New York, NY (November 25, 2020)—Making Vinyl conferences have been making waves for the last few years, connecting players throughout the entire vinyl production and retailing chain. The latest edition will move online with Making Vinyl Virtual set to take place December 8-9, presenting a two-day line up of speakers and panels, ranging from top mastering engineers holding forth on the intricacies of their work, to renowned packaging designers, to pressing plant operators.
Among the confirmed speakers are mastering engineers Kevin Gray, Scott Hull, Clint Holley, Adam Gonsalves, JJ Golden, and Greg Reierson, who will trade notes on lacquer supplies and cutting trends. In a related session, cutting newcomer Robyn Raymond will share how she attended her first Making Vinyl in 2017 without knowing anyone and launched her career.
Pressing plants Independent Record Pressing, Optimal, Furnace, Gotta Groove, Hand Drawn will hold forth on how to maintain quality control and run a lean operation; and hand-in-hand with that, indie labels speaking about vinyl production include Mute, Merge, Epitaph, Secretly and Coleman.
If you’ve ever wondered how the decisions for what catalog releases get reissued—and how, not to mention on what label—a top choice may be to catch Universal Music VP of A&R Harry Weigner explaining that very process. Along with that, Rhino’s A&R, designer, packaging coordinator, and project manager will dissect the massive LP deluxe boxed set for The Stooges’ Fun House.
On the retail side, Record Store Day co-founder Carrie Colliton will give an update on how the three “Drops” and Black Friday fared; Urban Outfitters and Newbury Comics will discuss vinyl’s growth and special editions; and musician Jeffrey Lewis will share the real-world economics of touring with vinyl vs. CDs.
While speakers and panels are key components of the event, there will also be plenty of opportunities for one-on-one meetings, chat functionality for networking and more. Each day runs from 11 AM – 3 PM, and registration packages start at $95.00.
If you know a sound pro who’s been good this year (OK, as good as they could manage), make sure to check out our annual PSN gift guide, where we review and recommend a slew (or sleigh) of goodies. I’ve always loved the fun lists and have often wished I could tack on a few entries, so this year, I decided to heck with it—here’s a few recommendations of my own.
We’re heavy readers in my house, so a lot of my suggestions are books, starting with a brand-new one—Mirror Sound: A Look into the People and Processes Behind Self-Recorded Music by Spencer Tweedy (Jeff Tweedy’s son) and photographer Lawrence Azerrad ($40/hardcover/Prestel). This lush coffee table book is filled with insights from the likes of Sharon Van Etten, Suzanne Ciani, the late Emitt Rhodes, Mac DeMarco, Tune-Yards and nearly 25 others. While there’s plenty of gear-packed studio shots to pore over, the book takes more of a philosophical bent as it explores why people self-record and the give-and-take of the process.
One of the most talked about audio-related books this year (and with good reason) has been The Last Seat in the House: The Story of Hanley Sound, by John Kane ($35/paperback/University Press of Mississippi). Bill Hanley is revered for having provided audio for the legendary 1969 Woodstock festival, keeping the show rolling for an audience of 400,000. Nine years in the making, Kane interviewed more than 100 performers and audio pros (and had considerable input from Hanley himself), resulting in a solid, informative and entertaining read.
For those who love music writing with a true literary vibe, look no further thanLooking to Get Lost: Adventures in Music and Writing by Peter Guralnick ($30/hardcover/Little, Brown & Co.). Considered by many to be perhaps the greatest chronicler of rock and roots music, Guralnick applies his talents here to profiling the likes of Dick Curless, Doc Pomus, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Solomon Burke, Howlin’ Wolf, Willie Dixon and many others for a dense but often rewarding tome.
Some other good stuff besides books: When we’re not under lockdown, people are still increasingly recording on the go, and having some good portable speakers on hand is a necessity for sharing playback without having to pass headphones around (ewww). In our household, our budding teenage music maker has been using Mackie’s CR3-X multimedia monitors. At 7.8 lbs., they’re portable enough that she can take them to a friend’s house; they have nice clarity and provide solid punch for a speaker that size; and at $99, they cost just enough that they’re treated with care and respect (something teens are not always known for doing).
Last up, IsoAcoustics is known for its studio monitor isolation stands, but one of its latest products is the zaZen isolation platform ($199), primarily intended to decouple stereo components like turntables, tube amps and so forth from the surfaces they sit on. I tried a zaZen I model under both a modern Pro-Ject Debut III and a vintage Technics SL-5, and in both cases, it did a lot to provide acoustic clarity and detail. The bass in Sade’s “Paradise” was suddenly right in the room with me, while the moving parts of The Blue Nile’s “Tinseltown in the Rain” became more defined but no less epic. Measuring 17”x15”, the zaZen I holds up to 25 lbs., while the zaZen II has a capacity of 40 lbs.
Of course, what we all want to give and receive most this year is a little peace and a respite from the difficult times we’ve gone through in 2020. Whatever you celebrate this holiday season, make the most of it, congratulate yourself on getting to this point, take a deep breath (so long as you’re socially distanced!) and look forward to a far better, far brighter and far busier 2021.
Recording microphones have been flying off the shelves at retail all year, but that hasn’t stopped pro-audio manufacturers from introducing a new studio microphone every few weeks this Fall. Some are high-end products aimed at the upper echelons of the recording world, while others are intended for down-and-dirty use in home studios, but they’re all worth finding out about, because every new mic is a potential new tonal flavor for your sonic stew. Sift through our ICYMI rundown of new mics from the last six months and see what’s new!
Aston Element Microphone
Aston Microphones has clearly had a blast this year developing its new Aston Element by having potential users vote on sound samples to determine the way the microphone would ultimately sound. The Element incorporates new capsule technology, a new chassis design, a magnetic pop filter and custom shock mount, and a backlit-LED logo 48V phantom power indicator. According to Aston, the studio microphone has been rated by NTi Audio as the world’s quietest mic and the frequency response, which extends far below 20Hz and above 20kHz, as the widest of any electromagnetic microphone.
Audio-Technica has released new limited-edition AT2020 Series microphones—the AT2020V (standard) and the AT2020USB+V (USB model), each featuring a reflective silver finish. The side-address condensers are equipped with low-mass diaphragms custom-engineered for extended frequency response and transient response. The mics’ cardioid polar pattern reduces pickup of sounds from the sides and rear, improving isolation of desired sound source. All models in the AT2020 mic line are aimed to provide a wide dynamic range and handle high SPLs. Both of the limited-edition V models come with AT8458a shock mounts to attenuate noise, shock, or vibration transmitted through a mic stand, boom or mount.
Aiming to help drummers capture the ultra-low end of their sound, Avantone Pro has introduced Kick, a sub-frequency kick drum microphone that aims to capture the subsonic signature by using a low-frequency driver. The AV-10 MLF sports a single continuous press-formed cone, and in the Kick’s case, the 18 cm cone acts as a microphone element. The microphone itself is of a moving coil dynamic type, with a 50 Hz to 2 kHz frequency response, 6.3 Ω output impedance and figure-eight pattern, plus a male XLR connector.
Beyerdynamic has introduced two new additions to its TG series. The second-generation TG D70 dynamic kickdrum mic is meant for capturing the impact of bass drums and similar low-frequency intensive instruments, while the TG 151 instrument mic is a lean microphone with a short shaft that can be used on everything from snares and toms to brass instruments and guitar amplifiers.
Swedish audio manufacturer IsoVox has introduced IsoMic, a new studio microphone created in conjunction with fellow Swedish company Research Electronics AB, owners of the Ehrlund Microphones brand. The new microphone is based around a triangular capsule with a 7 Hz to 87 kHz frequency range. The IsoMic itself features an aluminum body with glass bead-blasting finish. Its triangular capsule reportedly has a SNR (Signal-to-Noise Ratio) of 87 dBA, DR (Dynamic Range) of 115 dB, and a maximum SPL (Sound Pressure Level) peak performance of 0.5% THD (Total Harmonic Distortion) at 116 dB or 1% THD at 122 dB.
Hot on the heels of introducing its Revelation II studio microphone in the Spring, MXL Microphones has launched its new Revelation Mini FET, aiming to provide intimacy and warmth of a tube mic, but built around a FET circuit with a smaller footprint. MXL’s Revelation Mini FET utilizes a 32 mm center terminating, gold-sputtered capsule combined with a low noise circuit. The mic focuses on the midrange and lower frequencies, resulting in recordings with less hum and more music. Additionally, the inclusion of a three-stage pad (0, -10 dB, -20 dB) is intended to provide the flexibility needed for recording high SPL sources, such as horns and kickdrums. The mic features black chrome accents as well as hand-selected FET and capacitors
First announced earlier in the year, Sanken Microphones is now shipping its new CUX-100K Cardioid or Omnidirectional super wide range professional microphone. The new microphone builds on the history of the company’s Chromatic omni-mode CO-100K, adding the ability to change modes with three settings: Cardioid (Far), Cardioid (Near) and Omni modes. The CUX-100K is intended for a variety of high-resolution, high-sample rate recordings, both in spatial or close-miking applications.
Scope Labs, a new pro-audio manufacturer based in Finland and operating globally, has introduced its first mic, the Periscope Microphone — an omni-condenser microphone with a built-in compressor that gives the mic a unique character. The Periscope is based around an omni capsule followed by a compression circuit intended to highlight textural nuances that the mic captures, with the aim of providing a hyper-realistic sound. The Periscope is manufactured in-house at Scope Labs Ltd. in Finland.
Sennheiser has introduced two new vocal microphones—the MD 435 large-diaphragm microphone, bringing the company’s dynamic MD 9235 capsule to a wired vocal microphone for the first time; and the MD 445, an LDC with a tight super-cardioid pick pattern. Ostensibly intended for live sound use, they reportedly hold their own in the studio as well. The MD 435’s lightweight aluminum-copper voice coil is intended to provide fast transient response, according to Sennheiser, in an effort to provide detailed, transparent sound. The large-diaphragm microphone features dynamics of 146 dB(A) and can handle sound pressure levels of up to 163 dB/1 kHz. The MD 445 is designed with a high-rejection, super-cardioid pick-up pattern, it reportedly offers uses considerable gain before feedback. Dynamics are wide at 146 dB(A) and the microphone is said to be able to handle sound pressure levels of up to 163 dB/1 kHz.
The TF11 is the company’s first large diaphragm phantom-powered condenser mic. The CK12-style edge-terminated capsule is a single membrane version of the capsule featured in the TF51, and the amplifier is a proprietary take on the FET mic amplifier similar to the M60, coupled with a custom large format nickel-iron core transformer by OEP/Carnhill made in the UK. The mic’s through-hole components include UK-made polystyrene film capacitors, Nichicon Fine Gold electrolytic capacitors, and a high-performance, ultra-low-noise JFET amplifier.
New York, NY (November 17, 2020)—A giant among recording engineers, Bruce Swedien died peacefully November 16 at the age of 86. Over the course of a 65-year career in engineering and production, Swedien was nominated for 13 Grammy Awards and received five, including for his work with Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones on 1982’s Thriller, the top-selling album of all-time with an estimated 66 million copies sold.
Jackson and Jones were far from the only major names that Swedien recorded, however. That list, reading like a Who’s Who of 20th Century popular music, includes—to name only a few—Nat King Cole, Natalie Cole, Paul McCartney, Curtis Mayfield, Sergio Mendes, Diana Ross, Barbra Streisand, George Benson, Dinah Washington, Tommy Dorsey, Herb Alpert, Roberta Flack, Rufus & Chaka Kahn, LL Kool J, the Smothers Brothers, Andrew Previn, James Ingram, Eydie Gorme, Joe Williams, Jennifer Lopez, Mick Jagger, B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, Herbie Hancock, Lionel Hampton, Lena Horne, Missing Persons, Jimmy Reed, Patti Austin, Sarah Vaughn, Donna Summer, David Hasselhoff and many others.
Swedien’s recording philosophy was simple, as he told Pro Sound News in 2014: “The top thing is: Music first. Everybody thinks that you listen, that you learn how to make records by listening to records, but you don’t. You have to go out and hear live music in a good acoustic situation, and from there, you build a benchmark for your ear…. You can’t learn how to make records by listening to other people’s records, because then you’ll never be able to express yourself. You’ll always have that other thing; it will be too much of an influence.”
While Swedien had his own influences and mentors in the studio, he found his own way over the course of a considerable career. Born in Minneapolis, MN on April 19, 1934, Swedien began working in local basement studios while still in high school, and married his life-long companion, Beatrice Anderson, not long after graduation. Although he started his own recording studio at age 19 by converting a former movie theater into a facility, he moved with his wife and three kids in 1957 to Chicago to work at RCA Victor recording studios, before joining Bill Putnam’s legendary Universal Recording the following year as a staff engineer.
It was during that time that he truly came into his own as an engineer, he told PSN: “My mentor was Bill Putnam in Chicago. He was marvelous. [Soon] I was recording all the big bands at that point in time: Stan Kenton, Count Basie, Duke Ellington—yeah, everybody.” During his time there, in 1962, Swedien garnered his first Grammy nomination, for engineering Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons’ evergreen single, “Big Girls Don’t Cry.”
It was also during that time that he befriended Jones while the latter was the president of Mercury Records; it was the start of a working and personal friendship that would last the rest of his life. After going independent in 1969, Swedien found himself usually engineering in New York or Los Angeles, and eventually moved to L.A. in 1975. When Jones took on the role of music supervisor for the 1978 movie adaptation of the Broadway musical The Wiz, he recruited Swedien to record the soundtrack with him, marking the first time the pair worked with Michael Jackson, who starred in the film. While the picture flopped, the three soon reunited to record Jackson’s 1979 hit album, Off The Wall, which had four top-10 hits and ultimately sold over 20 million copies. They would go on to create 1982’s Thriller, 1987’s Bad and 1992’s Dangerous, and Swedien won engineering Grammys for all three albums. He additionally nabbed Grammys for his work on two of Jones’ own projects—1990’s Back on the Block and 1996’s Q’s Jook Joint.
Swedien moved to New York in 1994, and then later to Florida. In the 2000s, he wrote three books that extensively detailed his working methods and philosophy behind recording—2004’s Make Mine Music; 2009’s In the Studio with Michael Jackson; and 2013’s The Bruce Swedien Recording Method—and also began teaching master classes around the world with his “In the Studio with Bruce Swedien” workshops. During his career, he was additionally awarded 10 Grammy certificates and two ASCAP Composer Awards, and was also nominated for five TEC Awards. His passing on November 16, 2020 was announced on Facebook by his daughter Roberta, who paid tribute to her father as having had “A long life full of love, great music, big boats and a beautiful marriage. We will celebrate that life. He was loved by everyone.”
New York, NY (November 5, 2020)—Two weeks after a massive three-day fire ravaged the Nobeoka City, China factory of semiconductor producer Asahi Kasei Microsystems, pro-audio manufacturers around the world that are dependent on AKM’s high-end audio chips are still looking for information and determining their next steps.
AKM produces a variety of ADCs, DACs, ASRCs and Receivers for numerous pro-audio and high-end consumer audiophile manufacturers, including Solid State Logic, TASCAM, miniDSP, Merging Technologies, SPL of Germany, Focusrite, RME, Schitt Audio, SMSL, Monoprice and others. All of AKM’s audio-related chips were produced at the now-closed factory.
That all of AKM’s audio-related manufacturing could be wiped out in one fell swoop blindsided many of its customers. “We were unaware that only one facility manufactured the AKM DACs and ADCs—that shows how small our industry really is,” said Hermann Gier, managing partner of SPL of Germany. AKM officials have said publicly they hope to be operational again in six months, and the company is expected to engage independent fabrication houses in an effort to keep production going, but nothing concrete has been announced.
“I still have close to zero information as far as the AKM prognosis is concerned,” said Chris Hollebone, sales and marketing manager at Merging Technologies. “As far as we are concerned, we are taking stock, literally, over the weekend and trying to ascertain whether an order that was about to be delivered was destroyed in the fire or might still make it…. We have enough parts in-house to keep us going for a while, but not knowing when any production might start may cause us headaches down the line. It is a bit like COVID-19—very hard to predict!”
Paul Youngblood, director of Product Marketing at TASCAM, admitted “This has all happened so fast that all we can say is we are still in the process of analyzing the situation.” A spokesperson for RME echoed that sentiment, stating that company was “currently still ascertaining information, and it’s too early for them to comment.”
SPL of Germany’s Gier noted that his company was “fortunately…in a comfortable position,” adding that while it uses AKM converters in a number of products, including its Crimson, Madison, Phonitor range of headphone amps, and the new Marc One interface, among others, SPL has stocks in-house that it estimates will last between six months and a year, depending on the product.
That hasn’t stopped some from trying to capitalize on the situation, however. Gier noted, “It is unfortunate that stock brokers take advantage of situations like this, making it increasingly worse by charging ridiculous prices for remaining parts. We already rejected various unethical offers; now it looks unlikely that our industry can sustain production and keep the prices stable.”
For now, the pro-audio industry awaits news from AKM.
Garden City, ID (November 5, 2020)—Two suspects were arrested Wednesday in connection with a November 1 burglary of $35,000 in gear, instruments and tools from Audio Lab Recording Studio. Most of the stolen items were returned to the Garden City, ID facility.
Following a tip, police arrived at a home on East 40th Street at 11 am and found Jason Daniels, 30, and Amanda Peden, 37, in possession of stolen goods from the heist. Currently being held in Ada County Jail, the pair are expected to be arraigned later today.
Both Daniels and Peden already had outstanding warrants out for them, so while each was charged for the Audio Lab burglary with felony possession of stolen property, they were also separately charged with felony probation violation warrants, and Peden additionally faces warrant charges of felony grand theft and burglary, as well as four misdemeanor charges of petit theft and an additional misdemeanor for commercial burglary.
In a press statement, Lt. Tom Patterson of the Garden City Police Department noted, “The case investigators were excited to be able to return most of the missing property to the victim so quickly. Much of the property had great sentimental value to the victim, which made them irreplaceable. This case is a great example of the police working with the victim to bring the case to a successful conclusion.”
Audio Labs announced the successful recovery of the stolen items on its Facebook page, stating, “We have great news! We want to thank each and every one of you for sharing our posts and spreading this news far and wide. It contributed 100% to the recovery of most of our items. We are lucky to have you all in our family! Also the Garden City Police Department were AMAZING. We can not say enough about how wonderful they were to us during this time. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!!! Justice prevails!”
Some of recording equipment stolen from Audio Lab included a Neumann TLM 49 LDC microphone, a Focusrite ISA One desktop mic preamp and an RCF Evox8 portable PA system. Numerous instruments were also taken, including a ROLI Songmaker keyboard system; numerous guitars including an Epiphone Casino with a Bigsby tailpiece, a 1972 Gibson Les Paul Deluxe and a Line 6 Variax 700 Series; Hohner and Ibanez basses; and a vintage banjo that had belonged to Fulton’s grandfather.
Fulton followed up with Pro Sound News, reporting “we have most of our gear back, including my Epiphone and banjo. Sadly, the 72’ Les Paul Deluxe did not make its way home.”
Garden City, ID (November 3, 2020)—A cornerstone of the Idaho arts scene for 28 years, Audio Lab Recording Studios in Garden City, ID suffered a major setback this weekend, when thieves broke into the facility early Sunday morning and stole an estimated $35,000 worth of audio gear, instruments, tools and more. Police have since taken one suspect into custody and have tracked down a white truck used for the burglary. Most of the stolen items, however, have not been recovered.
Co-founder/co-owner Steve Fulton told Pro Sound News that some of stolen recording equipment included a Neumann TLM 49 LDC microphone, a Focusrite ISA One desktop mic preamp and an RCF Evox8 portable PA system.
Numerous instruments were also taken, including a ROLI Songmaker keyboard system; numerous guitars including an Epiphone Casino with a Bigsby tailpiece, a 1972 Gibson Les Paul Deluxe and a Line 6 Variax 700 Series; Hohner and Ibanez basses; and a vintage banjo that had been handed down through the generations in Fulton’s family.
Fulton arrived at the studio on Sunday to discover the front door had been pried open with a crowbar, and that the thieves had torn through the facility quickly, grabbing high-visibility instruments and gear, fortunately passing over some items that were more valuable.
Further exploration revealed that a studio co-owner’s trailer parked in the adjoining lot had also been broken into; roughly $6,000 in tools were removed from it, though some of them have since been recovered.
Despite the break-in, the studio is still up and running, and now sports a new alarm system. Fulton noted to local station KTVB7, “They didn’t smash things, so I was relieved that they weren’t malicious like that,” later adding, “I feel a little bit sad and concerned for these people. They’re just misguided and making bad decisions.”
Denver, CO (November 2, 2020)—Denver-based live production company Mobile TV Group (MTVG) has added a third FLEX mobile unit to its fleet of 30-plus OB trucks, equipping 47 FLEX with Calrec digital audio products and MTVG’s new Cloud Control capability.
The new 47 FLEX truck, along with its sister vehicles 45 FLEX and 46 FLEX, takes full advantage of Calrec’s Artemis digital audio console, with audio-over-IP capabilities via Calrec’s H2-IP Gateway technology. The new dual-trailer units’ infrastructures are all based around the Grass Valley Kayenne K-Frame X IP switcher, an Evertz 384-port EXE 2.0 IP router and an Evertz Magnum control system, to offer 1080p capacity.
The three latest FLEX units are dual-trailer outfits, with 53-foot expanding trailers (to 16’ 6” wide) for unit A, and 53-foot long (8’ 6” wide) for Unit B VMU trailers. 47 FLEX serves the Marquee Sports Network, home of the Chicago Cubs. Mobile TV Group is also building a 48 FLEX OB truck, which is a 53-foot expandable unit and will also house a Calrec Artemis.
Mobile TV Group predominantly services the U.S. sports markets, with units spread across the country, each run by around 50 engineers. The current count of 30-plus mobile units, including 15 dual-trailer rigs (Unit A and VMU-Unit B) that can run the group’s ‘dual-feed’ production concept — operations for both home and visiting teams from two spaces but with shared technical resources.
Las Vegas, NV (October 16, 2020)—A lifelong engineer who recorded everyone from Frank Sinatra to Whitney Houston over the course of a decades-long career, Don Hahn died on October 10, 2020 at the age of 81. Hahn’s work has been heard the world over, from Star Trek episodes to renowned recordings like the charity single “We Are The World” by USA for Africa.
Born February 22, 1939 in Toronto, Canada, Hahn was raised in Montreal, and studied music at The Radio College of Canada. Moving to New York in the late 1950s, he wound up at the legendary A&R Recording Studios working with the likes of the facility’s co-owner, producer Phil Ramone. While working there, one of his first projects was to engineer The Band’s now-classic debut album, Music from Big Pink, eventually becoming a VP at the celebrated facility.
By the mid-1970s, California was calling, as Hahn went to work with Herb Alpert at A&M Studios. As Hahn related to Mix Magazine in 2015, “I moved to L.A. to work with Herb in February, 1977. I drove across the country with my wife and three kids in a ’60s Cadillac. I started at A&M as senior mixer, then I became director of operations, and then I became vice president and general manager.” That trajectory was only helped further by his engineering Alpert’s comeback single, “Rise,” which went Gold and won the 1979 Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance.
Across his career, Hahn worked with artists such as Frank Sinatra, Count Basie, Quincy Jones, Peggy Lee, Harry Belafonte, Peter Paul & Mary, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Barbra Streisand, Ray Charles, Paul Simon, Judy Collins, Billy Joel, Paul Anka, Stephane Grappelli, Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson, Whitney Houston, B.B. King, Woody Herman, Hugh Masekela, Dionne Warwick, Chet Atkins, The Brothers Johnson, Ricky Martin, Liza Minelli, George Benson, Paul Winter, Shirley Bassey, Dizzy Gillespie, David Sanborn, Bernadette Peters, Chick Corea, Barry Manilow and Dave Grusin, among many others. Hahn also moved into recording for film and television, capturing orchestras for shows like Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager.
Hahn is survived by his wife and childhood sweetheart, Dianne Sebis Hahn; their three children, Dina (Fenton), Darryl and Derek Hahn; grandchildren Dagny and Jack Fenton, Sebastian, Sawyer, and Blake Hahn; and sister Joyce Hahn.
Chicago, IL (October 15, 2020)—Void Acoustics is typically associated with club sound systems, but the owner of a new 56-foot luxury yacht wanted to bring the club with him. The 20-person capacity craft is now a proverbial VIP room on water, outfitted with a sizable Void system thanks to Chicago-based design/installation firm Pineapple Audio
The boat’s owner, preferring to stay anonymous, recalled, “I had another, smaller boat, but I was investing in a new yacht, and a main driver behind this was wanting a larger sound system. I wanted people to hear us coming! I met Matt [Edgar, CEO/president of Pineapple Audio] at another boating event where there was a Void system being used, we hit it off straight away, and as we got chatting, I knew I wanted him and his team to work on the project with me.”
Pineapple Audio may be a new name in the region, but it’s an older company, having recently rebranded from AIS Audio Integration Services—the first dealer and distributor of Void Acoustics products in the United States.
Said Pineapple’s Edgar, “We pride our business on our installations not only improving a space, but also helping to define it, and this was pretty much what our client was looking for. He told us he wanted a club sound system, one that would be the best audio system in Chicago Harbor.”
Edgar and colleague Javier Briseno collectively took on the role of consultant, specifier and installer. “It was important that our client trusted us and that we developed a relationship where we were able to fully understand his goals,” said Edgar. “We approached this as a residential installation. In many ways, it was, as it was for a private client for his privately owned property—which simply happens to be a floating gin palace for him to party on with his friends and family!”
The team opted for a combination of Air Vantage loudspeakers combined with the Cyclone Bass low frequency enclosure for the front deck of the boat, augmented with the IP55 rated Cyclone 10 loudspeakers at rear. The main deck then utilised triangular three-way Tri Motions with a dual 18” Stasys 218 subwoofer.
“We had to work out how to mount the speakers with custom hardware, all of which are on the outside deck of the boat and therefore exposed to the elements,” Edgar recalled. “Each speaker needed to have custom mounts built for it due to the unique mounting locations on the boat’s surface. The client had a professional welding team that met with us to design a 5:1 weight ratio mounting solution for each speaker to withstand the force of the waves and the ocean currents. So, whilst creating a visually and audibly interesting installation, we also had to create customized solutions for the speakers to ensure their longevity over time in a sea-worthy environment.”
“We consulted with the client every step of the way to ensure he was integral to the decision-making process, ensuring he understood why we had specified the products we did,” said Edgar. “It has ended up being a completely feel-good installation and a challenge which we have thoroughly enjoyed working on. We can’t wait to get our boat shoes back on again for another similar installation.”