Backnang, Germany (June 23, 2021)—d&b audiotechnik has unveiled its new D40 four-channel Class D mobile amplifier.
Intended for mobile applications, the D40 is the mobile version of the 40D installation amplifier. Its user interface consists of a 4.3-inch (480 x 272 pix.) color touchscreen and a digital rotary encoder, providing information of the device configuration and status monitoring.
The D40 amplifier has a dynamic range of 116 dB (unweighted) and is designed to drive high-voltage d&b loudspeakers while providing management and protection capabilities. The D40 reaches 180 V peak, reportedly delivering full performance from d&b KSL System loudspeakers and V-Series and Y-Series.
The D40 uses Digital Signal Processing (DSP) to incorporate loudspeaker configurations and user-definable setups, equalization and delay functions. Aiming to achieve a smaller environmental footprint, it also provides advanced voltage management to drive systems that demand less input power as a whole. The D40 includes enhanced energy saving features, power efficiency and Automatic Wake up for environmentally responsible and sustainable Green Building requirements.
Nashville, TN (June 18, 2021)—They say that bad things happen in threes, but for the team behind Brooklyn Bowl Nashville, two was more than enough.
“Our grand opening was scheduled for Friday, March 13, 2020,” recalls Carl Gatti, head of production for the venue. “After the first day of orientation on March 1, we had a horrible tornado come through North Nashville. Structures across the street and behind us were totaled, but our only damage was a broken window, some smashed patio furniture and a knocked-over HVAC on the roof. We encouraged staff to volunteer in the neighborhood for the cleanup, and pushed orientation to the following week—we still had the VIP grand opening party set for Friday night. Thursday, as we were finishing the video install and running some lines for lighting world, we got the call to send staff home because of the coronavirus. We got the double whammy.”
A full 16 months later, Brooklyn Bowl Nashville will hold its long-awaited grand opening June 25 and 26 with a pair of Old Crow Medicine Show concerts, finally seeing the 1,200-capacity venue throw open its doors to the public. Coming 12 years after the original Brooklyn Bowl opened in New York City, the new LEED-certified venue serves up live music, 19 lanes of bowling and a patio overlooking third base of First Horizon Park, the next-door home of the Triple-A Nashville Sounds baseball team.
Tour pros who pull up to the venue can expect to use an audio system outfitted with Avid VENUE S6L-24C consoles at FOH and monitor world, while the crowd is covered via a sizable d&b audiotechnik rig based around Vi8 and Vi12 speakers, Vi SUB and B22 subwoofers, and various Y10p fill speakers; monitoring includes a passel of M4 wedges, V-GSubs and V8 sidefills. Available miking includes usual suspects from Shure, Sennheiser and Audio-Technica, and a variety of Radial DIs are on-hand as well.
There’s also plenty of streaming gear in-house, all of which has been put to good use. “It ended up being our saving grace to get us through this pandemic,” says Gatti. Over the last year, the venue hosted major livestreams by Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Larkin Poe, Maren Morris, Margo Price and Billy Strings among others, and also became a movie studio for a day when Dierks Bentley filmed the video for his hit “Gone” there, using the stage for performance footage while commandeering the kitchen, bar and other areas to film send-ups of classic movies and sitcoms.
The livestreams will continue, but the venue’s looking forward to hosting live audiences—and bowling, which continues during shows. “The pins are on strings so they’re significantly quieter and dampened; you don’t hear pins crashing or being reset while the show is happening,” says Gatti. “Headliners go on around 9:30, play 90 minutes, maybe a two-hour set, and then while people are partying until we close at 2, we do what we call the Disco Load-Out.”
Whitinsville, MA (June 15, 2021)—Eastern Acoustic Works has unveiled its new NTX Series Line Array and SBX Series Subwoofer.
The NTX201L is a 2×10” articulated array with an integrated 1,600 W two-channel amplifier and universal PFC power supply. The NTX210L operates in the 55 Hz – 18 kHz range with a max SPL of 140 dB, and additionally has a 90° horizontal and 12° vertical nominal beamwidth. The NTX201L uses EAW’s OptiLogic technology, providing automatic array self-detection via onboard infrared sensors and accelerometers, and optimization including air loss compensation and more. The NTX series features integrated Dante networking including analog redundancy capability, allowing the analog input to be set to automatically enable if the Dante signal is lost.
Meanwhile, the SBX Series high output subwoofers are also debuting with two models—the SBX218, capable of a total 5,000 watts, and the SBX118, capable of 2,500 watts. Both operate in the 25 Hz–120 Hz frequency range with a max SPL of 141 dB for the SBX218 and 135 dB for the SBX118. Both models feature exclusive 18-inch neodymium woofers with 4-inch voice coils. Designed to complement the NTX210L Line Array, they can support other systems as well.
The SBX Series subs sport hefty grills with large openings to protect the woofers and resist damage, while the large port, inspired by aircraft design, is intended to prevent port noise. EAW’s DynO dynamic optimization processing technology is also applied.
The NXT and SBX series both integrate with EAW’s Resolution 2 software, which provides system optimization, as well as room design and prediction, in a single application.
Valencia, Spain (June 9, 2021)—Spanish manufacturer Equipson’s Work Pro Audio brand has launched its new Entar Series, a range of two-way professional loudspeakers intended for the installation and live sound markets.
The Entar Series includes passive and active speakers in a variety of sizes, all manufactured from high-density plywood, making them suitable for light PA duties, use as stage monitors, side fills and so on.
The Entar Series has four two-way passive loudspeaker models, offering a choice of 8”, 10”, 12” or 15” woofers. Power outputs range from 400 W to 600 W. The series also includes three active models equipped with Class D amplifiers and either 10”, 12” or 15” woofers.
Each of the loudspeakers has a controllable DSP that includes EQ presets, location presets (Pole, Monitor, Bracket), selectable HPF filter, Shelving EQs, limiter and front LED mode (on, off, limiter). Active models also include a volume knob and line/mic and link/mix switches. All loudspeakers in the Entar Series are finished in black and have black steel grilles.
Equipson SA is an international manufacturer, distributor and exporter of technological products for the worldwide entertainment industry. Work Pro products include lighting control solutions, networked audio management systems, sound reinforcement and processing, and lifting equipment for the stage management industry.
“Music has always been part of my life,” says Philippe Depallens, vice president and general manager of Ultimate Ears Pro. Music and the fundamental understanding of its importance—emotionally, culturally and economically—was always present in the small Swiss city where he grew up, as it was home to the famed Montreux Jazz Festival. Great artists from around the world would travel there to create intimate musical moments for rapturous audiences. Perhaps it was only appropriate then that years later, Depallens would champion Ultimate Ears Pro’s in-ear monitors (IEMs)—products intended to both help musicians create those live moments, and imbue even casual listeners with that same sense of aural intimacy.
Fascinated tinkering with audio gear at a young age, Depallens went on to apprentice in electrical engineering before eventually earning an engineering degree and heading overseas. “Moving to the U.S. right after school continued my exposure to the diversity and richness of a global perspective,” he feels. While he joined Logitech—itself a Swiss entity—in the 1990s, it wasn’t until the consumer electronics powerhouse acquired Ultimate Ears in 2008 that Depallens finally began working in pro audio.
“When I joined Ultimate Ears Pro, I was able to combine my passion for music, my engineering knowledge and everything that I had previously learned at Logitech about creating meaningful and impactful experiences around our products,” he says today. “This was well before the global headphone revolution was underway, and way before the dominance of true wireless. Actually, this was during the early stages of the smartphone, when everyone was predicting the imminent death of the PC. I volunteered to oversee the acquisition because I knew that I could retain Ultimate Ears’ pro-audio roots and heritage while helping commercialize the core in-ear technology that is now ubiquitous today.”
Since then, both Depallens and Ultimate Ears Pro have re-envisioned the company’s approach to custom IEMs; whereas once it focused almost exclusively on product specs, today, the brand takes a larger view of the customer experience, and has put considerable effort into simplifying and accelerating the customization process. Early on, that meant creating mobile demo stations that allowed users to discover their preferred sound signature. Later, the company pioneered 3D scanning and 3D printing for custom in-ears—a move that reduced lead times from weeks to days. All the while, Ultimate Ears Pro continued to evolve its product designs based on user feedback, aiming to make its in-ears as reliable and sweatproof as possible.
With Ultimate Ears Pro well-established in the live sound industry, Depallens looked to put that brand awareness to use. “We fostered very different types of partnerships to expand the market and to cater to the needs of more pro audio segments,” he recalls. “We were the first to partner with Capitol Studios to address the needs of recording engineers. Inevitably, we helped expand the idea that in-ears are for everyone, not just for top touring musicians.”
Of course, bringing a product to “everyone” means being accessible to them; in that regard, Depallens notes, “We are lucky to be based in Southern California, very close to our customers and partners; that helps us stay grounded and connected. We also have the luxury of being part of Logitech, a multinational team with a huge global footprint that provides access to technology, engineering capability and operational competencies around the globe. By combining these two aspects, we are able to organize around obsessing over the customer and their experiences, no matter where they are located.”
The latest result of the company’s fixation is its new UE FITS true wireless instant fit custom earbuds line for consumers, which Depallens cites as an example of the brand’s focus on continuous process improvement. Meanwhile, for pros, the company now offers a line of premium UE CSX custom-made earphones that include an at-home Fit Kit to capture the user’s earprint in a few minutes. Taking custom-fitting processes created for pro IEMs and adapting them to a consumer experience for the UE FITS and CSX lines is part of a larger remit to ultimately help raise the bar—and consumer expectations—for all listeners when it comes to in-ear audio experiences. “Just like how Mercedes invests in Formula One to push the limits of performance, safety and technological advancement for all cars, we see a very clear parallel in what we do for experiencing music,” says Depallens. “The developments pioneered onstage radiate out for all music lovers.”
New York, NY (May 28, 2021)—On the other side of the world, the concert business is moving full-speed ahead. Case in point: New Zealand has been allowing major events to take place, such as when homegrown rock band Six60 held a concert for 50,000 fans at Eden Park stadium in April. That’s what happens when your entire country has had just 26 COVID-19 fatalities to date. In the United States, however, the pandemic has taken a far more deadly toll, resulting in a live events industry that is now starting to reawaken as the first post-pandemic tours head out in June.
The spring season, usually marked by summer tours gearing up and outdoor venues tackling maintenance issues before the crowds return, has been quiet other than a small stream of artists and festivals putting dates on sale, usually for August or September. Current gigs—and the work they bring for audio pros and production companies—are still few and far between, even as a brighter future draws nearer by the day.
“There are still a lot of unknowns from where we’re sitting now,” said Shaun Clair, vice president of sales at Clair Global, “but we also see a lot of hope in what’s to come. We see an immense amount of opportunity ahead.”
The hard part for the touring industry remains getting to the point where shows return. Even with the fall season starting to heat up due to festival and tour announcements, there’s still the thorny issue of making a date stick; plenty of tours announced during the pandemic have already been pushed to next year, and more than a few venues that are hosting concerts this summer expect to be operating with skeleton staffs until absolutely necessary.
Adding to the confusion for production personnel is the lack of national guidelines on COVID-19 precautions for large gatherings. Every city and state has different mandates for appropriate capacities, social distancing, mask-wearing and more, turning each show on a tour into a collection of moving targets in terms of safety measures, potential ticket sales and more.
While COVID has made touring far more complicated, that isn’t stopping some acts from heading out. The Tedeschi-Trucks Band springs back into action starting June 11 with a show in Jacksonville, FL—the first of 30 dates scheduled through the end of July, followed by two weeks off and then more touring. Production manager/FOH engineer Brian Speiser readily acknowledges the road will be a different place for the hard-touring group this year.
“We’re not taking the full band and crew out,” he said. “We’re going to do a much more scaled-down, socially distanced show outdoors, so we’ve got half the band and a little more than half of the crew. We’re all going to hop onto one bus, throw a bunch of band gear in a trailer on the back, head out as inexpensively as possible and try to make something happen. We’re going out there in the safest, most responsible and least expensive way we possibly can, to do shows in a way that is not going to get people sick.”
Numerous executives at national and regional event sound providers pointed to vaccinations as crucial to the industry making a resurgence. “If you’re not getting vaccinated, you’re not getting hired; it’s that simple,” said one, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “Whether you want to get [vaccinated] or not is your business, but considering how bad the last year has been, it’s actually surprising the number of people I talk to who haven’t gotten [vaccinated] yet. It takes five weeks for the shots to reach full efficacy, so if they want a chance to do something if an opportunity comes up, the ones holding off are almost too late already.”
Band and crew vaccinations are already in full effect on the Tedeschi-Trucks tour, said Speiser, who views the precautions from an unusually open-eyed perspective. “To supplement my income during the pandemic, I worked for a company that does COVID testing for the movie and television industry, so I spent six months driving around to actors and crew people’s homes, administering nose swabs and then dropping them off at a lab,” he recounted. “Having done that, for me, the safety issue is very important, plus I’ve also seen people who are vaccinated who have still gotten sick. The idea of now getting on a bus with a bunch of people, traveling around the country, going to places where there’s going to be a lot of unmasked people and cities where they have looser restrictions than they do here in New York is pretty scary.”
The production’s overriding concern isn’t merely to keep people on the tour safe, but also to ensure that they don’t inadvertently bring COVID-19 from one tour stop to the next and endanger the venue’s personnel. With that in mind, the Tedeschi-Trucks Band has developed a specific COVID-compliance rider that it has forwarded to all stops on the way, said Speiser.
“The rider lays out the minimum of what we expect to see when we show up to the venue— nobody is allowed access to certain areas, everyone has to be masked, that kind of thing,” he said. “Most of these venues we’re playing are places that were set up to do shows in a COVID world. When they get the rider, a lot of them are telling us, ‘Yeah, we will be going even further than what you’re requesting.’ Of course, there’s a few who take a look at the paperwork and are like, ‘That’s cool that you have that, but you don’t have to worry about it so much here.’ And our response has to be, ‘We’re worrying about this everywhere. Don’t think that just because you don’t think it’s important that we’re going to forego these restrictions. This is how we’re going to tour.’”
As vaccination rates go up and the number of new COVID cases continues to decrease, states are loosening venue capacity restrictions. Unless they get derailed by spikes in the number of cases, the fall festival and tour dates being announced now are likely an accurate assessment of when most regions will see live event work ramp back up. Once shows resume in force, it’ll be time to buckle up—next year is expected to be a free-for-all, with pent-up consumer demand for concerts being answered by a touring business more than ready to deliver. “2022 looks to be an incredible year,” Shaun Clair confirmed, “and obviously, we’re all just really excited to get back to work and start doing what we love.”
New Haven, CT (May 25, 2021)—When the CT Tennis Center on the Yale University campus became the Westville Music Bowl, changes were no doubt in store for the 10,000-capacity venue. Chief among them was to ensure the site’s ability to cover all visitors with sound, and to that end, the Bowl recently became the first arena worldwide to install a d&b audiotechnik J-Series loudspeaker system through the company’s re-manufactured certified pre-owned (CPO) program.
The Westville Music Bowl has a strong green initiative and uses solar power during the day (2,000 seats were removed for solar panels); all beverage cups are bio-degradable, and the entire facility recycles. All vendors engaged in the venue are asked to follow green initiatives, and so a re-manufactured PA falls in line with that mindset.
According to d&b, the certified pre-owned (CPO) program was created to prolong the life of a loudspeaker—while also conserving natural resources and reducing waste—by returning a used product to at least its original manufactured performance and quality standards.
DNR Laboratories of Watertown, CT installed the CPO-J. “Due to timing of the CPO J-Series becoming available, it was exactly what our client required,” states Donnie Gamsjager, president, DNR. The complete system contains 28 x CPO J8/J12 (14 per side), 12 x Y8 (outfills – 6 per side), 8 x Ti10P (front fills), and 8 x SL-GSUB. Amplifiers are 30D installation models for all loudspeaker systems except for the subwoofers which are on D80 amplifiers. A dedicated computer running d&b R1 Control software is used for easy-to-work control for audio distribution of the entire system.
Stakeholders in the venue are reportedly pleased with the results, as Tim Burke, Production Manager, noted, “We’ve done five shows over two weekends at Westville, and I have to say I am thrilled with the performance of this J-Series rig.”
Russia (May 24, 2021)—The pandemic has shuttered venues for months worldwide, but as international vaccination rates begin to climb, slowly but surely, live sound and events are beginning to bounce back. That includes the music scene in Russia, where acoustic-rock band Affinage recently embarked on a tour of its homeland to support its latest studio album.
For much of the tour, the band carried an Allen & Heath dLive CDM32 MixRack with a laptop running dLive Director software for use at various stops. The group upped the ante, however, when it reached Moscow’s Izvestiнa Hall; there, local hire company Jamtech was brought in to supply the sound and lighting equipment for the biggest show of the journey.
“The band have a busy touring schedule that takes them across the country, and they’re usually comfortable running their dLive CDM32 system for consistency from show to show,” explained Andrey Balakhmatov from Jamtech. “However, for bigger shows, the band prefer to hire in a larger dLive system, which is simple for us as the show file is easily transferred between the systems.”
A dLive S7000 Surface was partnered with a DM64 MixRack to handle both FOH and MON duties from one system, with engineer Alexey Krivolapov tackling the mix.
“We’re always happy to deploy dLive consoles for events” Balakhmatov added. “The system has enough tools to solve any problem, it’s quick to navigate, and it’s easy to configure for the operator. Our engineers love the sound of the mixer.”
Wichita Falls, TX (March 24, 2021)—CCM artist Kim Walker-Smith has been hitting the road to promote her latest live release, Wild Heart, with a series of “Worship Nights” mini-tours of large churches and Christian universities, all of which have been sold out to half-capacity per COVID protocols. Providing audio for the productions has been Wichita Falls-based Front Porch Productions.
For the tours, Front Porch Productions has been supplying a pair of DiGiCo SD12 96 FOH and monitor consoles sharing an SD-Rack equipped with 32-bit “Ultimate Stadius” mic pres on an Optocore fiber-optic loop, according to Front Porch co-owner Aaron Talley, who has also been serving as the monitor engineer for each of the four-show runs.
The front-of-house mix has been tackled by Daniel Ellis, who notes he’s been using DiGiCo fairly exclusively for a while now: “The SD12 is perfect for what we do with the number of inputs and busses it has, and its compact size helps us easily fit our touring package into one bus trailer. I’ve had a Waves server at front of house for Kim’s latest tours, but I’ve kept most of the processing on the console, which has sounded great. And Aaron and I have both been using DiGiGrid MGB MADI interfaces to get signals into REAPER for recording her shows.”
“Macros on the SD12 are also amazing,” he adds. “I don’t have any special ones that haven’t already been talked about a hundred times, but they’ve been raved about because they are so helpful to have in your workflow. One of my favorites is the one that bypasses all Waves plugins. I’ll do that every now and then during soundcheck just to make sure I’m not going down a plugin rabbit-hole and making the mix worse!” he laughs. “Also, I really love using MIDI to trigger things. It’s such a simple pleasure to fire a snapshot that can play a specific song on my laptop and turn up a fader without touching it.”
At the other end of the fiber loop, Talley, who is manning the monitor SD12 96 console, reports that the tours’ relatively sparse input count of only 36 channels is complemented by an equally modest count of six stereo IEM mixes on stage: two for vocalists, plus keys, electric guitar, bass, and drums. “This has been the lowest number of mixes that I think we’ve ever had, and the console can obviously handle much more thrown at it, but I’ve been really happy with how it’s performed. I’ve only used the desk’s onboard processing on my end—EQ, compression, and reverb—and the sound quality has been top-tier. Daniel and I have also really enjoyed the Con Send and Receive function on our consoles; we use it all the time and it’s an absolute necessity for us.”
St. Louis, MO (March 22, 2021)—Event production company Logic Systems has taken ownership of the first all-black PK Sound Trinity line array system. It first obtained the system last summer and soon after put it to work on a variety of events.
Chip Self, founder and owner of Logic Systems, noted, “PK’s Trinity robotic line source series is a game-changer in terms of both audio quality and real-time remote coverage control, offering unparalleled flexibility and efficiency. We’ve built our reputation by delivering exceptional live events for our clients, and PK’s technological and operational advantages help us set the bar even higher.”
The Logic team debuted the system with a full deployment in the parking lot of St. Louis’s Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre for Live Nation’s Live from the Drive-In concert series. The inaugural weekend saw the system anchoring safe, socially distanced performances by the likes of country superstar Brad Paisley and hometown hero Nelly.
“We had a huge space to cover for the Live from the Drive-In series,” notes Self. “The last row of cars was over a quarter-mile from the stage. The ability to easily articulate vertical and horizontal coverage angles allowed us to very accurately cover the audience without spilling onto adjacent buildings and reflecting back into the listening area. We’re excited about the potential of the systems and eager to get back to producing exceptional projects.”
Darryl Ross, senior application support for PK Sound, offered, “We want to redefine the relationship between manufacturer and end-user in our industry. The PK Alliance is built on a foundation of cooperation and trust between likeminded companies that are passionate about technology and dedicated to delivering unforgettable experiences to clients and their audiences. Chip and his team have an intricate knowledge of our industry and approach their work with the highest possible level of expertise. We’re very excited to work with Logic Systems and all of our partners in the PK Alliance as the industry we love resurges in the coming months and beyond.”