Audio News

Mackie Designs Purchases Sydec
Wednesday, 24 January 2001

In a move to expand its global digital audio recording presence, Mackie Designs has signed an agreement to purchase Sydec n.v. of Belgium, a leading innovator of digital audio technology products. Sydec created the first PC-compatible multi-track digital audio workstation: released in 1993, it is considered by many professionals to be the most stable workstation in the audio industry. Sydec products have won numerous international awards including the EQ Blue Ribbon awarded by the AES (Audio Engineering Society). With the purchase of Sydec, Mackie Designs Inc., will own the digital audio workstation technology and other intellectual property created by Sydec, and currently being marketed by Soundscape Digital Technologies Ltd. Mackie Designs has been actively developing technologies in the digital audio environment, winning the 1999 AES TEC Award for Best Medium-Sized Console (Digital 8*Bus). Additionally, Mackie recently released the HDR24/96, a 24-bit hard disk recorder/editor.

"We are excited to be able to take advantage of Mackie's global marketing and manufacturing machine," commented Erik Wijnen, managing director of Sydec. "Our cutting-edge technologies will find a home in many more audio products, worldwide. We'll be able to further develop audio technologies in tandem with Mackie Digital Systems."

Jamie Engen, president and CEO of Mackie Designs Inc, comments. "On so many levels, this is a smart alliance. We're expanding our global presence, intensifying and solidifying our digital research and development, and opening up the floodgate

Clearer Call for Royal National Theatre
Tuesday, 23 January 2001

London-based pro-audio distributor Autograph Sales, has announced the supply of a Clear-Com Matrix Plus 3 digital point-to-point intercom system to the Royal National Theatre. The fully-progammable intercom system will be installed in the 890-seater Lyttelton Theatre in April 2001. At the heart of the communications system will be a Clear-Com Compact 72 mainframe, expandable up to 72-ports. Various system interfaces will allow the RNT to incorporate its existing complement of Clear-Com Party-Line equipment - including over 30 beltpacks and four master stations. As part of the Matrix Plus system, Autograph Sales has also supplied more than 14 Clear-Com ICS-92 9-key switch stations, all featuring electronic labelling of the destination keys.

Dobson Sound Continues Expansion
Monday, 22 January 2001

Following the recent appointment of Nick Hughes as technical manager, Dobson Sound has appointed Tone Ferne, who has been brought in to join Bill Woods and David Lewis in managing and co-ordinating projects. The appointment as a permanent member of staff is a natural progression, say the company, as Ferne was already doing a great deal of work for the company on a freelance basis. Bill Woods commented: "Tone’s background as a sound engineer of considerable experience gives him an extremely strong edge in all the work that we do that has a music element to it. We tend to be involved more in the entertainment side of the corporate world anyway, so Tone’s skills and experience suit us perfectly."

Mackie Joins Forces With Emagic
Monday, 22 January 2001

At the recent NAMM Show in Los Angeles, Mackie Designs announced that it has joined forces with Emagic, one of the world's premier audio software and hardware innovators, in order to develop a range of state-of-the-art hardware controllers. The two companies have agreed on an inaugural project - the creation of ‘Logic Control’ - a control surface for Emagic's Logic Audio software. In order to offer cost-effective software and hardware upgrades, Logic Control will be designed, configured and developed as a modular system. The first product in the new "Logic Control" series of hardware will be a competitively-priced entry-level version featuring eight motorized touch-sensitive faders, one touch-sensitive master fader, eight mutes, eight solos, eight rotary encoders, tape style transport, 2 XDR mic pre-amps, a data wheel, and an alps control pad.

Jamie Engen, CEO of Mackie, commented: "Our goal is to build a very powerful, yet affordable, hardware controller for one of the most widely-used audio production applications available today. By combining forces, Emagic and Mackie will be able to ensure that Logic Control will have absolute compatibility."

Brit Row Run with new Turbo TQs
Monday, 22 January 2001

Britannia Row Productions has expanded its hire inventory to include 12 of the new TQ-440SP loudspeakers from Turbosound's Qlight range. Audio designer Derrick Zieba was the first to use them on two major televised events: Jim Davidson's Christmas Special - Coming Home for Christmas - filmed onboard HMS Invincible, followed by Miss World. Zieba explained: "The new self-powered TQ-440SP bears a strong resemblance in terms of voicing to larger Turbosound enclosures I've used before." To keep an even sound pattern, Zieba, with the help of Brit Row's Nick Maddren, designed a system comprised of single stacks of Turbosound Floodlight, delayed down the elongated space. Four stacks per side, with four pairs of suspended TQ-440SPs, created the arch necessary to give good coverage.

As Brit Row's head of audio for the Miss World event, one of the last held at the Dome in London, Zieba brought in the TQ-440SPs again for the vocal aspects of the sound reinforcement. The FOH system comprised a Turbosound Flashlight system flown stereo together with 10 TQ-440SPs flown above the stage.

Bose Recreates Natural Sound
Monday, 22 January 2001

The £97m At-Bristol project has incorporated a Bose sound system into one of its main attractions to recreate the amazing sounds that the natural world has to offer. The Bristol-based attraction is unique in that it brings together science, nature and the arts to present a fantastic 21st century experience. There are three main areas - Wildscreen at-Bristol, Explore at-Bristol and the Imax Theatre at-Bristol. A multi-channelled Bose sound system in the Wildscreen area delivers exceptional natural sound clarity through nine high mounted Bose Panaray 502BE environmental bass loudspeakers and 70 Bose 151 environmental loudspeakers, tucked discreetly away amongst the ferns. In the main display areas, interactive touch screen displays are all individually supported by their own unique sounds from Bose speakers.

Midas Works for a Nobel Cause
Friday, 19 January 2001

The Nobel Peace Prize concert took place on 11th December at the Oslo Spektrum in Norway. The concert, which was broadcast to a worldwide audience of over 320 million viewers. This year the honour was bestowed upon South Korean president Kim Dae Jung. The concert attempts to feature the very best artists from all areas of the musical spectrum, and this year presented artists such as Moby, Bon Jovi, Westlife and Natalie Cole. Continuing the successes of previous years, prominent Norwegian rental company AVAB-CAC, who also distribute Midas in Norway, was again chosen to provide the sound system for the event. Stuart Mørch-Kerrison of AVAB-CAC who was both sound designer and FOH engineer, specified Midas mixing consoles for both FOH and monitor positions. "The FOH set-up featured a Heritage 3000 console and a Heritage 2000 console MIDI-linked together in order to allow both mixers to change cue settings simultaneously," he explained. "Both desks were run in "virtual fader" mode, meaning that all fader levels, VCA settings, subgroup routing and relevant muting could be stored after each bands soundcheck, and instantly recalled during the show. The main monitor console was a Midas XL-250 which has become a real favourite with the monitor engineers at AVAB-CAC."

DPA Mics for Wilson & Waits Collaboration
Friday, 19 January 2001

A small Copenhagen playhouse is staging one of Europe's theatrical events of the year: the reunion of composer Tom Waits and director Robert Wilson on a production of George Buchner's 'Woyzeck'. This is Wilson and Waits’ third collaboration, succeeding 'The Black Rider' and 'Alice'. The production, with music by Tom Waits and lyrics by his wife Kathleen Brennan, is the first to feature an all-Danish cast of actors and musicians. Sound designer Nicolaj Aarup has miked his 10-strong cast with DPA 4065 headset microphones, teamed with Samson UT6 wireless systems. "I've worked with a lot of headset mics, but I've never had such an excellent performance," says Aarup. "The 4065 gives me so much headroom, it doesn't matter if the actors are whispering or shouting, I can get the true voices coming out of my system. It's like listening to them in the dressing room, only louder. "Tom Waits thoroughly approved of the vocal sound, although sometimes we had to add a little effect to 'squeeze' the sound because it was almost too good. His score sets out to paint a very rough and harsh picture, and it would be inappropriate to make it sound too clear and smooth." The Betty Nansen production of 'Woyzeck' has attracted attention from theatre impresarios all over Europe, and it is hoped that the show will play internationally in 2001.

Fostex Launches VFO8 Digital Eight-TrackFostex Launches VFO8 Digital Eight-Track
Thursday, 18 January 2001

Fostex has introduced the VFO8 digital eight-track recorder/mixer - offering a truly digital multi-tracker at a highly-competitive price, say the company. Although an eight-track system, it is technically a 24-track because it has the advantage of 16 additional "ghost" tracks for multiple takes or for holding alternative versions solos, etc. A large 5.1GB hard drive is fitted as standard giving more than two hours of non-compressed eight-track recording. An optional SCSI interface provides fast backup, and WAV file import and export to external SCSI media provides unlimited storage. Familiar, easy, non-destructive audio editing is offered via Copy/Move-Paste/Erase commands. An innovative mastering mode gives ten independent pre-set digital ASP effects on tracks seven and eight. A choice of Flat, Wet Mix, Light Mix, LiveMix, Pop Mix, Dance, Hard, 70s, Hall and Lo-Fi mode are available.

New Denon CDR/RW Units From HaydenNew Denon CDR/RW Units From Hayden
Thursday, 18 January 2001

Hayden Laboratories Ltd, UK distributor for Denon, has launched the Denon CDR-1000 and the CDR-W1500 (pictured), two professional machines designed to take advantage of the burgeoning CD recording market - in clubs, DJ environments, studios, live and multi-purpose venues of all types. Unique features include 19" rack-mounting option - available in kit form; digital level control - for enhancing and ‘brightening’ analogue recordings in a digital domain, and CDR playback on both decks of CDR-W1500. The machines are fully-featured and quality engineered, offering all the robustness and reliability expected from the Denon brand.

ATW1400 - No Frills = No Spills
Wednesday, 17 January 2001

Audio Technica has released the new ATW1400 series of UHF radio systems. Offering three fixed channels on licence-free frequencies, and additional regulated frequencies, the ATW1400s have been built with sound contractors in mind. The ATW1451beltpack system can be used in conjunction with a wide range of microphone options from A-T's Wireless Essentials range, including lavaliere, headset, boundary and gooseneck microphones options. The ATW1452 handheld system uses a internal shock-mount for reduced handling noise, and a high-energy vocal capsule for improved output. Both systems feature the ½ rack width, 1u high ATWR14 true diversity receiver, and employ Audio-Technica's Invisible Link technology.

ESTA Website Difficulties
Tuesday, 16 January 2001

The ESTA website has been having some difficulties since Monday, January 8th. Wybron, which hosts the ESTA website and all its e-mail aliases, was forced off-line when its service provider went bankrupt and terminated all service without notice. Wybron has been able to create a temporary dial-up connection for the ESTA server, which should allow email through, although access to the website will be very slow. ESTA wishes to apologise for any inconvenience caused. Until the problem is resolved, all ESTA web services will have limited accessibility. Therefore, please use the following alternate email addresses to contact the ESTA staff, in order to ease strain on the temporary connection:

New Neutrik Analyzer Available from CLD
Tuesday, 16 January 2001

CLD Distribution reports that it now carries stocks of the new Neutrik audio analyzer, the ML1, first seen at PLASA 2000. This compact and comprehensive audio test device has created world-wide interest since its introduction, which has led to a delay in meeting demand, but production has been increased and the product is now available in the UK.

KT Announces New Director of Signal Processing
Monday, 15 January 2001

Klark Teknik has recently appointed Simon Harrison as director of signal processing. Simon comes from a strong background of research and development, having been a key member of the design team responsible for the Sony OXF-R3 ‘Oxford’ digital recording console andgenerally involved in the development of digital audio for Sony Broadcast and Professional since the console project began as Oxford Digital Ltd in 1989. He joins the Klark Teknik Group to assume responsibility for research and development of the KT brand.

Harman Appoints Terry Worldwide President
Monday, 15 January 2001

Harman International has announced the appointment of Mark Terry to the position of president of the Harman Pro Group Worldwide. Previously serving as president of Harman Pro Group North America, responsible for the US distribution of Allen & Heath, Crown, dbx, Digitech, DOD, Johnson and JBL Professional, Terry now also assumes the responsibilities previously held by Philip Hart, who has served as president of Harman Pro Group International. Hart, who retired at the end of last year, will remain with Harman as president of Studer until a suitable replacement has been named. At the same time, AKG Acoustics, under the leadership of Hugo Lenhard-Backhaus, will now report directly to Greg Stapleton, Harman International's president and chief operating officer.

Helmut Brähler Dies
Monday, 15 January 2001

Helmut Brähler, founder of Brähler ICS Konferenztechnik AG in Königswinter, died aged 67 last Monday, following a long and serious illness. Brähler laid the foundations for the company in 1958 in Bonn, when, as a chemistry student, he repaired electronic equipment for the University of Bonn. In 1960 he built the first simultaneous translation facility for the University, and then went on to establish his own company. Since 1972, Brähler has serviced every Olympic Games, numerous World Bank conferences, the Environment Summit in Rio and more than half of all World Economic Summits. It has also equipped more than 90,000 conferences with professional technology. In 1994, Brähler entered a new area of business and developed ‘Digivote’, a voting and consultation system. Helmut officially handed over to his son, Michael, in 1998, but still remained, advising and supporting from the sidelines. The company currently employs over 100 at its Königswinter base and has 14 staff in the UK at its Cambridge and Edinburgh offices. The funeral took place on Saturday 13 January.

RSC Brings Garden Makeover to London
Saturday, 13 January 2001

The RSC’s acclaimed musical production of The Secret Garden opens shortly in London - after a hugely successful season at Stratford-upon-Avon. Lighting designer Chris Parry (better known for his work on Broadway) and sound designers Andrew Bruce and Terry Jardine have helped to bring the timeless tale to life for a 21st century audience.

Parry says: "The design of the show is much more monochromatic, dark and dramatic, and much less colourful and decorative than the original Broadway version, which I think is great for the piece. Despite this, it has a huge range of lighting quality, from a soft, dim candle-lit bedroom scene through to a big, bright and energetic dance number with gardeners and house-maids!"

Parry’s design, furnished partly from the RSC’s stock of conventional luminaires, but with a large hire inventory supplied by White Light, included eight Strand PAL Pirouettes and 14 MAC 500 moving lights. Parry says the Strand units are very bright and flexible - although his favourite tool for this production was the DHA Digital Light Curtain, eight of which feature in the design. Colour scrollers were also much in evidence, with 94 spread between the Source Fours, Pars, fresnels and Pirouettes. Control came from a pair of Strand 520 desks, and Parry was assisted by the RSC’s Paul van der Hayden and ably supported by chief electrician Vince Herbert.

For Andrew Bruce, the burden was eased by splitting the workload between himself and Autograph co-director Terry Jardine. Bruce handled the sound effects, handing over the band and v

Stagetec Get NICEIC Accreditation
Friday, 12 January 2001

Stagetec (UK) Ltd has just been appointed an approved by contractor by the NICEIC which maintains a Roll of Approved Contractors that meet the Council’s Rules Relating to Enrolment and national technical safety standards including BS 7671 (IEE Wiring Regulations). This is designed to protect consumers against the hazards of unsafe and unsound electrical installations.

Brit Row Take MTV Awards with Turbosound
Friday, 12 January 2001

Stockholm's Globe Arena played host to November's MTV Europe Music Awards, which aired live to over two billion viewers worldwide. To repeat the audio success achieved in the previous four years, Britannia Row Productions were once again approached to supply the sound reinforcement. Brit Row's Bob Lopez specified a complete Turbosound Flashlight rig, the characteristics of which perfectly complemented the complex environment.

The FOH system comprised 24 TFS-780H, flown eight wide and four deep as a stereo left and right configuration with TFL-760HMs and TFL-760 LMs as downfills. 24 TFS-780L low frequency cabinets provided the low end - due to the space restrictions of the televisation, the cabinets were arrayed within the flown system rather than being groundstacked. The delay system comprised a four wide hang left and right of eight TFS-780H, with four groundstacked TFS-780L per side. Infill at the front and below the stage was provided by six of the new Turbosound self-powered TQ-440SP cabinets and ten TFS-780Ls.

Sound Dept in Liquidation
Friday, 12 January 2001

The Sound Dept has gone into voluntary liquidation. Official notice of the move was posted in early January, and a liquidator has now been appointed. The company was known for distributing some of the leading audio brands in the industry - Community, Crest, Ashly and Sound Advance. Until recently, EAW had also been in the Sound Dept portfolio, but the company lost its distributorship when EAW was purchased by Mackie, which switched distribution to RCF UK.Full story in the January issue of L&SI.

SPS Launches E-Commerce Website
Thursday, 11 January 2001

Show Presentation Services (SPS), the audio-visual equipment rental and technical staging specialist, has announced the launch of its new e-commerce website, along with a brand new on-line ‘Budget Estimator’. Robin Coles, SPS managing director, says: "A UK event manager for a multi-national brand with a requirement to take a product road-show to six European cities, should provide the Budget Estimator with details such as audience size, type of event/presentation and location, and they will be provided with immediate on-line staging information specific to their requirements with accompanying pricing."

Dobson Sound at the Great CourtDobson Sound at the Great Court
Thursday, 11 January 2001

Dobson Sound Productions provided the live sound for the opening of the final London Millennium Commission building project - the Queen Elizabeth II Great Court at The British Museum, in December. Dobson Sound had previously looked after the live sound requirements for the opening of other London Millennium Commission projects, such as the Wallace Collection covered courtyard, the Dulwich Picture Galleries, National Portrait Gallery, Tate Modern, the Millennium Bridge, the Royal Opera House, the Science Museum Wellcome Wing and the Natural History Museum’s Earth Galleries, all of which were opened by Her Majesty the Queen.

At the British Museum, Dobson Sound were working for production company Fisher Productions, who took on the production of all the events involved in the six-week build-up to the main opening. As was the case with all the above-mentioned projects, a number of events preceded the Royal opening, as benefactors, staff and sponsors were invited to view the completed building works. Dobson Sound director, David Lewis, co-ordinated seven of the events at The British Museum preceding the main opening: "We were required to distribute speeches and music across the southern half of the Great Court, an area of some 4,800sq.m, to audiences of 1,500 - 2,500. We decided to use 10 d&b C6 speakers to concentrate on the area around the main presentation stage, with 18 d&b E3 speakers surrounding the periphery."

ProSoundWeb Prepares for Celebrity Chat
Wednesday, 10 January 2001

Universal Concept Inc, the company behind and related websites and, which were launched in autumn 1999, is preparing for its first on-line Celebrity Chat session, featuring Craig Janssen, principal consultant of Acoustic Dimensions - a US-based specialist in architectural acoustics, sound and communications systems, video systems, sound isolation, noise and vibration control and performance lighting designs. The on-line session will be held at 9:30pm EDT tonight, Wednesday 10 January (1.30am GMT, Thursday 11January).

Ken Berger, well known from his time with EAW, is one of the people behind Universal Concept. He told PLASA Media: "Live chat sessions featuring industry leaders will be a staple of Pro Sound Web, with a schedule of upcoming sessions to be announced soon." Ken also tells us: "In addition to UCI, I have also bought a few buildings in Whitinsville, MA, and am working to re-develop the downtown area - just to keep things interesting."

New Additions from Stage Accompany
Wednesday, 10 January 2001

Stage Accompany has announced that the first production batch of the ES 40 amplifier has left the its factory. This new flagship model for the Efficiency Series amplifier range, is based on the same high speed/high current class G design for increased efficiency. The ES 40 boasts a power output of 1810W/2850W @ 2 ohm per channel (cont/peak <1% THD). It features individual power supplies per channel for ultimate reliability and a capacitor bank rating of 210 Joules per channel for dynamic power reserve. State-of-the-art features include Dynamic Damping Control (SA’s proprietary circuit that compensates for signal loss in long speaker cables), Extended Function Network (EFN) and Active Clip Eliminator (ACE).

Also new from Stage Accompany is the latest addition to the Entertainer-series, the E 27. Designed as a compact, medium-power, full-range loudspeaker, the E 27 is suitable for sound reinforcement system in theatres, discotheques, clubs, houses of worship, auditoriums, theme parks, etc, without the need for additional bass cabinets. With a frequency range of 55Hz - 30,000 Hz and a continuous power of 400W, the E 27 is capable of producing high-definition, distortion-free sound at both low and high SPLs, up to 127 dB. The main reason for the excellent sound quality, say Stage Accompany, is the Ribbon Compact Driver, SA’s exclusive transducer for mid and high frequencies. Because of the directivity of the driver, no compression horn is needed, which eliminates sound colouring completely.


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