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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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 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, 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.
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 (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.
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.
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.
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 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."
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.