North Bay, ON, Canada (June 16, 2021)—Canadore College, an applied arts and technology school 180 north of Toronto, is using a new SSL Origin analog in-line mixing console to teach students the similarities and differences between music production hardware and software.
“A lot of our students are used to using the computer and have never worked on a console; they’re not familiar with what a console is capable of,” says Ben Leggett, professor and coordinator on the new two-year Recording Engineering – Music Production program at Canadore College. Leggett is a Juno Award-nominated producer, engineer and mixer working in music production and film post production, and also has his own recording studio in North Bay.
“I wanted to get the Origin because of the EQ on each channel, and how you can shape the sound with the four bands, just like you can in the computer,” he says. “So we’re able to show students how to apply EQ manually with a physical piece of equipment. Another big thing is getting students to understand how the routing works, and how it’s very much the same in a DAW and a console, and having that lightbulb go off.”
For a generation of students that has only ever worked on a computer, the console also enables faculty members to highlight some of the differences between analog and digital audio processing. “Sonically, you can crank the console’s EQ knob all the way and it still sounds good, as opposed to digital, which sometimes doesn’t do the same thing,” says Leggett.
Plus, he says, “The sonic quality that the console will add when you push a signal into it is different. Depending on what you’re going for, you can push the signal louder into the SSL console and it will give you a different sound than pushing it into a computer program.”
The Origin was part of a complete studio package supplied by Studio Economik in Montreal, including an SSL Fusion processor. Leggett and other faculty members at the college installed, integrated and commissioned the new music production studio shortly before the program launched in September 2020. The new control room is housed in a former television broadcast studio on the campus that the college enlarged during summer 2020 to provide space for the recording engineering program.
Munich, Germany (June 14, 2021)—With the amount of cutting-edge AV technology being used in modern houses of worship, sometimes it’s almost like going to church in a nightclub. For International Christian Fellowship parishioners in Munich, however, that’s exactly where they go to worship, as their Sunday services are held at Neuraum, a 2,400-capacity nightclub. That, in turn means that the church’s production team loads-in and tears down its system every week, including an Allen & Heath dLive system in use since the beginning of 2019.
Marc Deisen, ICF Munich’s head of audio, noted, “Since we set up and tear down every Sunday, we needed a lightweight and flexible system; we also wanted a straightforward and intuitive control surface.” As a result, the team employs a dLive S5000 Surface and a DM48 MixRack, chosen for their analog-like signal flow. Additional onstage I/O is provided by a pair of daisy-chained DX168s, and a 128-channel Dante card provides digital I/O for wireless microphones, virtual soundchecks and general audio distribution throughout the venue.
The ICF Munich setup is often moved to larger venues for the major Christian holidays of Christmas and Easter. For last year’s Christmas Celebrations, they moved to the Munich Showpalast. Due to the distance between the stage and the mixing position, two fibreACE cards were deployed to provide a secure fiber optic connection between the DM48 and the S5000 at FOH. “The fibreACE expansion cards were plug and play, and in general the dLive system has always performed solidly,” reports Deisen.
Going by the recommendation of the Munich team, another International Christian Fellowship branch—ICF Herrenberg—opted for a similar setup in 2020, partnering an Allen & Heath dLive C3500 Surface at FOH with a CDM48 MixRack onstage. “As a test setup, we had been given an Allen & Heath Avantis in addition to the dLive, but we needed 10 stereo in-ear mixes for the band, various subgroups and three more aux paths for the stream, as well as a matrix. The Avantis is a great console, but due to the amount of output paths, we finally decided on the dLive,” explains head of audio Phillipp Reineboth.
As in Munich, the services at ICF Herrenberg are supervised by volunteers from the congregation, most of whom do not have a professional technical background. “I wanted to provide our audio team with a well-configured setup that can also be operated by lay people,” Reineboth said. Accordingly, ICF Herrenberg chose a dLive C3500 system based on positive feedback from ICF Munich.
This article originally appeared in the June 2021 issue of Pro Sound News. Innovations is a monthly column in which different pro audio manufacturers are invited to discuss the thought process behind creating their products of note.
When I was approached by Pro Sound Newsto compose a manufacturer-focused article on the birth of a new or challenging technology, it immediately struck me just how far we’ve come at Avid with a product concept called “Unified Platform.” As with many concepts in product manufacturing, ideas as broad and sweeping as Unified Platform are often times driven out of necessity, but also fueled by a vision of a better experience for everyone involved—manufacturer, reseller, vendor and, of course, end user. Unified Platform certainly fits that billing.
The first steps were taken with Avid’s acquisition of Euphonix in 2010. The decision was made to continue the development of an upcoming Euphonix hardware concept and deploy it as the core design for Avid mixing consoles. For the first time at the company, a centralized group of engineers and specialists would provide direction for all audio mixing products—recording, live sound and broadcast—all using a common hardware design.
The end result is the S6 line of DAW control surfaces and the S6L line of live sound console systems. The key thing to realize in the S6 and S6L control surfaces is that under the hood, they use the same fader topology, the same switches and assemblies, and the same OLED hardware and interconnection concept, all in a common modular form factor. What results is a unified design process, meaning that the company can design, engineer, manufacture and QC one thing—and then assemble it into different console and system sizes across a broad swath of markets.
This was not a simple process. It’s not hyperbole to state that the future of the Avid’s entire live sound product line was placed squarely in the hands of those of us tasked with transforming a Euphonix hardware design into a VENUE mixing console. I’ll give away the punch line and tell you, it was the most challenging work of my career to date, but what sprang from our approach was truly groundbreaking and transformative not only for Avid, but also for the live sound industry. The live sound eco-system would be fully realized with the emergence of the “VENUE S6L Unified Platform.”
The results speak for themselves. Within 24 months of its launch—less than the traditional time needed to conceive and bring a single mixing product to market—the platform launched five different control surfaces, three different mix engines and multiple I/O offerings that included numerous expansion cards and even the inclusion of the first third-party hardware with the addition of Waves Sound Grid Servers to the Unified Platform menu. The systems also fully embraced open-standard AVB networked audio, allowing 128-track Pro Tools playback and recording for all systems on the platform via simple Ethernet connection.
The benefits of Unified Platform are multi-fold:
For the resellers, upon launch, they immediately have product offerings that span a wide breadth of pricing and capability without having to wait for additional products in the line to trickle out over extended periods of time.
For vendors, they can have incredibly flexible inventory that will have a much longer lifespan, challenging traditional expectations for obsolescence, and which all exists under a single upgrade path for hardware and software.
For end users, they have incredible flexibility in terms of scaling and rescaling their systems, eliminating the concept of console “classes” or “tiers” in that, with Unified Platform, there is zero difference in build quality, sound quality and user interface for hardware and software.
Also, when improvements are made to one product via a software or hardware upgrade, the entire line is improved in one fell swoop, as was recently experienced with our landmark VENUE 7 software release. There’s now a singular path of development as opposed to multiple teams developing multiple tiers or classes of consoles.
The market has responded very positively to the model, with S6L surpassing the original VENUE revenue numbers within just a couple of years in the marketplace. Of course, the final validation for the Unified Platform is in witnessing competing manufacturers adopting the platform concept in their language and their product releases, much as they did with plug-in processing and multi-track recording—all hallmarks of the VENUE legacy. What a ride it has been. Now, what’s next?
Robert Scovill is a multi award-winning concert sound engineer and senior live sound specialist at Avid Technologies.
Detroit, MI (June 2, 2021)—Audio Engineers of Detroit has opened a new recording studio offering commercial voiceover, podcast, music recording, stereo, surround and immersive mixing, audio restoration, location sound and audio-visual services, with a 32 channel Neve Genesys Black console as its centerpiece.
“Some years ago, I had the pleasure of mixing on a vintage Neve console and fell in love with the sound,” says Mike Kinnie, founder and vice president of Audio Engineers of Detroit. “We wanted that Neve sound for the new studio and we also wanted a console that had DAW control, so it made sense to us, after researching different consoles, to choose the AMS Neve Genesys Black console.
“It does make life easier, and it makes a difference knowing that you have options in terms of the way you want to work — traditional or in the box. Most of our clients prefer ‘in the box’, but it is great that we can give them a choice. Having this console will also help our students develop their engineering skills — I know it has already helped develop mine.”
Kinnie, who began his career in live sound before moving into studio recording, runs Audio Engineers of Detroit with his wife and company president, Robin Kinnie. The company also offers an education program that teaches students the skills and techniques needed to follow a career in professional audio.
Robin Kinnie regularly speaks on amplifying diverse voices and serves as the Detroit Chapter head of Soundgirls.org. Motor City Woman Studios, of which Robin is also President, aims to amplify the voices of women and tackle themes of diversity and inclusion.
The couple opened their first studio in 2016 after realizing the need for a quality internet broadcasting voiceover facility that was both affordable and accessible. “The studio started as a digital radio station and has now expanded to producing podcasts, audiobooks and voiceovers,” Robin explains. “We also offer digital courses, workshops and partner with the community.”
Audio Engineers of Detroit is a separate venture that has taken six years to bring to fruition. Choosing equipment for the new studio required careful thought because it had to fulfil two functions – commercial and educational. The Kinnies were guided by Dave Malekpour of Pro Audio Design, who advised them throughout the project.
“Working with Dave and his team has been a pleasure,” Mike says. “They have achieved and exceeded our goals by helping us to purchasing the right equipment for our needs. I first came across Dave in 2003 when I read an article, he wrote on how to set up a recording studio. We didn’t actually meet until 2018 and it was only when we began putting this studio together that I ran across that article and realized the Dave that I was working with was the same man who wrote the article that was so inspirational to me.”
Wellington, New Zealand (May 10, 2021)—New Zealand has one of the lowest incidences of COVID-19 in the world, with only 2,644 cases to date. As a result, large-scale events have resumed in the island nation, including the recent annual Passionate Women’s Conference—the country’s largest event for Christian women. Australian sound engineer Rich Bryant usually travels to Wellington to mix the event broadcast, but due to travel restrictions, he wound up mixing a broadcast feed from his studio in Sydney just over 1,400 miles away.
The event, held in the Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington, included music, worship and spoken word presentations, so Bryant had his hands full. Conferring with Andrew Crawford at Australian A&H distributor TAG about how to approach a remote mix, he opted to work with Wellington-based Lampros Sound, which provided an Allen & Heath dLive DM64 MixRack at the venue that Bryant could control remotely from his Sydney studio. The DM64 was fitted with a Dante card for interfacing with the onsite AV network, plus a Waves card for virtual soundcheck and additional output processing.
The DM64 was connected to a dLive S7000 control surface in Sydney via a secure VPN connection, managed by Riverbed’s SD-WAN service, using the integrated network ports on both units. Luke Sheaves of Riverbed was on hand to provide IT and network support in Sydney, with Alistair Lambie of Lampros Sound monitoring the connection on the New Zealand end.
Audio and video monitoring of the broadcast feed in Sydney was provided via an SRT stream to Bryant’s iPad, arriving with under 150 ms of latency. Another tool put to use was Audiomovers software, fed by the Waves card in the DM64, which was used to monitor the Solo/PAFL bus with a latency of 200ms. The Intercom Unity app, running on a second iPad, was used to handle comms between Bryant and the technical team in the venue.
Back onsite in Wellington, another DM64 – configured for multi-surface operation – was used to handle both FOH and MON duties, with a pair of S7000 control surfaces deployed for engineers Andrew Forde (MON) and Simon Faisandier (FOH). Two DX168 expanders were added to feed performer IEMs and provide additional AV I/O, with Waves and Dante cards utilized for audio transport and additional processing.
“What started as an ambitious endeavor ended as a resounding success” reflects Rich. “It was a truly ground-breaking weekend, and we couldn’t have done it without the dLive, and the support provided by TAG, Lampros Sound and Riverbed.”
Rastatt, Germany (April 28, 2021)—Lawo has introduced a “second-generation” mc²36 audio production console based around a dual-fader operating bay featuring 48 faders in the same space as a 32-fader board. The update is seen as a move to broaden the console’s appeal for theater, houses of worship, corporate, live and broadcast audio applications.
With DSP more than doubled from its predecessor, the new mc²36 with built-in A__UHD Core functionality, so that all developments in the future will happen on a single, unified platform, and Lawo continues to provide production file compatibility between all mc² consoles. For instance, a production file from an mc²36 can be used on an mc²96 for post-production.
With the A__UHD Core, the new console offers 256 processing channels, available at both 48 and 96 kHz, and natively supports ST2110, AES67, RAVENNA, and Ember+. It provides an I/O capacity of 864 channels, with local connections that include three redundant IP network interfaces, 16 Lawo-grade mic/line inputs, 16 line outputs, eight AES3 inputs and outputs, eight GPIO connections, and an SFP MADI port.
Operating and visualizing features include Button-Glow and touch-sensitive rotary controls, color TFT fader-strip displays, LiveView video thumbnails, and 21.5” full HD touchscreen controls. Its built-in full loudness control is compliant with the ITU 1770 (EBU/R128 or ATSC/A85) standard, featuring peak and loudness metering which can measure individual channels as well as summing busses. The new mc²36 offers integration with a variety of third-party solutions including Waves SuperRack SoundGrid without the need for additional screens or control devices required.
The new mc²36 makes use of Lawo’s IP Easy functionality, which in turn is based around the company’s proprietary HOME management platform for IP-based media infrastructures. With IP Easy, the console automatically detects new devices and makes them available at the touch of a button. It also manages IP addresses, multicast ranges and VLANs, and includes security features like access control and quarantining of unknown devices to protect a network.
Manila, Philippines (April 26, 2021) — Favor Church in Manila, Philippines has been using a Waves eMotion LV1 Live Mixer to mix the church’s live services, at front of house and monitors, as well as for streaming its live online broadcasts.
“We pivoted quite quickly when COVID-19 hit,” recalled senior pastor James Aiton. “We had to take our church online, and we are also planning to try and get into a larger venue once the pandemic is over…. We needed a cost-effective system that we could copy and transport to future new campuses, both in the Philippines and other locations around the world. Choosing eMotion LV1 has been a great asset in helping our church, both in our physical service and our online service.”
Since the specific installation at Favor Church includes three LV1 consoles in a shared network setup, Waves’ application specialists helped the church’s technical staff plan the system’s design. FOH/Broadcast Engineer Dan Blaza explained, “We’re using three sets of 64-channel eMotion LV1’s for FOH, broadcast, and monitor mix. Two DSPRO StageGrid 4000 I/Os situated at the monitor position beside the stage, are shared via IO Sharing on the SoundGrid network connected with Cat 6 80-meter LAN cables to our FOH and broadcast mix LV1 systems, with 40 inputs and 24 outputs. We’re also using a Waves SoundGrid Extreme Server-C for redundancy, with a DSPRO StageGrid 1000 for added I/O and headphone monitoring, as well as for our separate broadcast mix. The DSPRO StageGrid 1000 is also being used for additional inputs and outputs for nearfield speaker monitoring and final mix output for our broadcast.”
Blaza added, “We may be moving between venues in the near future, so the LV1’s small footprint and portability gives us a future-proof setup. Another benefit is that our musicians can easily mix their own IEM wirelessly through Waves’ MyMon Personal Mixing App, which gives them independent on-stage direct control of their monitor mix.”
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.”
Canada (March 24, 2021)—Canada-based Dome Productions has unveiled Gateway, a new all-IP SMPTE 2110 OB truck outfitted with a Calrec Apollo digital audio console that is currently being used for TSN and Rogers SportsNet on their hockey broadcasts.
“We’re excited to take advantage of optimized and new workflows in all formats — HD, 3G and UHD. Now, virtual paths can be dynamically connected to change workflows depending on the show requirements,” said Al Karloff, manager of engineering services, Dome Productions.
Dome has been using Calrec consoles for 20 years and all different generations of the consoles are still active in the company’s fleet. The Apollo was commissioned by Canada-based SC Media.
Jean Daoust, SC Media founder and president, says, “The Apollo was the only console that met Dome’s requirements; no other model could offer a surface with 144 faders, or the mix power of over 1,000 input channels. We’re proud to be partnered with companies such as Calrec and Dome Productions. The newfound addition of Calrec to our AV portfolio has opened new doors for us in the broadcast media vertical, as well as provided incredibly innovative solutions to our already valued customers. The Gateway truck is an incredible project, and we look forward to building upon this success for all parties involved.”
Bogotá, Columbia (March 10, 2021)—Like many TV shows, X Factor Colombia 2020 was interrupted by the pandemic last spring, part way into production. The show resumed after eight months, however, returning last October with strict precautions in place that ran throughout the rest of the season, which wrapped up at the end of the year. Throughout it all, freelance audio engineer Richard Cardenas handled live mixing duties for the show inside RCN Televisión’s studios in Bogotá.
Cardenas opted for an Allen & Heath dLive mixing system on the show, centered around a CDM48 MixRack controlled from a 36-fader S7000 surface. He managed all the contestants’ IEM mixes, plus FOH and monitor mixes for the contestants, judges and audience. The audio configuration in the studio consisted of an LR stereo matrix out, a matrix mono sub out, stereo aux mixes feeding side fills, a mono floor wedge setup and a stereo aux mix for the judges’ side-fill. For the earlier recordings, an audience PA mix was also fed to a stereo matrix. A DX012 12-output expander was employed to provide additional AES feeds to a 96 kHz loudspeaker management system. Cardenas also used a Dante 64×64 card to feed the broadcast desk using dLive’s tie lines feature, plus a superMADI card for backup recording to a Pixel Power system.
Cardenas first encountered the system at a festival in 2019, where he mixed multiple Latin Grammy winners a few months before being approached to work on the TV show. “With dLive, I really felt like I was mixing rather than trying to figure out how to operate the desk,” he said, “so when I had the opportunity to work on X Factor Colombia, I asked RCN Television for a dLive system. We only had two weeks between delivery and rehearsals, but I had excellent support from Allen & Heath’s specialist in Colombia, Ivan Sanchez.”
All that allowed Cardenas to streamline his system for the broadcasts: “The DEEP processing emulations are excellent and sound very close to the real thing. The same goes for the FX. The EQs and preamps also sound excellent and dLive’s very low latency and 96kHz processing set it apart from the rest.”