Universal Concept Inc, the company behind ProSoundWeb.com and related websites Live-Audio.com and ProLightingWeb.com, 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."
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.
Fuzion has welcomed a new pair of hands to the sales team in the shape of Graham Pope, formerly of Panasonic and HHB. Pope, whose main responsibility will be for accounts in the south of England, joins Mick Butler who looks after Scotland and the north, and sales director Paul Ward who oversees the sales operation as a whole. He will now concentrate on marketing and issues such as customer training and product awareness, running seminars and training days for clients. The company plans to introduce a number of new brands to the market this year.
The Weakest Link, BBC Television’s most talked-about quiz show, is the latest assignment for the TardiS - Total Audio Solutions’ radical new digital audio mobile. The task of providing technical facilities for the popular series, which is recorded at Magic Eye Studios near Wimbledon, was given to Picture Canning, who turned to Total Audio for the audio provision. At the heart of the TardiS mobile is a Sony DMX-R100 digital mixing console - the first in the UK to be installed in a mobile facility. This is equipped with a combination of local and remote mic preamps to offer a total of 48 microphone lines, enabling it to cover every eventuality. The TArdiS is also equipped with a 32 track 24-bit/48kHz Tascam DA78HR recoder, as well as a pair of Sony 4-head PCM-700 DAT machines. Monitoring is by PMC, while effects are courtesy of a Sony DRE-S777 sampling reverb processor and DPS-V77 effects unit. CDP-D11 and MDS-E11 CD and MiniDisc units are also incorporated, each requiring just 1U of rack space. The Weakest Link is equipped entirely with Sony WRT-860 and WRR-850 radio microphone transmitters and receivers, a system that Picture Canning uses widely for wet and dry hire. Our picture shows Conrad Fletcher at the controls of the DMX-R100.
Christmas week was Cereco International’s busiest week since the launch in September of its web-based lighting and audio equipment auction. Cereco’s John Lethbridge reports that in the period between 27 December and New Year’s Eve, over £7,000 worth of product was snapped up by several individual first-time buyers. There was a last-minute battle between five bidders for 42 ETC Source 4 Pars that started at £50.00 each and closed at £65.00 each. John Lethbridge puts this success down to the fact that people had plenty of time to be on-line over the holiday period. Also, most of the bidders are now subscribing to Cereco's free weekly e-mail newsletter that keeps them informed of the latest deals and action on the website. The site specialises in new and ex-demo equipment supplied by leading manufacturers and distributors, rather than ex-rental equipment, although some of the equipment sold over the Christmas period had come out of Expo 2000 in Hannover. A new auction starts every Thursday evening and initially runs for 10 days, after which time, unsold items are re-submitted. Viewers can also make off-line offers where there are no bids in place.
Sony Broadcast & Professional Europe has reported shipment of over 300 units of its new DMX-R100 digital mixing console in the first six months of availability. David Bush, general manager for professional audio, said: "Sony BPE had felt for a long time that there was a huge gap in the market between a number of small, low-cost digital mixers and high-cost larger alternatives." Andrew Hingley, senior product manager for the DMX-R100, added: "The console has found a home in a wide range of applications, from project studio to broadcast to theatre and front-of-house." A major new software upgrade to the DMX-R100 is expected to be announced shortly.
The recent Illuminated Video Workshop, fronted by Screenco and designed to show the versatility of LED screen configurations, paid immediate dividends when the senior producer of BBC Television’s Sports Personality of the Year decided to transport the concept to BBC Television Centre.
On December 10, a TV audience of around 10 million - as well as an invited studio audience of 560 sports personalities - assembled in TC1 studio in Wood Lane to see 60 of Screenco’s 15mm modules, with help from Vertigo and Stage One, perform some gymnastics of their own. Assembled in a block, the matrix formed the entire scenic video backdrop for the production - but the show’s senior producer Paul Davies saw possibilities way beyond that.
He decided that the matrix could also be configured as a walk-on entrance for the personalities. "We wanted to integrate an over-the-top screen into the show, but hadn’t realised it could move around so much until we saw the Screenco/Stage One demonstration at Three Mills Island. "Suddenly, we could see how we could use this with star walk-ons - allowing us to support these by great images of yesteryear - because we could move the screens around." Taking feeds from conventional VT and live camera relay, there were six preset positions.
Working with set designer Christopher George and LD Mike Lefevre, Screenco’s main concern was providing a skin to diffuse the LEDs and reduce the luminance. "It’s the kind of problem you expect when you merge the technologies," said Screenco’s Mike Walker
The Institute of Acoustics (IoA) held its 16th conference on Reproduced Sound in November - and much of the varied content was relevant to the theatre and live music industries.
Multi-channel sound reinforcement was a topic that generated a large amount of interest, with presentations from David Malham (University of York), Fred Ample (Technology Visions), Robin Whittaker (Out Board Electronics) and Steve Ellison (Level Control Systems). It was clear that the demand for higher-quality audio environments is growing rapidly.
Robin Whittaker explained the theory of source-oriented reinforcement and illustrated its applications from the wealth of theatre, industrial and music productions that Out Board has undertaken. Whittaker concluded by stating that the concept of source-oriented reinforcement has several key benefits; namely, the minimisation of room effects, even distribution of SPL and tonality and improving the direct-to-reverberant energy ratios to improve intelligibility.
Steve Ellison explained LCS’ drive towards improved multi-channel control of live audio. The Matrix3 system, with its CueConsole and Ethertracks add-ons, represents Ellison’s vision of the future of multi-channel systems; completely integrated playback, routing, processing, mixing and distribution. A further presentation from Ellison and Markl Poletti of Industrial Research in New Zealand, on the LCS Virtual Room Acoustic System, showed how such an integrated system could be expanded still further.
Two further developments were worthy of note: Duran Audio in the Netherlands has ta
Further to our news piece last month on the West End musical Napoleon, we can tell you a little bit more about the soundtrack and effects elements of the production. Sound designers Martin Levan and Henrick Marsen, masterminded these aspects, and for full control and realistic localisation of all sound effects, specified Out Board’s TiMax level and delay matrix, supplied by Autograph. All the sound effects within the production are distributed via the TiMax system, which is triggered by MIDI cues and the Cadac show control system. As well as the sound effects themselves, Levan and Marsen utilised TiMax to add artificial reverb enhancement to the auditorium as the natural sound environment was very dead. Two of the TiMax inputs were fed from an ambient mic cluster through to all the loudspeaker panels, just to create a more lively atmosphere!
Turbosound reports that Spanish production company Fluge, headed by Luis Berlanga, has increased its hire inventory of Turbosound Flashlight by 24 TFL-780 low-frequency cabinets and 24 Flashlight TFS-780 mid/highs. The company now boasts 72 complete stacks of the Flashlight fully-integrated long-throw sound reinforcement system and 48 stacks of Floodlight, comprised of the TFL-760H mid/high enclosures and the TSW-721 sub-bass unit. The new hire stock will be used for various tours and events around Spain, but made its debut at the 30,000-capacity Benicasim Festival, providing PA for artists such as Richard Ashcroft, Primal Scream and Oasis.
ARX Systems (Hall 4.1, Stand A70) will be launching a wide range of new products at the 2001 Frankfurt MusikMesse (7-11 March). These include several additions to the company’s powered loudspeaker range including the SPL20 powered sub-woofer, the Level 8 line interface, 8 Pre eight-channel microphone preamp and the ZA5.1 six-channel surround amplifier. The newly-revised and updated ARX V4.1 product CD-ROM detailing all matters ARX will also be available at the Booth, as well as the usual Australian hospitality.
PLASA Publishing has learned of the death from cancer of Playlight founder, Mike McMullan, who died peacefully at home on Tuesday 3rd January, surrounded by his family. A statement from the directors and staff of the Playlight Group said: "Mike was one of life's great characters, and will be greatly missed by all who knew him."
The funeral will take place next Wednesday 10 January at 1.00pm at the Altrincham Crematorium, Whitehouse Lane, Dunham Massey, Altrincham, Cheshire. The family has requested that instead of flowers being sent, donations be made to the following charities: St Ann's Hospice, St Ann's Road North, Heald Green, Cheshire; the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, 11 London Road, Bromley, Kent; or the Lymphoma Association, PO Box 386 Aylesbury.
Nexo has won the sound installation contract for Finland’s ‘coolest’ new venue, Hullu Poro, (The Crazy Reindeer). Possibly the most northerly entertainment venue in Europe, Hullu Poro is a large multipurpose centre being built in the busy skiing resort of Levi. When it opens next spring, the two-level, 1800-cpacity venue will host concerts by all the top Finnish artists and many international names. Nexo’s distributor in Finland, Oy Hedcom, is overseeing the installation of a Nexo Alpha E system, featuring six Alpha E-M, four B1-18s and two S2 sub-bass for the main PA, with six Nexo PS8 compact cabinets for fills around the venue.
Adlib Audio has completed a successful UK Theatre Tour with Joan Armatrading, covering venues ranging from 330-capacity up to the 1800-seat Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, which provided the biggest test for Adlib’s Martin Audio Wavefront System and the rigging capabilities of their crew. With Alan ‘Nobby’ Hopkinson mixing FOH on a Soundcraft Series 4 and the Astoria’s Erik Sanderson-Evans on monitors (doubling as production manager), Armatrading played acoustic guitar exclusively across a wide range of styles. Adlib’s Andy Dockerty said: "Nobby put this tour out to tender, but knew that our equipment was quite new, and given the type of show that it was, that the Wavefronts would be smooth enough to handle the wide range of styles." There were 16 W8Cs at Adlib’s disposal, "but we only ever put three subs each side of the stage," says Dockerty. "We had the option to do a single or a two-bar drop, but tended to use six top boxes downstairs, stacked each side of stage, reinforced with three subs."
Adam Hall has announced the release of the AC series BNC 75 Ohm receptacle connectors, from Amphenol Australia. The design features an Amphenol BNC adapter mounted in the AC series receptacle ensuring a rugged flush-mounted product. Designed for broadcast, video and other applications that require impedance matched performance, the connector is completely isolated from ground. The industry standard D series XLR panel housing provides the installer with the convenience of having standard metalwork cut-outs for both XLR and BNC installations. Available in standard Nickel finish or optional black.
Sennheiser Electronic Corporation and Future Sonics Inc have entered into agreement under which Future Sonics has designed and will manufacture a professional, universal personal ear-phone to be packaged with the popular Sennheiser evolution wireless 300 IEM system. The formal announcement will take place at NAMM 2001 and product will start shipping next month. Both companies will eventually sell the units as stand alone products.
Production of the Midas XL3 console has finally ceased with serial number 1000, the very last XL3 to be manufactured, rolling off the production line last month. The XL3 has had a long and varied history over its 10 years of production. The first ever XL3 users were rental company Electrotec who took a prototype out on tour with heavy metal rock band Motorhead - before the console was even launched. However, the very first XL3 off the production line went not to Electrotec, but to the famous London venue, The Forum in Kentish Town, where it still serves as the FOH console - and coincidentally will later this month be used for Motorhead. The last console, serial number 1000, along with numbers 999 and 998, has already been shipped, via Midas’ Belgian distributors Ampco Belgium, to a large Belgian full service production company, Philing Live, who also have subsidiaries in France.
Mackie Designs has launched the V3.0 operating system for the Mackie D8B console, and it is now available for download at the company’s website. V.3.0 features third party plug-in support, and many new surround sound mixing features, innovative networking capabilities, and many new user-requested features.
Palazzo Grassi is among the most imposing buildings on Venice’s Grand Canal. It was built in the 1700s for a rich merchant family before being purchased by Fiat in 1984, who restored it to its original splendour and equipped it with all the facilities necessary for a large modern exhibition centre.
Currently running until July 1 is a new exhibition covering ‘The Etruscans’. Occupying 36 exhibition rooms with 700-plus exhibits, the exhibition uses cutting-edge multimedia technology to ensure visitors high-impact immersion in the history of this mysterious race of people. The company responsible for these aspects of the exhibition was specialist Turin firm Medialogos/WDM, whose expertise in this area has been gained on other high profile events, including ‘The Future of the Longobards’, the Italian Design Process show in Seoul and the ‘Sinestesia’ exhibition on the five senses.
The company’s Ottavio Dichio explains: "The idea was to use innovative technology to complement the information given by the more traditional media - so videos, stereoscopic computer graphic reconstructions and 3D Dolby Digital sound environments help tell the exhibition’s story." 3D videos, designed for projection on ‘fragment’ screens, are used to emphasize aspects of the Etruscan civilisation.
"In rooms with just projections," continues Ottavio "we used DVDs with films in MPEG2. The D-1999E players by Olidata can play DVD, video and audio CDs and CDs with MP3 files and have a built-in AC-3 decoder for Do
Explorer of the Seas, the latest addition to Royal Caribbean International’s Voyager class cruise ships, showed the world her colours on her first cruise out of Miami on October 28th, 2000.
The Explorer, the second in the Voyager class which debuted with Voyager of the Seas in 1999, could actually be considered a destination in itself, boasting a wealth of facilities, activities and entertainment. Perhaps one of its most arresting features is a 60ft by 40ft ice skating rink (the only one at sea) which can be converted to a 900-seat concert venue or TV Studio.
At the heart of the vessel is the Royal Promenade - longer than a football field and wider than three lanes of traffic anchored by two atria that are marvels of marble, trees, greenery and sculptures. Diversions along the way include the Crown & Kettle - a traditional English Pub, a 24-hour cafe, a sports bar and more shops than you can shake a credit card at. The Palace, the main show lounge, is a four-deck-high, 1,350-seat theatre equipped with all the latest technology. There’s also a jazz bar, a contemporary sports bar, a Vegas-style casino and The Chamber, a nightclub designed to resemble a Gothic castle, with stone columns, arches and a dance floor flanked by chrome suits of armour.
And all this is just but a small part of the on-board facilities, but there isn’t time in this millennium to list the rest. Nor to cover comprehensively the technology arrayed across the ship. There are however some common denominators - on the audio side JBL, Clair Bros, EAW, Bose and Genelec speakers seem to
It would appear that the world of opera is trying to take over the world of the musical: London in early autumn saw two directors best known for their operatic work in action in the West End. Robert Carsen created The Beautiful Game at the Cambridge Theatre, while up the road at the Shaftesbury multiple-Olivier award winning director Francesca Zambello was pulling together Napoleon, an epic new musical charting the love of Napoleon Boneparte for Josephine through troubled times in France.
To help her, Zambello turned to regular collaborators, notably set designer Michael Yeargan and lighting designer Rick Fisher, who won the 1998 lighting Olivier for his work on Zambello’s Lady in the Dark at the National Theatre.To stage the show, which covers a huge range of locations and times, Yeargan designed a spectacular floor capable of rising, falling, twisting and tilting to provide land, sea or mountains as required; this scenery proved to be something of a technical challenge, requiring international co-operation between scenery makers TMS, engineers Devineau, Jetter Automation, Vertigo Rigging and production managers Stewart Crosbie and Mark Whitemore - along with one programme credit you don’t see on many shows: automation interpreter, this the experienced figure of Miki Jablkowska. Yeargan also made the bold decision to extend the French flag painted on the show’s frontcloth out onto the proscenium itself, to dramatic effect.
Though the set was capable of many dynamic shape changes, much of the work of defining space and time actually fell to lighting an
Daniel Carver of university specialist consultants, Section 77, has opted for the new Cerwin-Vega SUB218/T250 Intense stacks for Nottingham Trent University, following a demo of this and other leading brands by John Southee of JPS.
Thus an order for eight stacks was placed with Cerwin-Vega’s exclusive UK distributor, Lamba plc. The SUB218 is a direct-radiating twin 18" sub, featuring high-power output down to 32Hz - a combination of deep bass and high power handling. Thanks to its stainless steel bar handle and and wheels it’s also portable - which is precisely what the University wanted, since the 1,500-capacity auditorium functions as a canteen by day, and the evening conversion includes the eight stacks of T250/SUB218 being wheeled into position - four stacks either side of the stage.
The Intense! T250 mid/high box is divided into two sections which can be operated in bi-amp or passive full-range mode. The mid-bass comprises a 10" horn-loaded driver, the mid/high a large format 2" exit compression driver and the SS1 1" throat HF driver, featuring hybrid diaphragm technology, handling the top end. Personally recommended for the installation work, John Southee supplied sound - with a 16K output capability - lighting, stage and the triangular Trilite grid for the lighting suspension in a contract that was briefed, designed, commissioned and installed within a three-week period - despite the fuel crisis. To optimise the different EQ parameters and system management JPS picked the BSS FDS-366 Omnidrive Compact.
The final word comes from J
Tom Scharff has been appointed the new general manager for the United States Institute for Theatre Technology. Scharff joins USITT from Cornell University where he was general manager of the Cornell Center for Theatre Arts. His career as a theatre administrator includes work as managing director of the new Repertory Theatre in Boston and business manager for Theatre and Dance at the University of New Hampshire.
Henry Butcher International has been appointed to dispose of the contents, owned by NMEC, that went into creating The Millennium Dome, following the planned closure of the Dome on December 31st. The Dome houses an enormous range of assets, including lighting, audio-visual, broadcast & sound equipment, restaurant and catering equipment, stage equipment, office furniture and equipment, golf buggies, battery-powered scooters and vehicles. Even the equipment from the world famous Millennium Show, which currently employs 350 people, will be for sale, including stage and acrobatic props, costumes and circus rigging. Henry Butcher will be disposing of all assets owned by NMEC over the next three months by Private Treaty and Public Auction. The Private Treaty sale process is already underway and includes many of the themed Zones, audio-visual and broadcast equipment from some of the most sophisticated systems installed in Europe and sound and lighting equipment from one of the largest and most complex installations in the world.
The public auction is open to everyone and will take place over four days - 27-28 February and 1-2 March 2001 - and any enquiries regarding the auction will be dealt with after the Dome closes at the end of December. Viewing of the assets will be a few days prior to the auction sale.