Canary Wharf underground station was transformed for large-scale reception for transport industry professionals on the 23rd of May, with Dobson Sound Productions brought in by Fisher Productions to provide the live sound requirements for the event. Following the International Public Transport Conference (UITP) at Earls Court, some 2000 delegates from around the world were invited to Canary Wharf station to observe a showcase example of an underground station. The station, designed by Fosters & Partners, remained open to the public during the entire day, which meant stringent observation of health & safety requirements during the build of the event so as not to endanger the public at any time.
The system, designed by Dobson director David Lewis, consisted of some 40 speakers arranged across the East Ticket Hall level of the station, and the Mezzanine above. The original concept was for a system of 20 delayed d&b C6 speakers to the Ticket Hall, with d&b 12 E3s used as in-fills, and an additional 8 delayed d&b E9 speakers placed on the Mezzanine Level. The system was operated by Dave Guerin, with Richard ‘Basil’ Ferneley acting as system engineer, although as it turned out, it was not at all the system on the original plans - David Lewis explains further: "Whilst we had a fully designed system that we intended to use for the event, further health and safety implications required a total re-design of the system once we were on site. But I suppose it was all part of the challenge of working in an environment that remained a fully-functional station for the pub
Blick UK Limited and Applications Solutions Limited (ASL) have announced a joint venture to bring an innovative new product to the public address and fire alarm industry. A market leader in security, communications, time management solutions and digital TV distribution, Blick UK together with Application Solutions (ASL), designers of all aspects of public address, audio and voice alarm systems, have launched the world's first public address/voice alarm that features full remote control and diagnostic capabilities. The system, which is fully compliant with BS 5839 Part 8 1988, BS EN54-2 and BS EN60849 1998, has remote diagnostic capabilities supplied by a modem interface, and can identify system faults before they happen by monitoring and recording system events on a regular dial-up basis. The main benefit of remote diagnostics is that fault-finding and configuration can be carried out at a remote location saving the engineer time and money.
The system amplifiers use class D adaptive amplifier technology available in 100W, 200W and 400W units in various configurations in 2U 19" rack mount units. There is a family of routers to cater for differing system complexities. The simplest router mixer unit allows for six audio inputs to be routed to the 4 dual audio outputs for dual circuit systems. Expanded units provide 12x12 or 20x20 capacity, and can control up to 64 amplifiers using the proprietary Audio-CAN data network. The basic routers also include digital storage for 2 x 32 second emergency messages and 2 x 16 second test messages. The 12x12 unit provides four out of
At this year’s PALA Show in Singapore, Wharfedale Professional products will be exhibited on the stand of their distributor in Singapore, City Music. City Music will be showing a combination of already established loudspeakers and electronics, as well as several new products that have been developed since the Pro Light and Sound in Frankfurt earlier this year. Wharfedale Professional has been working for some time on a range of plastic enclosures to complement the already successful wooden enclosure ranges available. The results of this project can be seen at PALA in the form of the new LA Series. The LA Series offers four models at present; a 15" two-way full-range cabinet and a 15" sub as well as a powered version of both. The cabinet itself has flying points as well as an integral pole mount. As well as moving in different directions with the loudspeakers, Wharfedale Professional has also been concentrating on extending the range of electronics offered. New to the product portfolio is a range of effects in the shape of the Procomp, Ezverb and Proverb as well as a new range of amplifiers - the MAX Series. City Music can be found on stand number G23.
Fuzion has recently supplied Terry Tew Sound and Light with 18 Nexo PS-8 loudspeakers and a further eight PS-15s, complete with the requisite controllers to add to their hire stock in order to keep pace with the increasing amount of TV work on their books. The PS-15 purchase now brings Terry Tew's total stock count of PS-15s up to around 50 cabinets. The latest show for which the PS-8s were purchased specifically is Slap Bang, the new Saturday night prime time entertainment show on LWT with Ant and Dec featuring celebrity guests, music, competitions and comic sketches. As well as Slap Bang, Terry Tew Sound and Light continues to supply SM:TV and CD-UK with Nexo sound systems for all of their audio requirements.
On Slap Bang, eight PS-8s have been flown in custom cradles in four separate two-way clusters for audience infill while a further six are located on the floor for speech reinforcement and cueing purposes. The remaining four PS-8s have gone onto SM:TV and CD-UK for additional speech coverage for the audience. Slap Bang also uses a number of PS-15 monitors for the music items, with Toploader being the latest stars to put them through their paces.
The Production Services Association has made two announcements: the first is that John Jones of PCM has filled the remaining seat on the 2001 PSA Council. John is a long-time supporter of the PSA and through his company PCM has donated £10,000 to the PSA Welfare & Benevolent Fund since the Fund’s inception. PCM has also gained a reputation for being among the industry’s leaders in promoting training, with the PCM Motor Schools now well established. In a separate announcement, Keith Owen will now oversee the PSA’s new series of BTEC courses. The courses, which commence in June in Birmingham with the Production Technician Intermediate BTEC, will be expanded during the year to cover other disciplines. Owen spent 20 years at Light & Sound Design before spending 18 months at Loughborough College as the PSA’s representative for training. He is working for two days a week at BMS in Birmingham in order to kick-off the new range of PSA Entertainment and Events Industry BTEC qualifications.
On April 3rd, Electro-Voice hosted a highly successful dealer seminar in the World Trade Center in Mexico City. Over 600 consumers, dealers and distributors took part in the event which was held to demonstrate both the breadth and power of the existing EV range as well as to introduce new products. Delegates were given the opportunity increase their technical expertise as David Webster, Franck Fabry, Jay Easley, Joel P. Johnson, Ramiro Colasurdo and Enrique Lask were all on hand to give detailed demonstrations of some of the most important new products. Once the seminar was over, the party began, with a live band powered by an EV X-Array rig. Afterwards, in the VIP area, the festivities continued long into the night. The verdict from the Mexican EV crew was that the event was a huge success, and further dealer seminars and a training programme are planned for the near future.
Communication Technology Ltd has announced the death of its founder, Ron Glaisher, aged 80. His funeral took place on Thursday 25th May at Croydon, Surrey. Ron had been a well-known amateur radio enthusiast since the 1950s and even before starting his own specialist business played an important part in the development of microphones and handsets for transportation and radio communication applications. Ron sold his Company in 1999 to Scarecrow Bio-Acoustic Systems, a company owned by Tony Walker. Walker commented: "I had known Ron for more years than we would both have cared to admit; until very recently he was involved in our new product development and will be sadly missed as a good friend. I am sure everyone who knows his wife Prue will wish to offer their condolences to her."
Shed 7 are the first of Yorkshire Audio’s clients to benefit from the Midas Heritage 1000. Bought from the Leeds branch of LMC Audio Systems, Yorkshire Audio seized the opportunity to front their EAW KF850 system with the flagship console. Yorkshire Audio proprietor Bob Collinson explains his decision: "Midas was the brand on virtually every gig-review; the compact H1000 is practical for the medium-sized touring venues but has the desired Heritage sound to front the largest gigs." The UK tour has been a sell-out return for Shed 7 before releasing their long-awaited album this autumn. Originating from York, Shed 7’s last gig of the tour was appropriately in Yorkshire at The Foundry, Sheffield Hallam University.
Hayden Laboratories, exclusive UK distributors for Rane Corporation products, has supplied a Rane ECS-Engineered Conferencing System, with automatic mic mixers, to the Co-operative Wholesale Society (CWS) HQ boardroom in Manchester. The installation was undertaken by locally-based Akwil Projects. The site is on the 13th floor of a 1960s tower block in Corporation Street, downtown Manchester, overlooking the MEN Arena, Granada TV Studios and Boddingtons Brewery. The boardroom is an interesting space consisting of a square boardroom with listed internal décor and ceiling. The room’s major acoustic challenge was presented by the listed ceiling which has multiple early reflections. Eddie Akka of Akwil Projects, who also installed the original SR system in the same boardroom 20 years ago, was called in to specify a 21st century system. Eddie consulted various suppliers and asked them to assist in producing the definitive design for a new SR System, which had to be simple and automatic in use. Ian Downs of Hayden Laboratories produced a practical system design and specification that not only fulfilled all CWS’s requirements but also left plenty of headroom for the development of future technologies, as CWS were keen to harness the potential of Video Conferencing – as well as high quality audio - via the new SR system.
To improve the system’s intelligibility and gain, ceiling-mounted speaker coverage was divided into six zones using a Rane SRM66 matrix mixer, Rane GE215 Graphic equalisers and a Rane MA6s six-channel amplifier. The heart of the system is
Worcester-based PA Company Intasound blasted open the new multi-million-pound Oxtalls Indoor Tennis Centre in Gloucester, with a new Crown powered Martin W8 system, purchased from the Birmingham branch of LMC Audio Systems. Sponsored by Audi and part of the ‘Sport For All’ initiative, this new 20-court complex is designed to bring tennis training and coaching within the reach of everybody. As well as the indoor system for the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Intasound provided a fully integrated son et lumiere system for the inaugural firework display. A specially commissioned synchronised soundtrack, featuring sampled match-commentary and struck balls, was played back through the Martin W8C/WSX combination. Pictured left to right are Francis Dale (Intasound), Paul Collis (Intasound) and Sean Hames (LMC).
Harrogate-based sales and installation specialists Funtime Music has recently installed a number of Camco's Vortex amplifiers supplied by Camco's UK distributor Fuzion plc, into two new Po Na Na venues in Lincoln and Salisbury. Funtime Music, nominated as Installer of the Year at the upcoming BEDA Awards later this year, has the contract for all new Po Na Na venues and plans to install Vortex amplifiers throughout. Funtime's Jonathan Reece explained his choice: "It really wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that Vortex has revolutionised what we do in amplifier terms. We weren't particularly happy with the amps we were using, especially on the bottom end, but Vortex is just leagues apart. They sound superb right across all frequencies, but particularly on the bass. They run extremely cool so operation is trouble-free, and they also look very stylish, which for installations can actually be quite important. The lightweight aspect, although ostensibly more attractive for touring applications, is an added bonus as far as I'm concerned. But what is even more amazing is the price. It's hard to believe that you can get such a reliable, high quality product for the price I'm definitely sold!"
Funtime has installed six Vortex amplifiers in Po Na Na in Salisbury using Vortex 4s to drive the top boxes and Vortex 6s on the bass bins. A further three Vortexes have been installed in Lincoln.
The Golders Green Hippodrome has been the official home of the BBC Concert Orchestra since the early 1970s. The most recent, and probably the most extensive technical refit in recent years was completed at the end of April 2001 and included significant building works as well as a complete studio overhaul. The Oxford Sound Company was chosen to install a new 72-input SSL console, the SL9000J Series, and to integrate it into the existing infrastructure, as well as adding new cabling for the additional inputs. Much of the studio equipment was also replaced, including talkback system and effects units. Main monitoring is via an impressive PMC BB5/XPD system, with Excel-201s for near-field and surround monitoring. The existing 24-track Studer A800 is used as the standard recording machine and additional cabling was installed for ‘guest’ recording equipment to provide 48-track facilities when required. "Working in old buildings not designed for this level of technical equipment always brings problems," said Stuart Edmiston, Oxford Sound's project manager. "This is quite a unique venue with sophisticated levels of recording and live performance equipment working side by side."
The auditorium sound system was also upgraded during the shutdown period with the existing Meyer UPA-1 speakers being refurbished by Autograph Sound. A new 32-channel Soundcraft K3 mixer for controlling the audience sound balance was supplied and installed by the Oxford Sound Company, with microphone feeds shared between the SSL and the Soundcraft via a microphone splitter s
Audace Ltd, the audio control specialists have been experiencing great domestic success with their intelligent Wall Plate system since launching it on the Allen & Heath stand at the PLASA Show last year. Installations include the Red Cube Bar and Grill in Leicester Square, Springbok Bars in Wigan and Cardiff and Bar Censsa in Preston. Managing director Bryan Waters told PLASA Media: "We are absolutely delighted with the response to this system. When we took the decision to commit to this project, we knew that there was a gap in the market between VCA pots and touch screens and it is encouraging to see that we are not the only ones with this conviction!" The Audace intelligent wall plate system provides inexpensive digital control of DSP-based audio processors via Cat 5 cable and configuration is carried out using a free Windows GUI available from the Audace website.
Royal Caribbean International has recently introduced the first of its Radiance class of ships - Radiance of the Seas. This stunning vessel is the largest ship ever to have been built at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, and the first joint venture between a German shipyard and an American cruise line.
RCI has a tradition of delivering high quality onboard entertainment and Radiance is no exception. The Viking Crown is the trademark destination on-board Royal Caribbean ships, a spectacular space surrounded by a sweep of glazing, that wraps itself around the funnel at the highest point, providing panoramic views for the passengers. In the evening, the Viking Crown takes on a completely new persona and turns into a major entertainment complex and, in the case of the Radiance of the Seas, this includes a disco, a black-box theatre and bars of various hues.
The disco is called Starquest, and Wynne Willson Gottelier (WWG) has designed a spectacular lighting, sound and video system in the area to get the holidaymakers on their toes. One of the main features is a WWG-conceived Beamlight which has been used to create a cage of 78 sequencing, vertical beams around the dance area. Other effects contained in the feature dome above the dancefloor are Martin MAC 250+s, Roboscan Pro 918s and Acrobats, Clay Paky Miniscan HPEs, Diversitronics strobes and a bunch of neon controlled via Mode Digitrans inverters. All the automated lights listed are fitted with custom gobos. The overall lighting control is provided by a ShowCAD system linked to a Lynx button panel. Two Le Mai
The newly-formed London-based PA rental company Blitz Sound (formerly TP Sound), has given a significant boost to its hire inventory with the purchase of 10 Crest X4 consoles from exclusive UK distributor The Sound Department - through dealers, Marquee Audio. The desks are intended for use as Blitz Sound’s standard consoles for small- to medium-sized shows within the corporate and conference markets and also for small musical and theatrical events. They replace existing stock in an ever-expanding hire facility. To date, the desks have been in operation on such events as the Opel Vivaro car launch in Germany and a Millennium Dance Company Show staged in London. Crest’s X4 consoles occupy a privileged position in the marketplace. As Blitz director Dave Perry illustrates, "The X4’s are really the only desk of that size, with the number of inputs and outputs that we need - with the requisite build quality that we require, and at a price that suits."
Hayden Laboratories, the exclusive UK distributor for Rane products, has supplied Rane NM84 network mic preamps to London-based specialist classical recording company Floating Earth. The preamps - part of the CobraNET range of audio products - were specified by Mark Harrison, technical engineer for Floating Earth’s new OB truck. It’s Floating Earth’s first mobile, so they consulted broadcast and high end equipment suppliers HHB about the project, asking them to supply the equipment and systems utilised and after-sales support. Floating Earth then undertook the physical install themselves. The four Rane NM84s were supplied by Hayden to HHB, for whom the project was managed by Steve Angel. The mic preamps go into the venue and sit at the front end of the location recording - each offers eight line inputs. They are linked to QSC CobraNET digital decoders in the truck by a single fibre optic cable. Mark Harrison has followed the development of CobraNET with interest over the last two years. He chose the NM84s because 'they were the right boxes at exactly the right time. They are studio-quality preamps, they have a remote control facility and mate perfectly with the QSC decoders.' He adds that the preamp’s return outputs facility has also proved very useful for talk-back and playback.
Harrison has long been a fan of Rane equipment and remarks on its proven reliability and quality. He’s so impressed with the Rane NM84s that he’s just ordered another two - to give him a total of 48 channels to the truck, and 16 return outputs. The Floating Ear
Following the recent appointment of Tone Ferne, Dobson Sound continues to expand its team of project co-ordinators to keep pace with the company's increasing workload. Richard Mortimer is the newest recruit to take his place. He will be working closely with David Lewis looking after the museum and conference market. A graduate in Music and Technology from Kingston University, Mortimer has spent the last three-and-a-half years working for Dobson Sound on a freelance basis so he is already very familiar with the client base. "As project co-ordinator it is my job to attend meetings with the client, ascertain their needs, specify the system, organise the crew and basically make sure the whole thing runs smoothly from start to finish."
Glen Beckley has joined Stage Electrics heading up the Audio Design Services department. Beckley recently returned from two months touring the arenas of the USA with southern gospel group the Gaither Vocal Band, following this with designs for pantomimes in Bath, Blackpool, Stoke and Sheffield last Christmas. 2001 will also see him designing systems for national tours of Anything Goes and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, as well as contributing to various installation projects in the UK and Europe. Last year also saw him design a groundbreaking digital audio system for the national tour of ‘Carousel’ starring Darren Day and Sam Kane, the first of its kind seen in the UK, which impressed audiences and critics alike all over the country, as well as a system for the national tour of 42nd Street starring Ruth Madoc.
Stage Electrics has also announced that Peter Western will be joining the company in early June. Western has firm roots in the entertainment industry including 10 years at Donmar and two years at Lighting Technology. Joining Stage Electrics as a business development manager for projects, Western will be working with architects and lighting designers on a range of projects including theatres and permanent visitor attractions as well as architectural installations.
Finally, Ben Cole joined Stage Electrics in May as business development manager for production services. He brings with him experience from Aztec Communications and more recently OnStage Events, the production division of The Sound Division Group, where he was instrumen
An XTA Electronics SiDD (Seriously Intelligent Digital Dynamics) processor has become, in the space of one tour, a vital component in conveying Gary Moore’s vocal power on stage. Moore’s front-of-house engineer, Andy May, decided to experiment with the multi-dynamics device after trying "virtually every compressor on the planet, from all the familiar units to the most esoteric American kit." Capital Sound is providing the tour’s audio production, with a Martin Wavefront 8 system, itself controlled by XTA DP226 digital loudspeaker processors. Both the DP226 and SiDD are based on XTA’s proprietary AudioCore DSP engine. The Gary Moore band is a straight-ahead four-piece line-up. The rig includes a Midas Heritage 3000 desk, Martin LE700 wedges, and Crown Macrotech amplification. Graham Lilley is production manager and Danny Stead mixes monitors.
May explains the challenge: "Gary sings and plays with a lot of passion and adrenalin, which works the vocal audio chain to the limits. He also likes a high guitar level on stage, so when he walks away from the microphone, the guitar sound floods into the mic, which means a lot of riding the faders for me. I’ve tried every kind of compressor on his vocal and none has ever really done the job of managing the dynamics without compromising the energy of his performance or the sound quality. SiDD goes a long way to solving that problem; it’s simply a brilliant product."
UK band Toploader have set themselves up with a travelling demo studio using a Tascam 788 8-track Digital Portastudio. Guitarist Julian Deane was the first to convert to the unit: "We’ve been using a live sampler set-up for the last five years," he explained. "It’s had a fair bit of wear and tear on the road, being thrown into the backs of trucks and what have you. We’ve decided to switch over to an MDM format and the Tascam is renowned for its quality and endurance. It also interfaces with the Spirit digital desk. All of the outputs will be going into my desk and I will be dubbing it up as ususal."
South African-based Matrix Sound recently supplied four Trantec S4000 IEM transmitters and 18 S4000 IEM receivers for use by the cast of Grease, The Stadium Spectacular, staged at Johannesburg Stadium. The lead characters, Danny and Sandy, had their own in-ear mix, as did the rest of the support cast. Although the vast stage area was covered by side-fills and wedge monitors, due to the sheer size of the production - andthe delayed sound returning from the rear of the stadium - it was decided that an in-ear system would aid the artists’ timing for song and dance numbers. Custom moulds were manufactured for all 18 performers as the S4000 IEMs made their first large-scale South African stage debut. The ability to operate on higher frequencies within the Channel 62/64 range ensured an interference-free performance from the 18 headset radios and 12 radio comms being used simultaneously on the show. Grease played to 60,000 people at Johannesburg Stadium and was very well received. Danny was played by South African, Craig Urbani, fresh from playing the role of Buddy Holly in London’s West End, while Sandy was played by fellow South African Amra Faye. The show also starred South African superstar Yvonne Chaka Chaka and popular breakfast radio show DJ Jeremy Mansfield as Vince Fontein.
One of Oslo’s biggest theatres, Sentrum Scene West, has upgraded its front-of-house system with a new Sony DMX-R100 8-bus digital mixing console. The 1,000 seat venue needed a flexible desk which could be instantly reconfigured for a variety of roles, yet which offered high sound quality. The theatre stages a wide range of productions, including live concerts, theatrical performances and one-off special events, and previously the engineers would have to reset the FOH console for each new show. However, by using the DMX-R100 on-board snapshot automation, this can now be achieved with the touch of a button.
Kjetil Husoey, the theatre’s sound designer, said: "With so many different projects running in the theatre at the same time, we needed a console that had the flexibility and more importantly a snapshot automation facility. Other contenders were considered, but would have been double the cost of the Sony."
Italian loudspeaker manufacturer Outline has developed the first high power, pollution free sound system with its' innovative Soundtracker system. The Soundtracker is a ceiling mounted tile that works as part of a matrix. The patented design incorporates a 21 foot horn, and a dual concentric 10" and 2" driver configuration. When a matrix of at least 16 units are installed, the off axis sound rejection is 30dB. Larger matrices of Soundtracker will perform equally. The intention for the composite ceiling tile which weighs in at an astonishing 22Kg, is for venues that either have a noise pollution problem, because of their location or indeed because of the Noise at Work Regulations Act which dictates limited working hours in areas of high SPL. Soundtracker can also be used as an extremely cost effective solution for hotels, exhibition or any public venues where sound pollution is a problem.
New York City’s Carnegie Hall has become the world’s first concert hall to include a Yamaha PM1D digital mixing system, as part of a recent audio system upgrade, which also included a Myere Sound loudspeaker system. The design was completed by David Andrews of Andrews Audio, John Monitto from Meyer Sound and acoustical consultants Art-Tec, who performed extensive acoustic and RASTI measurements. The decision to purchase a large format digital front of house console came about through recommendations, and the need for future expansion. "We had an analogue board for 11 years, and it worked very well," said head of sound John Cardinale. "However, we were intrigued by the capabilities and the sound of digital consoles when they were first introduced, so we convinced management to make an investment in a quality front of house console as part of our upgrade. Our decision to go with the PM1D was based, for the most part, on an established paradigm in sound reinforcement," he continues, "and that’s the signal flow and layout of the Yamaha PM4000. The majority of the touring acts that come to Carnegie Hall specify a 4000 on their rider, and the control surface of the PM1D is very similar. We found that you can set it up to work on the surface, and don’t have to page through menus."
Carnegie Hall’s main PA consists of a centre cluster, comprised of three Meyer powered MSL4 cabinets and four CQ1 cabinets, with side stacks consisting of four MSL4 and two PSW2 cabinets. "The front-fills are UPM1Ps that lay across the st