Audio News

Marquee Supplies First DME to Donmar
Wednesday, 2 May 2001

Marquee Audio has supplied the first Yamaha DME32 for UK installation to theatre sound system specialists, Aura Sound Design. The Digital Mixing Engine will be installed in the Donmar Warehouse in London's Covent Garden in time for a new production - To The Green Fields Beyond - directed by Sam Mendes, and forms part of a general sound system upgrade, with the Shepperton distributors supplying all the components. Marquee Audio's Jimmy Potter, who earlier this year supplied Aura with a full sound specification for their fit-out for the Almeida Theatre in their temporary home of the Gainsborough Studios, confirmed that a new Yamaha 02R would again fulfil all the sound mixing duties, reinforced through four of Meyer's powered compact, multi-purpose UPM1P enclosures, which will augment the existing system. The new installation has been carefully designed to a fixed budget by Aura Sound Design, whose director John Owens explained that this is the first upgrade to the sound system that the theatre has undertaken since reopening around a decade ago. "The idea was to create maximum flexibility at minimum cost. We have configured the DME32 as an 8 x 12 matrix, bolted onto the end of the 02R through the desk's 8-buss output, to handle all the crosspoint matrixing, delays etc. It's all controllable by MIDI, allowing us to use Richmond Sound Design’s Stage Manager 3000 MIDI Show-Control software to automate all the shows for the theatre."

ML Series For Purple & Hammer
Tuesday, 1 May 2001

The Allen & Heath ML series proved its rock and roll credentials when both the ML 4000 and 5000 were used for a Deep Purple show in Bangalore, India recently. The two dual function FOH/monitor mixers were used for the live concert, which was attended by over 15,000 fans in the palace grounds. Felix Remedios of Reynolds Sound and Light, the system provider for the production, said: "We had no hesitation in choosing the Allen & Heath mixers, as we knew they would give us the best of both worlds - great features at a great price."

The company's association with the ML series began when Felix saw the ML 4000, the latest addition to the ML series, at its debut in the Plasa Show, London. He was so impressed by the specifications that he bought an ML4000/48 and used it straight out of the box at the MC Hammer concert in Bangalore. The results were so good they immediately ordered a 32-channel ML5000 and sidecar for the Deep Purple gig.

The feature set of the ML5000 makes it ideal for this kind of large scale concert, as it includes 8 assigned VCA groups, each with a P/AFL button and 128 mute/snapshot memories, full three-speaker balance through the LCRPlus panning system and a clean, clear EQ. The flexible group structure gives the ML5000 a spacious 8 group, 16 aux configuration, which Reynolds bolstered with an additional 24 channel side car, expanding the desk's input capabilities to easily meet the demands of the production. However, it was not just the feature set and capabilities of the ML series that made them such a hit: the sound and build quality are compara

 
 
Neutrik AG Pursues Patent Violation
Tuesday, 1 May 2001

Neutrik AG has chosen to pursue judgement in its patent infringement suit against Switchcraft Inc in the United States courts. The company, which is changing counsel, contends that Switchcraft has intentionally copied its Speakon connectors and in so doing has violated the United States Patent held by Neutrik. Werner Bachmann, managing director of Neutrik AG told PLASA Media. "This case is not only important for Neutrik, but for our clients as well." Last month the lower courts ruled that based upon the materials reviewed, it did not appear that the patent was violated.

 
Radio Spectrum
Saturday, 28 April 2001

If you use radio mics or radio talkback systems, you should be aware of the Radiocommunications Agency’s (RA) latest consultation document on Spectrum Pricing.

For most in the industry, there’s good news in that the cost of licensing is to be reduced - a result that didn’t seem likely when the first consultation document was released. A study published by Smith Nera on spectrum pricing, based on its calculation of the value of radio spectrum, would have made one radio mic channel worth about £80,000. However, following reaction from contractor JFMG and several users at the earlier stage, another round of consultation was announced. If all goes to plan, the technicalities of licensing will be simplified too.

Once the policy is adopted, a block of frequencies, such as UHF Channel 69 frequencies, would cost £75.00 per year. JFMG hopes that the price reduction will increase the number of licences issued to users. Plans are already being made for the analogue TV switch-off, and mobile phone companies - apparently with limitless funds - are looking for more available spectrum.

The company is taking steps to increase the number of licence applications and now has a section working on licensing development. The aim is to educate users on the need for licensing. In the last few months, engineers from JFMG have visited a number of theatres, identifying some common problems along the way, including the use of unlicensed frequencies, the hiring-out of equipment without a hire licence, and the use of channel 68 without a licence.

If you are unsure about licen

 
 
Sennheiser’s Plug & Go Pro Wireless System
Friday, 27 April 2001

Sennheiser will launch a new Hidyn-plus miniature plug-on wireless transmitter at this year's AES convention in Amsterdam, which enables any cable microphone to be instantly converted for RF operation. Developed to meet the requirements of PA companies, and broadcast, film and video sound recording professionals, the SKP 30 includes 48V phantom powering to enable use with condenser microphones and features Sennheiser's market-leading HiDyn-plus companding system, making it compatible with the full range of Sennheiser 3000 Series and 5000 Series professional wireless systems. The highly efficient HiDyn-plus system increases dynamics up to 110 dB. Even with low antenna voltages, HiDyn plus will ensure excellent sound quality and highest transmission reliability, say Sennheiser.

Suitable for worldwide use, the SKP 30 is available for UHF frequencies between 518 and 870 MHz, and features a switching bandwidth of 32 MHz. The plug-on transmitter comes in a roadworthy metal housing with recessed operating controls. It is powered by a standard 9V PP3 battery, delivering a typical RF output power of 30 mW. Combined with Sennheiser's EK 3041 miniature camera mount receiver, the SKP 30 provides a versatile package for ENG applications.

 
Orbital and RNT Pool Expertise
Thursday, 26 April 2001

London-based Orbital Sound has combined forces with the Royal National Theatre's sound department to stage the first of an annual advanced training programme for students wishing to pursue a career in theatre sound. With audio technology becoming increasingly sophisticated, both organisations are concerned that there is a skills shortfall, and that young people entering the industry have little experience of the latest technology. Initiated jointly by Orbital's Simon Whitehorn and the National's Rob Barnard, the co-produced course was held at the National Theatre and at Orbital's central London facility, between 9 - 12 April 2001. The creative and conceptual workshops were staged at the National, whilst in-depth technical sessions were held at Orbital's headquarters.

The course was designed as a 'top up' for final year Stage Management and Technical Theatre students. Nine candidates were nominated by London drama schools to participate in 10 carefully-structured classes. Rob Barnard, head of sound at the National, said: "Having worked with Orbital and Simon Whitehorn for many years, we felt that by combining our resources and expertise we were ideally positioned to offer an intensive training course for students interested in pursuing a career in theatre sound. Both myself and Simon graduated from drama school and feel that such training is ideal when working with sound in theatre. Our aim is to help provide these more advanced skills, as a 'top-up' to the good basic training given by drama schools."

The four-day programme, which was offered at no expense to s

 
 
Walter O Stanton Dies
Thursday, 26 April 2001

Stanton Magnetics has announced the death of its founder, Walter O Stanton. A pioneer in the audio field, Stanton was responsible for many of the early patents in phono cartridge and styli design and electrostatic speakers, as well as other electromechanical items. He was one of the early leaders in the audio industry and served as president of both the Institute of Hi Fidelity and the Audio Engineering Society (AES). One of the original owners of Pickering & Company, started in 1947, he later established Stanton Magnetics Inc in 1961. He was the chairman and president of both Pickering & Co and Stanton Magnetics Inc until 1998. Under his leadership, the various companies developed leading products in the audio, aerospace, military and communications fields with factories in Plainview, New York and West Palm Beach, Florida. He leaves a wife, three daughters, six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

 
New Additions at Northern Light
Thursday, 26 April 2001

The team at Northern Light has been further strengthened with several new appointments. Craig Shaw joins the Special Projects department as sales engineer, with responsibility for developing the company's sound reinforcement products business. Formerly with EFX Audio, he left to freelance on sound system design and installation projects in clubs and bars throughout Scotland and for projects such as the Police Public Safety announcement system for Edinburgh’s Hogmanay street celebrations.

Gerry Corcoran is the latest addition to the sales team. Based in Glasgow, he'll be concentrating on expanding and supporting Northern Light's customer base in the West of Scotland and will augment the company's capacity to demonstrate equipment and provide customer training. Gerry was formerly chief electrician and technical tutor at RSAMD, and before that his career in stage management and electrics, working in professional theatresthroughout Scotland, spanned 13 years.

At Northern Light's Glasgow hire department, Nicola Garman is moving on after four years as manager, and Scott Bland will be taking over the reins. He completed his technical training at RSAMD and has worked extensively in community and amateur theatre for 10 years, tackling a wide variety of projects before joining Northern Light. Carol Whittaker - formerly of Q-Light - and Jim McGowan have also recently joined the hire cepartment, ensuring a wealth of experience and expertise to meet the varied needs of hire customers, whether dry hire or a full rigging and crewing service.

 
 
Hawthorn Theatrical Goes With ML 5000
Wednesday, 25 April 2001

Leicestershire-based Hawthorn Theatrical has acquired Allen & Heath's flagship product, the ML5000, in order to handle the varied demands of the corporate events environment. Nick Key, Hawthorn's project manager, was impressed by the flexibility of the dual function FOH/monitor mixer which features 16 auxes, eight audio groups and eight mute group matrix, with in-ear monitoring (IEM) facilities. The enhanced feature set includes LCRplus for more realistic aural editing and VCAs, both essential in theatrical environments. The innovative group/aux structure also proved to be a winner as it offers quick configuration and intuitive control. Combined with two 24-channel sidecars, this provides outstanding capabilities with the option of up to 96 channels, if needed.

Equally vital to Hawthorn's decision to choose the ML 5000 was the question of dimension. The lightweight design - described as a 'two-man lift' - and compact size made the ML5000 the ideal choice for a market where seating capacity cannot be compromised by bulky equipment.

Andy McGregor of LMC, the company who supplied the desk to Hawthorn Theatrical, believes this unique versatility was the most important factor in the ML5000 being chosen. Taken in conjunction with a sound and build quality equivalent to far more expensive desks, the ML5000 offers a sophisticated solution at the right price. After putting the desk through its paces at a corporate event held in the Telford International Centre recently, Nick Key voiced the company's satisfaction with their choice: "It did everything we chucked at it. It's o

 
Soundcraft for the Gentlemen
Wednesday, 25 April 2001

Midland Sound & Light has purchased a new Soundcraft Series FOUR front-of-house console for The League of Gentlemen, who have added a sell-out run at London’s Theatre Royal to their successful UK touring credentials. MSL has provided a Renkus-Heinz CE3 touring system for the show, adding the new Series FOUR console, supplied by Marquee Audio, to the production rig when it arrived in the West End. Working with MSL is sound designer Oliver Gross, who mixes the show, together with second engineer Dan Sepke, both graduates of LIPA.

The show is loud, delivered at levels more commonly found in touring rock ‘n’ roll, and it is also full of action. Gross has 53 cues, which are all manually triggered from his three CD players, one of which is routed to the effects speakers on stage. Gross comments: "The Series FOUR is a very flexible desk. Being able to route the aux sends and sub groups into the matrix gives me a lot of outputs, an impressive number for a relatively compact console. The flexible routing capabilities enable me to have immediate access to all outputs during a very short get-in (one day) and so I don’t have to make any compromises. And I even had a couple of spare outputs to supply separate mixes to the broadcasting van when we produced a video of the show."

 
 
Dynacord Promatrix at Farum Centre
Tuesday, 24 April 2001

The Farum Center, one of Denmark’s leading hotel and sports complexes, has undergone extensive refurbishment recently. As well as a modern design brief, the Farum Centre was also equipped with the latest technology with particular focus on the sound system. Ascon, the company in charge of the audio requirements, opted for a complete Dynacord Promatrix system in the various conference rooms, three restaurants, fitness and aerobic rooms and the public areas. Ib Sigismund of Ascon integrated a constant voltage system into the Promatrix paging consoles, providing the user with complete flexibility of audio distribution, be it throughout the centre as a whole or zoned into specific areas, including the 16-zone conference centre and hotel, the 32-zone Farum Arena (the biggest sports hall in Denmark). Electro-Voice loudspeakers are utilised for the central cluster and the cinema system in the main hall of the arena.

 
Hz’s DPX Amps Upgraded
Tuesday, 24 April 2001

Hz Audio has announced a facelift to its DPX 600 and DPX 1100 amplifiers. The company says its DPX units now feature Hexfet output stages, which has increased their power to 400W to 750W per side respectively, and are consequently re-named DPX 800 and DPX 1500. Other new features include bridge mode capability, dual input/output on balanced XLR, an extra Speakon output for 4-way speaker cables, and improved heatsink and internal airflow resulting in up to 30% better cooling. mailto: doug@hzaudio.demon.co.uk

 
 
Tannoy Opens Office in Belgium
Tuesday, 24 April 2001

Tannoy has opened a new Belgian office in Mechelen, from where it will distribute its portfolio of products to the studio, broadcast, and fixed installation sound reinforcement markets. Tannoy Belgium, a subsidiary of UK-based Tannoy Limited, has also been appointed as the Biamp/Advantage distributor and will offer Biamp system control products, Chevin amplifiers and Astatic microphones to provide complete solutions for AV dealers and audio contractors. Mario Clabots joins Tannoy Belgium as a sales engineer and brings a wealth of knowledge of the AV and corporate audio installation worlds to the company. He will be responsible for Belgian dealer sales and establishing an enhanced network of Tannoy resellers in Belgium. In addition to Tannoy’s established loudspeakers, customers will be able to specify and purchase the recently launched ranges of high quality installation microphones and amplifiers, which are designed to complement Tannoy speakers in a wide range of applications.

 
Munro and Gateway School Collaborate
Tuesday, 24 April 2001

A collaboration has begun between the Gateway School of Recording (GSR) and Munro Associates. Having been involved in many education projects over the years, Munro has realised that design and layout of studios for education purposes, although, different to mainstream commercial design, must provide operational expertise to the students as well as a learning environment. Gateway has pioneered the successful blending of sound education practice with real ‘hands-on’ experience for anyone studying sound recording, music technology and music business studies. Over its 25-year history, it has designed courses from one week entry level to Higher Education qualifications, with many of ex-students going on to successful careers in the sound and music industries. Combining these two areas of expertise will give clients, wanting to incorporate future training needs as part of their planning, the option of not only first class studio design, but of a team of consultants who can advise and train them from the beginning. The scheme will be integrated with educational initiatives undertaken by various trade bodies, such as the APRS (the Association of Professional Recording Studios) and PLASA (the Professional Light and Sound Association).

 
 
Kirk Returns to Allen & Heath
Tuesday, 24 April 2001

David Kirk, the former PR manager at Allen and Heath, has recently returned to take up a new role as New Media Manager. Kirk left the company in February 2000 to feed an interest in the opportunities created by the internet and electronic communication. He subsequently worked as content manager for LeisureHub.com, a business-to-business exchange for the leisure industry. Last month, he returned to the A&H fold after a new position arose allowing him to use his enhanced media skills in the pro audio industry.

 
Hot Panto for Nexo
Monday, 23 April 2001

Manchester-based STS Touring Productions have used their recently-purchased Nexo PS10 loudspeakers for a sun-baked pantomime in a 4000-capacity outdoor arena in Dubai. Using their existing Turbosound Floodlight as main system, Paul Collis, who has developed the company’s reputation for sound design, had no hesitation in specifying the new Nexo’s to complement the Floodlight on this prestigious job. STS is a multi-faceted company, offering production and sound design/hire services, as well as holding possibly the biggest Backline Hire department outside London. Alongside STS, Paul Collis also runs ‘Beat The Street UK’ on behalf of ‘Beat The Street’ based in Austria. They are a major tour bus supplier, providing fleets of Nightliners for, among others, Deep Purple, Status Quo and most recently a 12-bus flotilla for Britney Spears.

Paul Collis said: "Our secret in each side of the business is to provide correctly specified equipment and the right personnel. I need 100% confidence in the products I choose. The Nexo’s have a high sound quality, the ability to deliver high SPL, are compact and aesthetically pleasing. Equipment earns a good reputation for good reasons."The cabinets were bought from Leeds branch of LMC Audio Systems as part of STS's growing corporate and theatrical hire business. Already such big hitters as the World MNDA have used STS since their Nexo investment. Pete Dutton, joint partner of STS explained: "As soon as we told people we had the system, the work just rolled in. We're in good company; Nexo i

 
 
Lightfactor’s Apogee Open Day
Monday, 23 April 2001

Lightfactor Sales, UK distributor for Apogee Sound products are holding an Open Day on Thursday 24 May in order to demonstrate the diversity of this range of quality pro audio products. The event will be held at Lightfactor’s new demo facilities located just inside the M25 in northwest London. The demo room has been relocated, rebuilt, expanded and remodelled - within the same building - to reflect the constantly evolving product portfolio represented by Lightfactor. The Apogee Open Day will feature hands-on and working demonstrations of the full product range, including the new ALA-9 line array concert series loudspeakers (launched spectacularly in the UK by Lightfactor earlier in the year at Bovingdon Airfield), F-series amplifiers, ACS Contractor speakers and the popular AE range of cabinets. The demo will also include the UK-debut of Apogee’s new APL series of self-powered loudspeaker products. The event is aimed at attracting individuals and companies from all areas of the professional audio industry - from sound engineers, designers and specifiers to venue owners and rental companies working in the live, conference, corporate and installation markets. Full sets of product info and literature will be available to take away, and an Apogee engineer will be in residence to answer all leading questions and deal with the in-depth technicals. With the new Lightfactor demo room now up-and-running, sound and lighting demonstrations will become a permanent feature of the company’s HQ. Lightfactor’s MD Paul de Ville comments: "We want to focus attent

 
Management Changes at SennheiserManagement Changes at Sennheiser
Monday, 23 April 2001

Sennheiser UK has announced a fundamental restructuring of its management team. The new structure sees equal prominence given to five areas of management responsibility with the appointment of key personnel to the newly-created positions of director of engineering, finance, marketing, operations and sales. Dave Hawker is appointed director of engineering with responsibility for all technical aspects of the company’s operations, including service, technical support and special projects. Lesley Alaway becomes director of finance, while Phil Massey is director of operations responsible for operations, systems and IT management.The greatest changes are to the previously integrated sales and marketing functions: John Steven joins Sennheiser from as director of marketing from KGa Press+Communications, the company’s PR agency, where he held the position of account manager for four years. The company is still recruiting for the role of director of sales, with managing director Paul Whiting temporarily overseeing the duties. Whiting says the moves follow a fundamental review which identified the need for an extended executive management team in order to support the company’s continued growth.

 
 
Role Change at Telex EVI
Monday, 23 April 2001

At Telex EVI Audio, Jürgen Meier has taken over the role of distribution manager for fixed installations from Claus Peter Sterling, who has retired from the post after nearly 27 years. Meier is responsible for all sales and marketing activities in the European electro-acoustics and movie theatre installations market (including Germany) as well as for Pro Sound in the domestic German market. For the past five years, Meier has worked in the cinema field as sales and project manager for projection and sound reinforcement installations.

 
Stuart Cunningham Joins Tannoy
Monday, 23 April 2001

Stuart Cunningham has joined the Tannoy sales team to provide support for external sales engineers and customers, both overseas and in the UK. Cunningham will ensure that customers have a main point of contact to quickly answer any queries and provide a link to the sales staff when they are travelling. He has recently graduated from Strathclyde University with a degree in Marketing and Psychology and will be based in the Tannoy Pro sales office in Coatbridge.

 
 
Sounds of Frankfurt
Sunday, 22 April 2001

Lee Baldock and Steve Moles report from Germany on the latest audio developments from the Pro Light & Sound exhibition . . .

This year’s Pro Light & Sound exhibition seemed even busier than usual, perhaps partly due to the PL&S halls being rearranged to spread virtually the length of the site, so that what once took 2 or 3 minutes now takes 5 or 10. There were probably many who missed the relative ease of the previous layout, but the point, of course, is that the visitors turned out in force and went home satisfied - albeit in more pain than usual. So to business . . .

Acoustic Line, part of Seeburg Professional PA Systems, presented the TSMSat+ to augment the TS series. This is a highly compact ‘fill’ speaker built to go with the TS Mini Sub+ and is based around a 10" mid driver with a 1" compression onto a very compact horn flare, making for a small cabinet capable of delivering 300W rms from each component. The horn is the same as that used in the TSM10, with a 60° by 90° coverage pattern that can easily be rotated through 90°. Too small for a disco, this could be a nice little unit in a jazz club.

A couple of innovations from Adam Hall: their successful Rack Lamp launched at last year’s PLASA (LED source combined with 10mm side-emitting fibre optic), has been taken a step further. The idea of using a simple LED powered light source for low level rack lighting has been extended by the addition of a gooseneck device for use over control surfaces. Supplied with built-in spring-clip for easy mounting, and battery holder, th

 
Matrix Launch Zoning Amplifier
Friday, 20 April 2001

Matrix Audio Developments, the pro sound audio amplifier specialist, has launched its brand new MZA1 modular zoning amplifier. Ideal for shopping centres, restaurants, airports and large domestic installations, the MZA1 is fitted with a number of innovative features. Contained within a 4U 19" master main frame, the MZA1 features slots for up to eight amplifier zone modules, each rated at 50W rms per channel at 4 ohms. There is a music source and microphone selection on each zone module, as well as two microphone and four stereo music inputs. The MZA1’s versatility is exemplified in its ability to be used with the F1 compact loudspeaker system.

 
 
PLASA Set for 2001 AGM
Friday, 20 April 2001

The 2001 PLASA AGM, along with the popular AGM Dinner, will take place on Thursday 14 June in the historic setting of Coombe Abbey, near Coventry. Set in 500 acres of parkland and dating back to 1150, this former Cistercian Abbey is now a thriving hotel and conference centre. In a slightly revised format for 2001, the day will include an opportunity for members to meet with key representatives of PLASA’s various operations in a number of small, hour-long ‘break-out sessions’. These will be organised as follows:

- PLASA Show - members of the Clarion Events show management team and members of the PLASA Exhibitor Forum will be on hand to discuss PLASA Show-related issues.
- Membership Services - PLASA’s head office staff dealing with membership services will be joined by consultants from certain of our service providers and members of the PLASA Executive Committee.
- PLASA Standards - PLASA’s Technical Standards Officer Tim Cox will be joined by consultants and other of PLASA’s standards representatives to discuss Standards-related topics.

As part of PLASA’s aim of increasing the opportunities for useful communication with its members, these sessions are intended to provide an informal environment for discussion, feedback and questions. PLASA’s managing director Matthew Griffiths comments: "We hope these sessions will prove a valuable use of the time between the AGM and the start of the evening’s entertainment. By offering the chance of an informal meeting with key representatives of the Association, we h

 
X-treme Sound and Vision in Qatar
Friday, 20 April 2001

Creating a thunder and lightning special effect was just one of the tasks facing D J Willrich Ltd (DJW), the AV and multi media specialist, at X-treme World in Doha, Qatar this month. Situated on the third floor of a large shopping mall in the centre of Doha, X-treme World incorporates a go-kart track, rock climbing, a real snow ski slope, fairground rides and other extreme sporting activities. DJWs 10-day remit included sound, video and the rumbling special effects. DJW’s 16-screen videowall placed at the entrance offers both film footage of professional and extreme sports as well as links with the complex’s eight CCTV cameras set up to capture all the action at the attractions. The wall, which features16 Pioneer 40" rear-projection video cubes, has a 4-channel MPEG2 server plus control and switching hardware.

DJW, through Simon Rice-Oxley, supplied four video films for the wall, using a programme that runs the films in sync with the CCTV cameras which follow the action around the attraction being switched into the wall at certain points during the show. For this, DJW used a video matrix switcher controlled by a Stinger show control unit.The sound system has been designed to cover the entire 70m x 70m area for music playback. Here, DJW encountered a couple of challenges as the client requested a sound system that gave good volume and clarity within a fairly limited budget. Added to this, the speakers had to be hung from a roof 15m high. John Doe, DJW’s project manager at X-treme, said: "To overcome these problems we used 10 Bose Panaray LT spe

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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