house, and vice versa,” he says. “We have scenes set up for volunteers and set the parameters. They can play as much as they want with EQ and compression, but as far as the routing, the volunteers don’t even need to go there. And we’ll save their mix for them for next time so they can pick up where they left off.”
As things have turned out, the quality of the livestream has helped the church grow during the pandemic, Garcia reports. “In our area there were a lot of churches that weren’t livestreaming. Some churches closed down and people were looking for an outlet. They found our website and were enjoying viewing the live services and how it sounded. So, when things opened up, we had a flood of new people from other churches that we hadn’t met before. It’s been a blessing.”
Calvary Chapel, a fellowship association of churches, has its roots in the Jesus Movement that began in Southern California in the 1960s. Californian Senior Pastor Lloyd Pulley and his wife Karen moved to New Jersey and by 1984 had attracted a church membership of 50, meeting in a school gymnasium. Calvary Chapel Old Bridge now ministers to more than 3,000 congregants and reaches a potential audience of millions through its Wired! Ministry.
3rd September 2021
Mobeon equips next-gen studio with fos/4
USA – The hosts of the popular YouTube channel, Game Theory, wanted to produce a record-setting and award-winning live-stream event to raise money for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. To make sure it was a success YouTube Originals, Game Theory and St. Jude Children’s hospital partnered with Mobeon Studios in Burbank to bring it to life. Mobeon, in turn, partnered with Justin Preston of Preston Productions. Preston decided this was the perfect opportunity to use ETC’s fos/4 Panel fixtures. The event was a smash success, raising $3.1 million for St. Jude’s. The lights were also a success, impressing Mobeon Studios so much they bought an entire new rig of fos/4 fixtures.
Preston Productions has made a name for itself by servicing high concept projects with complex technical challenges such as “The Elf on the Shelf's Magical Holiday Journey,” which used over 100 universes, 1000 lights, remote triggers and 2.5 miles of fibre to connect it all.
For Preston, the important feature was the X8 array. The Lustr X8 lighting array in the fos/4 Panel and Fresnel is a patent-pending mix of green, lime, blue, indigo, cyan, amber, red and deep red LEDs that set a new standard in LED lighting quality. It creates visually stunning saturated colours and as well as nuanced skin tone beautifully.
3rd September 2021
Neumann Monitors for Immersive Audio at Axis Audio Nashville
USA – A mastering engineer who has worked on Grammy nominated projects, Mike Monseur, and mix engineer Webster Tileston have become more familiar with the immersive audio format over the course of the last year, the pair has come to appreciate its potential and have subsequently launched their own music mixing and mastering facility, Axis Audio. The new world-class mixing and mastering facility is outfitted with no less than 14 Neumann KH Series speakers in an immersive 7.1.4 monitor layout.
The spacious Axis Audio mixing and mastering room features three Neumann KH 420 three-way powered monitors, each atop a KH 870 subwoofer, that handle the LCR and LFE channels. Four KH 310 three-way powered speakers on stands provide the surround information while four KH120 bi-amped monitors on Neumann mounting hardware deliver the overhead zones. All the KH series speakers are located in an eight-foot radius from the listening position except the overheads, which are slightly delayed.
An Avid Pro Tools Ultimate system running on a Mac Pro 3.2GHz 16-core machine drives the system into a multi-channel interface that also provides monitor management and switching between speaker configurations. A variety of outboard processing is housed in a pair of outboard racks, one to either side of the standing desk. JB Wood Design of Nashville custom made the desk and racks to Monseur and Tileston’s specifications.
After a lacklustre immersive presentation at a trade show in late 2019, Tileston says: “Mike and I walked out and said, this is pointless; no one’s going to listen to this. No one is going to have the budget for this type of setup. And even if they do, they’re going to set it up wrong.” But after watching a video from the 2020 NAMM Show on rendering mixes in binaural, Tileston began to see the immersive format’s potential. “If there’s a way that this can transfer to headphones, that means it has some more value for consumers,” he says.
At the time, Tileston had a pair of KH 120s at his studio and he acquired a second pair to create a surround system with his existing stereo set-up. He subsequently added bookshelf speakers as overheads as he took a deeper dive into the possibilities of Dolby Atmos mixing during the months that followed. But it wasn’t until Monseur brought over his personal pair of KH 420s to create an all-Neumann KH series set-up at Tileston’s studio that everything started to fall into place.
After Tileston and Monseur found their new studio location in early 2020, they set up a 5.1 system before moving in any equipment or acoustically treating the space. “We had added some KH 310s at that point, so we had 420s, 310s and 120s,” Monseur says. “It really felt right, so I said, okay, I’m on board; this is going to work.”
Monseur has been using KH 420s since 2015. “I was looking for new mastering monitors and got to demo the 420s,” he says, “and I didn’t send them back.” The dome midrange was probably the biggest factor in wanting to own a pair of Neumann speakers, he says. “They have punch and a great transient response but they’re still engaging and warm. They have a distinct voice that’s pleasant to listen to. And those 420s have been on every single day since 2015 without a problem.”
Then there is the KH 420’s full-range bass response, Monseur says. “The 420 by itself goes down to 26 Hz. Adding the 870, it goes down to 18Hz. With the 870s, any infrasonic information, like mic stand hits that you wouldn’t pick up normally, mud or DC offset, is all pretty clear.”
In Axis Audio’s new room, Monseur says: “The 870s are running full range with the 420s, effectively turning them into four-way boxes. The 870s also handle the LFE; they have multiple inputs that allow you to do that.”
Monseur and Tileston have built out their facility on the high-ceilinged upper floor of a house, an expansive space with sloping walls set at a variety of angles. “Before we had anything in there, looking at the shape and the angles, we thought it could either be really problematic or really great,” Tileston says. “But when we walked in, we noticed that it did sound pretty natural for what it was, and that carried through after we put up all of the treatment.”
Since both of them had their own businesses to continue running while building out their new facility, Tileston, who is also a live production systems tech for country music star Thomas Rhett and a touring front-of-house mixer, precisely measured and mapped the room. “I had a 3D model of everything within an inch or so,” he says. “That allowed us to previsualise where we were going to put the racks, the desk and the speakers, and figure out how to do the panelling and what we needed to prep and get ready to do.”
Tileston reports that they were able to reuse much of the equipment and acoustic treatment from their respective former studios to outfit the new space. To deliver the project within their budget, the pair also sold off various items of gear to purchase the additional Neumann speakers and mounting hardware, computer, interface, desk, racks and additional acoustic treatment.
Tileston’s system tech skills delivered additional cost savings, enabling him to time and tune the monitor set-up himself to Dolby’s specifications without calling in a specialist. “It just wasn’t in the budget for this room,” Monseur says. “In the past I’ve worked with some great acousticians to tune my rooms, so we knew how to approach it.”
“We’ve both always prided ourselves, and have made one of our top priorities, the monitoring and the space before the gear,” Tileston says. “As long as we have a good converter with a good set of monitors, good treatment and room correction if we need it, those are the things that matter most for us. You can have as much outboard gear as you want, but if you don’t know what you’re hearing it’s not going to go very far. That’s one of the reasons we chose Neumann monitors; they’re really flexible and we knew they sounded great.”
Axis Audio has already created Dolby Atmos Music mixes for a couple of the major record labels since opening. But while it is one of only a handful of rooms in Nashville capable of mixing and mastering in the immersive format, the services that Monseur and Tileston offer are extensive and also include stereo mixing and mastering, mastering for vinyl, tape transfers and audio editing and restoration.
“Tons of people in our industry have never heard a Dolby Atmos Music mix; they have no idea how it sounds,” Monseur says. “I see Dolby Atmos as an additional format, not a format to replace anything. Stereo is not going anywhere; Dolby Atmos is not going to put you out of business or change the way you’re making music. But once you hear it, especially on speakers in a room, you get it.”
photos: Triniti Ortiz
3rd September 2021
Brian Alston Upgrades his Studio with a Neve 8424 Console
USA – Installing a Neve console in his project studio in Northern Arizona, USA, is a dream come true for producer and songwriter Brian Alston as he has been a huge fan of the Neve sound for many years but never thought he would be able to own a console of his own.
All that changed, however, with the launch of the Neve 8424, a small format console with the large format sound of the iconic 80 Series range from which it takes it inspiration. Designed to fit the needs of the modern hybrid studio, this cost-effective desk combines speedy in-the-box workflow with the sound quality of Neve analogue summing.
“If you want the real Neve sound in a console, the value to cost ratio of this product is remarkable,” Brian Alston says. “In a typical home studio environment, an 88R would be a bit much and a BCM10 would be a bit pricey, but the 8424 is a perfect balance between the two. It has the same pedigree as the consoles in Abbey Road and Capital Studios, and it is very inspiring to know that most of my musical heroes made some of their greatest albums on Neve desks or with a heavy amount of Neve gear.”
Brian has been making and producing music since he was a teenager and uses his studio for his own projects and to record local bands. Alongside the 8424 console, he is also running a Neve 1073OPX Octal microphone/line/instrument preamplifier, both of which were supplied by Vintage King.
“Because of time restraints on my recording I find the balance of analogue and digital to be a huge blessing,” he says. “The 8424 is the centrepiece of my studio and I link it with a 1073 OPX, converter and a computer running a DAW. This gives me a mega fast and smooth way of working. The 1073OPX aids in the recording process so much, especially as I only have one room to record in. Having all of the inputs on the front makes it so easy; I plug in a mic and can get started straight away. I also have the OPX networked to the 8424 via Cat6 cable and can control it from the board, so it’s like having a big or vintage old school Neve desk in that regard. For someone who is pressed for time, it allows me to focus on the musician aspect more than the engineering aspect. I love both roles, but when the front end just works, I can quickly swap out a mic to change tone and continue focusing on the part I’m playing.”
Brian has his 8424 hooked up to patch bays so that he has as much flexibility as possible when recording and mixing.
“The classic console workflow that the 8424 affords me helps my creativity, and I also like the two-band EQ on the group channels because it is so easy to route an instrument over to the group channels for some quick, excellent sounding Neve EQ,” he explains. “I also think the Stereo Width function is astonishing because it is such a cool, spatial effect for the mix.”
Having never made such a large equipment purchase before, Brian was understandably nervous and relied heavily on Vintage King’s guidance.
“Audio sales consultant Chris Karn was always there to answer my questions, offer options and solutions and make sure that the transaction went smoothly,” he says. “The 8424 is minimal yet offers so much. One of the things I love most is that once you get it, you don’t have to fit it out with another $10,000 worth of EQs and comps to make it complete. It also fits a small footprint and doesn’t at all feel cramped to operate. All the knobs and buttons are very easily accessible, and your head ends up staying between the speakers.”
With his console up and running, Brian is now working on an album project with a band called The Well Dressed Wolves. He is, he says, delighted with his purchase because it has fulfilled his dreams.
“I basically wanted a console that would be with me for a very, very long time and one that would continue to inspire me to work every day. I have found that in the 8424.”
1st September 2021
Claypaky Mythos 2 Selected for New Carteret (NJ) Performing Arts & Events Center
USA – The Carteret Performing Arts & Events Center (CPAC) has opened in central New Jersey with 16 Claypaky Mythos 2 fixtures in the lighting rig of the 1,600-seat Grand Hall. Theatrical consultant Bill Marshall of Harvey Marshall Berling Associates tasked Devon Allen with designing the lighting system and specifying the fixtures for the main floor auditorium. Allen, a lighting and production designer for venues and studios, heads New York City-based Devon Allen Production Design, LLC.
The cornerstone of the Arts District of Carteret, the 55,000-square-foot CPAC is a multi-level, flexible space venue that boasts The Underground lower-level comedy/jazz club, The Grand Hall with upper-level VIP seating and expansive lobby, Starlight Terrace rooftop lounge, Gallery 46 art space, plus additional lobbies and conference rooms.
Allen, who has used Mythos 2 many times for one-off events, chose the versatile spot and beam lights for The Grand Hall’s large, primarily LED lighting rig. “We needed a fixture with enough punch to cut through everything else and also do interesting aerial effects and beam pattern projections,” he explains. “Mythos 2 has a rather large aperture so their beams look nice in the background on camera.”
The 16 fixtures, supplied by 4Wall, are evenly divided between positions overhead upstage and on the floor of the stage.
With its launch delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, CPAC began soft openings this spring. The Grand Hall has already hosted “That Motown Band” musical celebration and “An Evening of Doo Wop,” both lit by Allen.
“The Mythos 2s were really fantastic,” he reports. “It’s amazing what they can cut through. Their movements are smooth and beautiful and as fast as you could desire.”
He adds that: “I appreciate the variety of things you can do with Mythos 2. You not only get great cut-through with the beams but also can spread out the beams for really nice effects. As CPAC grows with a diverse schedule of events the Mythos 2s will adapt well to theatre and dance, too.”
1st September 2021
RIVAGE PM7 is Opera Wrocławska’s New Star Performer
Poland – Streamed performances have become a routine way of taking the performing arts to audiences on a scale that nobody could have anticipated just 18 months ago. After difficulties with the technical sound production of Opera Wrocławska’s first streamed production, a Yamaha RIVAGE PM7 digital mixing system has changed everything for its audio department.
Streaming has offered a vital lifeline for the arts during the pandemic, but there has been the question of whether larger scale productions like orchestral concerts and major theatrical shows can stream their performances with the necessary artistic effect? An essential part of achieving this is, of course, how the production sounds.
In 2020, Poland’s Opera Wrocławska embraced live streaming, but it was presented with two key problems. Firstly, of 300 staff, the venue’s sound department comprised just three people: Grzegorz Bieńko, Sebastian Jarus and Jakub Krzysiek, who had no experience of streaming productions. Secondly, the mixing capacity was three Yamaha DM2000 mixing consoles, which were not ideal for adapting to streamed shows.
“The DM2000 is still a great audio consoles for theatrical use but, due to its age and facilities, it was difficult for us to deliver the best quality for a live stream,” says Grzegorz.
Undaunted, when tasked with directing the sound for Opera Wrocławska’s first streamed live concert – an orchestral version of Stanisław Moniuszko's opera Straszny dwór (The Haunted Manor) – Grzegorz, Sebastian and Jakub rose to the challenge.
Mixing opera is always challenge, with the orchestra, choir and soloists being brought together to create one coherent performance. But, as well as the limited technical facilities, every musician and vocalist had to maintain physical distancing of at least one metre from each other. To make things even more difficult, the production was arranged in a 360º circle. Unwanted spill from different sections into the microphones of the others was clearly going to be one of the technical obstacles.
Grzegorz, Sebastian and Jakub filled the six expansion slots of each DM2000 with Yamaha mini-YGDAI cards, which allowed them to network the consoles via Dante, routing the signals to the opera house’s studio where the live mix took place. The basic feed for the live mix comprised more than 100 channels.
The Haunted Manor proved a great success for Opera Wrocław, but it was obvious that improvements were needed, to simplify the audio setup and deliver better quality sound to the online audience.
Wrocław-based PogoArt has worked with the opera house on many productions, especially large-scale outdoor events, and so was happy to supply a Yamaha RIVAGE PM7 digital mixing system. Starting with a production of Puccini’s La Bohème, the sound team immediately noticed a huge technological advance.
“They had worked with Yamaha CL and QL series consoles many times, but the RIVAGE PM7’s ease of use, ergonomics, technical facilities and sound quality surprised them,” says PogoArt owner Slawek Pogorzala. “96kHz sound, the saturation of individual channels at preamp level and exceptional reverb processing, much more extensive grouping and flexibility of sends (for example a single channel to the Matrix bus) were just the beginning.”
He continues: “Tools like the dynamic EQ and the Rupert Neve Designs plug-ins have let the audio team precisely refine the sound heard by the audience, while maintaining the naturally complex dynamics. Even the very fast jumps sung by the female soloists, which had always been a problem for the DM2000s, are handled easily by RIVAGE PM7.”
Two more features which have made a huge difference to the audio team are the ability of the system to handle straightforward parallel, multi-track recording for streaming and how it handles virtual soundchecks. They have been able to spend more time working on the sound and, when rehearsals with the performers take place, use that time to really finesse the audio production.
“Considering the technical challenges, the audio team delivered a remarkable production of The Haunted Manor with the three Yamaha DM2000s. But, in comparison, what the RIVAGE PM7 system delivered has been absolutely fantastic,” says Slawek. “It has brought a coherent, precise, nuanced quality to the sound, which truly brings the audio quality of the Opera Wrocławska house to online audiences.
“Opera Wrocławska has a new star quartet: the three members of the sound team and the Yamaha RIVAGE PM7!”
1st September 2021
Krung Thai Bank Holds Live Presentations Without Disrupting Nearby Banking Operations Using Renkus-Heinz Digitally Steerable Solutions
Thailand – Krung Thai Bank recently unveiled the Krungthai Innovation Lab at its head office in Bangkok. The lab provides a space to work on developing emerging technologies for its banking services, innovation around the use of data, and improvements to its products and processes across the company.
At the core of the Innovation Lab is the Showcase Stadium, used for major announcements, product launches, and other events throughout the year. It features a stunning 26-foot by 7-foot display and can host a small group of on-site viewers in addition to offering live broadcasts. However, the stadium is located in an open floor plan environment near one of the facility's main reception areas. This means the ability to position sound precisely where it is wanted most – on the audience – was key in the AV integration.
“This was a project where we knew from the start that beam steering technology would be crucial, so we went with the very best in Renkus-Heinz,” said Juthamas Jailuck, marketing supervisor at Vichai Trading, the firm that designed and installed the AV system for the bank. “In addition to the need to keep sound directed in one place so it doesn’t interrupt banking operations, the flooring is tile and there are a number of hard surfaces that cause interfering reflections. Renkus-Heinz’s beam steering technology addresses these problems in one package.”
Vichai Trading integrated Renkus-Heinz ICL-F-RN arrays from the IC Live family of digital beam steering solutions on both sides of the super-wide display. Two CF18S-5 self-powered subwoofers complement the arrays. The IC Live family is designed primarily for applications that require higher output albeit with the same accurate control and functionality as the popular Iconyx Gen5 range. The fixed installation ICL-F-RN is considered the line’s intrinsic core product. Individual driver control means unsurpassed vertical pattern control, which is essential for delivering intelligible speech in reverberant spaces.
By utilising this level of control with Renkus-Heinz’s RHAON software (which allows for precision programming on site) the Vichai Trading team was able to ensure audio stayed solely on the audience in the Showcase Stadium.
The benefits to the bank were twofold. First, by positioning audio appropriately, sound was not being directed out into the reception area where it would disturb regular banking operations. Second, by ensuring sound was not hitting reflective surfaces within the space, the audio quality and clarity was improved for listeners on-site. Further, reducing reflected sound in the room means the talent’s microphones don’t pick up additional sound, keeping the broadcast audio crisp also.
“The IC Live provides exactly what Renkus-Heinz promises: the sound solution to make the space sonically amazing without any acoustic treatment,” said Phuriphat Sutthivanichkul, project sales engineer at Vichai Trading. “This is the biggest advantage you get in trusting Renkus-Heinz. It’s also worth mentioning that the loudspeakers have a very good appearance. They come in a compact footprint, which looks great, and still offers high output sound that can be used in live performances, music, and for speeches.”
Renkus-Heinz offers the IC Live in black and white as standard colors – but also provides custom colours for loudspeakers as requested. This ensures the diminutive speaker arrays blend in with any space.
“The bank is extremely happy because of the rich sound they have in the space,” Jailuck said. “It’s another excellent installation we’ve completed thanks to our partnership with Renkus-Heinz.”
31st August 2021
Medieval Church Instals Yamaha Slim Line Array Speakers
Sweden – Improving the sound for the congregation in an ancient church can be a difficult task. But Yamaha’s VXL series slim line array speakers make it much easier, as demonstrated in the medieval church at Säve, near Gothenburg.
“The church’s audio system was at least 20 years old. It was outdated, with a non-standard mixer and speakers/amplifier designed for home use. So it could not possibly deliver sound of acceptable quality,” says Sten E. Ranwald of Gothenburg-based Ljud & Säkerhet.
Sten was asked to improve the 13th century church’s sound but, because of its historic structure and decor, it needed to be done very sensitively. “We could not interfere with the structure of the church or place any equipment that would have a visual impact,” he says.
“After the old system was removed and while the church’s electrical system was being upgraded, the staff were able to rent a Yamaha STAGEPAS 1K all-in-one, portable PA. This system alone almost filled the church with clear, seamless sound and it helped a lot in their choice of manufacturer for a new, permanent solution.”
The Yamaha system which Sten specified and installed comprises two VXL1W-24 slim line array speakers and a DXS12mkII 12” powered subwoofer for the main congregation sound, plus a UniVox induction loop amplifier for the hearing impaired. Two Yamaha VXL1W-8 slim line array speakers were installed as monitors for the clergy and church musicians, with an MSP5 powered studio monitor to relay the sound of the church bell to the clergy and congregation.
The main inputs comprise three wireless microphones and the inputs from a Tio1608-D I/O rack (with a nine channel passive stagebox as slave), plus a wired microphone in the bell tower, all mixed on a TF-1 digital mixing console. PX3 and PX5 power amplifiers were installed to power the system, with remote control by Yamaha’s TF StageMix and MonitorMix apps.
“The local authorities said they were sick and tired of other line arrays which are tilted out from the walls at up to 10 degrees. Describing them as ‘ugly’, they were very happy when I showed them that the VXL series is not only visually very discreet, but can be installed vertically,” says Sten.
“For us, the only challenge was whether two VXL1W-24s would be capable of delivering even sound at sufficient SPL, including on the church balcony where the organ is and the choir occasionally stands. But, as always, I certified the sound according to the Speech Transmission Index (STI) intelligibility protocol, using the NTI Audio XL2 measuring instrument, and it passed easily.
“After a number of services with the new system, the church staff all said they are very pleased with its sound, functionality and TF-1’s ease of use. The congregation has also commented on the very natural sound quality and much-improved intelligibility.”
31st August 2021
Allen & Heath Dlive And SQ Perform in Perfect Harmony at Guildford Baptist Church
UK – Situated 30 miles south-west of London, Guildford Baptist Church recently concluded an extensive £7 million refurbishment programme that included an overhaul of the audio system in the building’s 600-seater auditorium.
Supplied and installed by church sound and AV specialists DM Music, the new system includes an Allen & Heath dLive S7000 Surface and DM32 MixRack, complemented by a compact SQ-5 digital mixer and a pair of DT168 Dante-equipped audio expanders.
Serving multiple rooms and employed for its flexible deployment options, the dLive and SQ-5 combination is used for both the church’s own services and for community events and concerts. “When it came to providing a new system, we needed something that was rider-friendly for visiting engineers to use, so the dLive and SQ-5 were ideal,” explains Graham Bennewith of DM music. “When the church hosts large-scale concerts, the dLive is used at FOH with the SQ-5 for monitor duties and for various other uses. The ability to network everything via Dante adds very valuable flexibility, and the network capabilities allow for a very joined-up and versatile system which enables the dLive and SQ-5 to be used in multiple locations around the building very easily.”
All dLive and SQ mixers include advanced AMM (Automatic Microphone Mixing) capabilities, with the option for multiple zones to be mixed simultaneously, a feature that DM Music leveraged to assist less experienced operators. “The church was in need of a versatile audio solution that could be used in a variety of situations and by people of very different levels of experience from professional sound engineers to church volunteers,” adds Bennewith. “Although the Allen & Heath systems are extremely powerful, we can set them up for simple operation to take care of a handful of radio mics with an automix if necessary.”
With SQ and dLive both being built on Allen & Heath’s XCVI Core – a powerful 96kHz FPGA engine with ultra-low 0.7ms latency – there have been additional benefits for users at the venue. “The fact that the SQ-5 architecture makes it feel very similar to the dLive also makes it a great training platform for inexperienced users that need eventually to get hands-on with the bigger system” concludes Bennewith. “It’s been a great solution for the church’s needs.”
27th August 2021
São Paulo's Everest Studio Takes the High Road with Solid State Logic ORIGIN Console and UF8 Controller
Brazil – Studio owner, engineer and musician Thales Tonin has remodelled and relaunched his Everest Studio as a commercial operation, featuring a Solid State Logic ORIGIN analogue mixing console with an integrated SSL UF8 Advanced DAW Controller. Tonin purchased the equipment from Solid State Logic’s distributor in Brazil, Music Company. Carlos Duttweller, whose Pro Studios Architecture and Acoustics firm has worked on more than 500 audio and video facilities throughout Brazil and around the world, designed the facility.
Everest Studio is in Alphaville, which is part of the Metropolitan Region of São Paulo, the largest municipality in Brazil. The studio is only a short drive from the city of São Paulo, he says. “When clients come here, they want a different experience. That’s what we’re trying to offer. The main idea was to have 32 channels on the console for live recording. I also have a nice collection of external preamps and other equipment that I can expand to, so I can record and mix 64 channels.”
It was ORIGIN’s 32-channel layout that attracted him to the console, Tonin says, as well as SSL’s reputation. “We do a lot of live recordings here, not just overdubs. We have a big, really nicely treated live room so we get the best isolated but live feel. We can put the drummer in a booth and record the grand piano and do a live take of the vocalist. And everybody can see each other, it is the best of both worlds.”
For a studio focusing on the live recording experience, ORIGIN is a real time-saver, according to Tonin, and has significantly changed his workflow. “One thing that we always fight is time. Budgets are getting smaller, so people want to squeeze a lot into a single day. We need to be quick with our decisions. We can’t waste time testing things, so having 32 preamps and EQs is awesome. You can set up a session really, really quickly without having to think about patching. Of course, you can explore a little, maybe for the vocal. But to begin the session you need to get things going quickly.”
ORIGIN also fits his style of mixing, he says. “I mix hybrid, so it’s the perfect console for me. I start the mix process in Pro Tools and then put everything on the console. When you mix, especially on transient-heavy stuff like snare drum, you can really drive it harder than on a DAW mix. The SSL EQs are fantastic; I love them. And having those subgroup faders in the centre section where I can do parallels, or use them as master faders for whatever I want, is fantastic.”
As for controlling his DAW, he says: “All my Pro Tools needs are met with the UF8. It’s a fantastic piece of gear and incorporates really well into the console design. I’m using it especially for automation. I love the faders for automation; they feel great.”
Tonin had previously used the location as a personal studio, he says, producing his own projects using a collection of outboard microphone preamps, compressors and other equipment. Then, two years ago, he began a remodel with the aim of launching Everest as a commercial recording studio, also enlisting his friend, five-time Latin Grammy Award nominee Thiago Baggio, as his main engineer. “He’s known for working with what is called MPB [Música Popular Brasileira or Brazilian Pop Music] and jazz. So he’s bringing a lot of those projects here to the studio.”
Having previously relied on a few channels of SSL’s VHD (Variable Harmonic Drive) outboard mic preamps while operating the facility as his personal studio, the immediate availability of 32 SSL PureDrive mic preamps and E-Series 242 type EQs across the ORIGIN console has been a leap forward for Tonin. “Plus it sounds great. I really enjoy recording rock, all different styles of rock, and for me the SSL console is fantastic for that sound.” The PureDrive mic pre, with its selectable characteristics, is particularly suited to the music that he likes to record, he says. “Selecting ‘Drive’ gives almost a compression feel to the sound. It’s really nice.”
Tonin notes that he can also introduce alternative analogue character and colour through ORIGIN’s routing capabilities. “We make good use of the outboard gear using the inserts on the small faders or the large faders. We can record a live session and use all these tools that makes everything sound even better. All of our tracking and mixing takes the best of those analogue devices to get the best sound possible. No plug-ins can match that.”
Everest’s main tracking room is an unusual layout, comprising two offset but linked rectangular spaces. “The drum room is connected to the piano room. It’s an open-space concept. We decided to do that because mostly the centre of a live room stays empty. People like to put their amplifiers and instruments against the walls. So it’s better to have this style of room, with different spaces integrated together.”
Rather than linking the control room and the live space using a single connector panel, he says, “We have connections throughout the room. We don’t have a master path; we put buckets of eight connectors in the different spaces, so you don’t have to run long cables. You can just plug in near you. We really thought about the design a lot, it is great specially for video recording, keeps everything really organised.”
As with elsewhere around the world, opportunities to work with clients have been dependent on the ebb and flow of the coronavirus, Tonin reports. However, one major project that has come out of the remodelled facility was by Projeto Sola, a Christian rock band. “I recorded the whole album and we just released an EP,” says Tonin.