New York, NY (March 8, 2021)—Allen & Heath’s new DT Preamp Control app now allows the company’s Dante I/O expanders to be used within any Dante audio network, not just ones involving Allen & Heath mixing systems.
The free application, compatible with Windows and macOS, allows control of multiple DT168 and DT164-W expanders connected to Dante-equipped third-party digital mixers and sound management systems, allowing their use in a variety of systems in live, broadcast, install and studio applications.
The portable DT168 with carry handle and the wall-mount DT164-W are intended for use in distributed networks where high-channel-count Dante or AES67 I/O is required. The IEC armored cable or DC power options for the DT164-W also allow it to be used for in-wall mounting and stage pockets in permanent installations.
“Since the launch of these products, we have received numerous requests for extending their use beyond Allen & Heath mixing systems,” says Martijn Verkerk, technical marketing manager at Allen & Heath. “Houses of worship, university campuses, and arenas have all showed an interest in deploying our Dante solutions alongside their existing audio system, and DT Preamp Control enables that.”
The current worldwide pandemic has sent musicians and audio experts scrambling to devise solutions to challenges created by social distancing. Recording music is normally an intimate undertaking with others, but that intimacy now directly contradicts safety guidelines. Thus, studios are asked to answer the question: “how can we work together while staying safe?”
Not long ago, this would have been a difficult question to answer. Studio level audio meant not only top-notch gear, but also thousands of feet of heavy, specialized audio cables. Moving or extending such systems risked compromises in performance and reliability – and came at no small cost.
Fortunately, our current challenge occurred at a time during when the audio world has already been transformed by technologies that provide a foundation for long distance, low latency, bit-perfect, multi-channel signal distribution. The question instantly becomes: How can facilities use audio networking to provide the creative environment musicians need while maintaining safety guidelines?
Every Room A Place to Record
If a performer can stay behind closed doors, then it’s easy for that person to be safe. With audio networking, this possibility becomes far easier than in the past. Studio operations have created workflows that allow performers to remain isolated in separate rooms of a large facility or house, yet all be connected. Rather than installing hundreds of heavy, dedicated, single-purpose audio cables through the location, a simple IP network is put in place with Ethernet jacks in each room—just like in any modern office. Microphones, preamplifiers, signal sources and processors can be connected to the control room from wherever they need to be, with absolutely no compromises in signal quality.
With the correct audio-over-IP system in place, sub 10 ms latency can be achieved. This allows performers to remain safely distanced while being able to hear and collaborate with others, something that would have been extremely difficult and expensive to accomplish with legacy audio technology.
Outside is not Out of Bounds
Imagining a network inside a house or building is not difficult, but people may or may not realize that extending networks beyond a single structure is nearly just as simple. While the notion of running microphone cables over several hundred feet or more is rightly cause for concern due to signal degradation and noise, IP networks can easily do runs of 300 feet (100 m) between switches with no issues whatsoever. The use of optical fiber, now an inexpensive option, extends this reach into miles or kilometers. This allows studios to embrace stand-alone recording spaces that enjoy full connectivity to the control room with no compromises in audio quality or latency. This means multiple structures on site—or even outdoor recording—can be added to a socially distanced setup.
Another idea brought forward by the pandemic is that of mobile production. If people are already safe at home, then bring the microphones and connections to them. This is another area in which legacy analog workflows were cumbersome at best, with audio equipment taking over the living space. Networking allows a mobile studio to connect everything one needs using a single, slender Ethernet cable. A truck serving as a control room can bring services everywhere without jeopardizing anyone’s health or compromising on audio quality.
Networking in the Long Run
The benefits of networking that have been realized during this stressful time are unlikely to fade even once the health crisis has passed. The paradigm of earlier recording studios as monolithic installations will transition towards lighter, more responsive systems that can accommodate multiple spaces and locations that serve performers while delivering world-class audio. The future for those who know how to help musicians deliver their messages to the world looks bright.
Brad Price is senior product marketing manager at Audinate.
Fremont, CA (December 1, 2020)—ARISTA Corporation has launched its new ARS-200-HD HDMI Audio to Dante Audio converter, and conversely, its ARS-200-DH Dante Audio Stream to HDMI Audio converter. The two HDMI / Dante converters are intended for presentation environments where audio needs to be converted from one format to the other and long-distance transmission is involved.
The ARS-200-HD can be used for extracting audio from, for example, a DVD player and converting the audio stream to Dante format, enabling the audio signal to be transmitted over long distance and used with PA systems, ensuring that everyone can hear the sound that accompanies the visuals. The converter / interface uses an HDMI Type A female connector for HDMI input and an HDMI Type A female connector for video loopback output. The HDMI input and loopback output maximum-supported video resolution is 4096 x 2160 / 3840 x 2160 @ 60Hz (4:4:4).
Meanwhile, the ARS-200-DH Dante Audio Stream to HDMI converter creates options in presentation environments where Audio is being handled via Dante in order to cover long distances in a large hall. In such cases, Dante audio is being received by the ARS-200-DH while it is also receiving video input via HDMI. In this case, the ARS-200-DH merges the audio with the HDMI signal so that it can feed external displays. The ARS-200-DH outputs stereo audio (20HZ – 20kHZ) with a frequency response of 20HZ – 20kHZ. Maximum video resolution is 4096 x 2160 / 3840 x 2160 @ 60Hz (4:4:4) and both the video input and the video loopback ports are HDMI Type A female connectors.
Power for both the ARS-200-HD and the ARS-200-DH can be handled via either a DC 12V feed or PoE (Power over Ethernet). Both units are housed in a metal housing and the dimensions for both units are 3.3 x 3.9 x 1.1 inch.
The ARS-200-HD and ARS-200-DH converters / interfaces are scheduled to become available Q1, 2021.
2020 will be remembered as the year we’d like to forget, but when 2021 is recalled one day as the year everything bounced back, much of that will be due to groundwork laid down in the preceding 12 months. That includes the pro-audio industry—next year, when live events and concerts return, new hits rule the airwaves and the latest must-hear podcasts land in your listening queue, many of them will be created using pro-audio equipment that was introduced over the last 12 months. With that in mind, here’s the Gear of the Year for 2020.
So what was the Gear of the Year? That’s not an easy thing to determine, so rather than weigh a hot new plug-in against an arena-filling P.A. or an audio console years in development, we decided to let our readers show the way.
Product announcements have always been among the most popular stories on prosoundnetwork.com, so we dug through our Google Analytics (readership statistics), sifting through all the “new product” stories we ran 2020 (well into the triple digits!) to determine which ones were the most popular with PSN readers. With that in mind, here’s the Gear of the Year that YOU unknowingly picked—a true Top-20 for 2020.
1. YAMAHA RIVAGE PM3 AND PM5 DIGITAL MIXING SYSTEMS
This dual product launch in May was far and away the most popular product announcement of 2020 with our readers. Yamaha introduced two consoles—the PM5 and PM3—as well as a pair of DSP engines—DSPRX and DSP-RX-EX—and version 4 firmware that provides features to new and legacy Rivage systems.
Both of the new consoles feature large capacitive touchscreens that allow users to use multi-finger gestures, with the PM5 sporting three screens and the PM3 getting one. As with their predecessors, the PM5 and PM3 sport 38 faders—three bays of 12, with two masters—but each of the new control surfaces is laid out with an eye toward increased efficiency.
2. SOLID STATE LOGIC 2 AND 2+ USB AUDIO INTERFACES Solid State Logic unveiled its first personal studio-market products—the USB-powered SSL 2 (2-in/2-out) and SSL 2+ (2-in/4-out) audio interfaces—at the Winter NAMM Show. The 2+ in particular caught our readers’ eyes, with a 4K analog enhancement mode “inspired by classic SSL consoles,” monitoring and an SSL Production Pack software bundle. Offering expanded I/O for musicians collaborating, it includes two analog mic preamps, 24-bit/192 kHz AD/DA AKM converters, multiple headphone outputs with independent monitor mix, MIDI I/O, and additional unbalanced outputs for DJ mixers.
3. JBL 4349 STUDIO MONITOR
The JBL 4349 studio monitor is a compact, high-performance monitor loudspeaker built around the JBL D2415K dual 1.5-inch compression driver mated to a large format, High-Definition Imaging (HDI) horn, paired with a 12-inch cast-frame and pure-pulp cone woofer. The JBL D2415K compression driver features a pair of lightweight polymer annular diaphragms with reduced diaphragm mass, while the V-shaped geometry of the annular diaphragm reduces breakup modes, eliminates time smear and reduces distortion, according to JBL.
4. APPLE LOGIC PRO X 10.5 Apple updated Logic Pro X with a “professional” version of Live Loops, new sampling features and new and revamped beatmaking tools. Live Loops lets users arrange loops, samples and recordings on a grid to build musical ideas, which can then be further developed on Logic’s timeline. Remix FX brings effects to Live Loops that can be used in real time, while the updated Sampler augments the EXS24 plug-in with new sound shaping controls. Other new tools include Quick Sampler, Step Sequencer, Drum Synth and Drum Machine Designer.
5. AMS NEVE 8424 CONSOLE
The AMS Neve 8424 is a small-format desk based on the 80-series console range. Intended for hybrid studios, the desk provides a center point between analog outboard gear, synths and the like, and the digital world of DAW workflows, software plug-ins and session recall. As an analog mixing platform, the 8424 offers 24 DAW returns across 24 channel faders or, for larger DAW sessions, a 48-Mix mode that allows a total of 48 mono inputs with individual level and pan controls to be mixed through the stereo mix bus.
6. MILLENNIA MEDIA HV-316 MIC PREAMP Millennia Media bowed its fully remote-controllable microphone preamplifier, the HV-316. Offering 12V battery operation, the HV-316 is housed in a 10-pound, 1U aluminum chassis housing 16 channels of Millennia HV-3 microphone preamplifiers with simultaneous analog and Dante 32-bit/192 kHz Ethernet outputs. Other digital audio output options are planned, including USB and MADI. The unit is designed for high-temperature continuous operation (up to 150° F), is powered by both 12V DC and worldwide 80–264V AC, and features “pi filter” shielding on audio and digital feeds to prevent interference.
7. SHURE SLX-D DIGITAL WIRELESS SYSTEM
The Shure SLX-D, offered in single- and dual-channel models, provides operation of up to 32 channels per frequency band. Transmitters run on standard AA batteries or an optional lithium-ion rechargeable battery solution with a dual-docking charging station. For less technically inclined users, it offers Guided Frequency Setup and a Group Scan feature that sets up multiple channels by assigning frequencies to all receivers automatically via Ethernet connections, allowing a 30-plus channel system can be set up via Group Scan within a few seconds.
8. MEYER SOUND SPACEMAP GO
The Meyer Sound Spacemap Go is a free Apple iPad app for spatial sound design and mixing. Working with the company’s Galaxy Network Platform, Spacemap Go can control Galaxy processors using a single or multiple iPads as long as the units have current firmware and Compass control software. Spacemap Go is compatible with various sound design/show control programs such as QLab, so designs assembled using them can be implemented into a multichannel spatial mix using Spacemap Go’s templates for common multichannel configurations.
9. D&B AUDIOTECHNIK 44S LOUDSPEAKER
Housed in a flush-mountable cabinet, the d&b audiotechnik 44S is a two-way passive, point source installation loudspeaker with 2 x 4.5-inch neodymium LF drivers and 2 x 1.25-inch HF dome tweeters, delivering a frequency response of 90 Hz–17 kHz. The 44S features a waveguide and baffle design intended to provide horizontal dispersion down to the lower frequencies while being focused vertically, providing a 90° x 30° dispersion pattern to direct sound to specific spaces.
10. BEYERDYNAMIC TG D70 AND TG 151 MICS Beyerdynamic made two additions to its Touring Gear (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.
11. QSC Q-SYS CORE PROCESSORS QSC’s Q-SYS Core 8 Flex and Nano audio, video and control processors provide scalable DSP processing, video routing and bridging for web conferencing, as well as third-party endpoint integration without the need for separate dedicated control processors. The 8 Flex includes onboard analog audio I/O and GPIO plus network I/O, while Nano offers network-only audio I/O processing and control.
12. TELEFUNKEN TF11 MICROPHONE Telefunken‘s TF11 is the company’s first phantom-powered large-diaphragm 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.
13. L-ACOUSTICS K3 LOUDSPEAKER
K3 is a compact loudspeaker from L-Acoustics that is intended as a main system to cover up to 10,000 people, or for use as outfills or delays for K1 or K2 systems. Designed as a full-range line source, K3 integrates 12-inch transducers for large-format system performance in the form factor of a 10-inch design.
14. CLEAR-COM HEADSET SANITIZATION KITS Clear-Com has sanitization kits for its CC-300, CC-400, CC-110, CC-220 and CC-26K headsets. They include replacement ear pads, pop filters, sanitizing wipes, ear sock covers and temple pads in a cloth bag. Items for each kit vary depending on the headset, and can also be purchased separately.
15. ZOOM PODTRAK P8 PODCAST STUDIO
The Zoom PodTrak P8 provides recording, editing and mixing capabilities all in one unit. Six mics, a smartphone and PC can be recorded simultaneously, each with its own fader and preamp with 70 dB of gain. A touchscreen controls monitoring, adjusting, onboard editing and more.
16. WAVES SHIPS KALEIDOSCOPES PLUG-IN Waves’ Kaleidoscopes plug-in creates classic analog studio effects such as 1960s phasing and tape flanging, 1970s stadium tremolo-guitar vibes and 1980s chorus sounds.
17. OUTLINE STADIA 28 LINE ARRAY SYSTEM
The Outline Stadia 28 is a medium-throw system intended for use in permanent outdoor installations. A single enclosure weighs 46.2 pounds and can reportedly reach 139 dB SPL.
18. LAB.GRUPPEN FA SERIES AMPLIFIERS Lab.gruppen‘s FA Series Energy Star-certified amplifiers are intended for commercial and industrial applications, and are offered in 2 x 60W, 2 x 120W and 2 x 240W.
19. D.W. FEARN VT-2 PREAMPLIFIER
The updated D.W. Fearn VT-2 Dual-Channel Vacuum Tube Microphone Preamplifier now features an integrated, switchable 43 dB pad, aiding patching into a master bus.
20. KEF LS50 META SPEAKER
Our Gear of the Year list concludes with the LS50, featuring KEF’s Metamaterial Absorption Technology driver array, a cone neck decoupler, offset flexible bass port, low-diffraction curved baffle and more.
For our industry, here’s the sliding scale of what the new normal looks like: You were previously working on some aspect of streaming and now you’re busier than you’ve ever been before. Or you successfully pivoted and you are now working harder than ever, doing more with less. Or you’re stuck in a holding pattern.
Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, giving yourself some breathing room will help provide clarity. It’s been hurry up and wait for over eight months and now it’s time to recalibrate.
The first thing to do is admit that this unsettled period is going to last longer that you want it to, which means that it’s time to have some difficult discussions and make some challenging decisions. It also means that it’s time to lean on your friends and extended social network.
If you’re in a good position and you’re gainfully employed at a company that has successfully navigated today’s economic challenges, don’t take it for granted. This is the time to stay put and double down. Work even harder and add even more value. Make the rounds and personally thank all the people responsible for successfully shepherding you and your colleagues to safety. I guarantee it was not luck. There were plenty of sleepless nights on management’s watch where painful decisions were made and programs were cut. Take the time to acknowledge that and give credit where credit is due. If you lost peers as a result of those changes, it is part of your job to check in on them and look after them. Take the initiative and open up your network to help make sure they land softly. If you’re successful, then be helpful.
If you’re able, now is the time to give generously. There are plenty of organizations set up to help ensure that those in need find support. If you cannot donate monetarily, then overcompensate with your time. Be available whenever someone calls. Take the lead and check in on friends and acquaintances across the world.
For those of you who lost your main source of income but picked up something stable in the meantime, keep both feet planted firmly where you are right now. You’re ahead of the game! You might not like it, you might be miserable, but that’s irrelevant and beside the point. You are employed and you are meeting your responsibilities and keeping things afloat. That’s your primary focus—so run circles around everyone else and go all in; nail the work with your eyes closed. Just don’t get too comfortable, and be open to shifting depending on opportunity.
Since need is not pressing, you have time to plan and think about the larger picture. Be thoughtful and meticulous about what you pursue. Make a point to call on your entire network. You don’t need an excuse to call. Simply pick up the phone and say this: “I was thinking of you and wanted to see how you are doing.” Those 13 words cut across space and time; they open up dialogue and endless possibilities. No matter how things were left before, that phrase is a reset button. Share what you are doing and why. Then tell them specifically what you are looking for and directly ask for help. That old saying really is true: you get what you ask for.
Which brings us to hoping and waiting—two of my least favorite words. If you’re out there looking but not getting anywhere, you’ve lost your flow. I know how you feel. When all this uncertainty first started, I relived every bad decision I ever made, each choice leading me right back to nothing. It’s not a good place to be.
If that sounds familiar, then take any work just to break the cycle—because ironically, if you are in that dark place, it is impossible to do the one thing that can get you out. Do you really think you can make calls and ask for help from there? Nope. Never. That’s the cul-de-sac of networking. You’re at that bummer dead end, just spinning in circles. Take any job or project just to get out of your head. Buy some time to plan for that next right move—and realize that you have an entire audio community at your back available to help. If you don’t know where to turn first, then start with me.
Rastatt, Germany (September 2, 2020)—Electronic Studio Basel (ESB) at the Basel Music Academy in Switzerland is being outfitted with Lawo IP technology for recording contemporary electronic compositions and to train future prospective sound engineers.
The new audio mixing system, which was installed by Swiss system integrator SLC Broadcast, includes two identical 24-fader Lawo mc²36 consoles and corresponding interfaces (supporting MADI, Ravenna, AES/EBU, analog operation). The two stage boxes each provide 32 mic/line inputs, 32 line outputs, eight digital AES3 inputs, eight digital AES3 outputs, eight GPIO, a Ravenna port and a MADI tie-line port (SFP).
Also part of the upgrade are Horus and HAPI audio interfaces from Merging Technologies.
Great importance was reportedly placed on the scalability of the components during the selection of equipment for the upgrade. From small mobile recordings to large live concerts with parallel recording, the audio systems are required to use the same digital interfaces and network topology. For large ensembles with simultaneous recording, all components — including virtual soundcards on laptops — are called into use.
For around 150 years, the Basel Music Academy (Musikakademie Basel) has been a center of excellence for musical education at all levels. The academy places a high value on the use of current technology and equipment in its audio training, especially in the areas of recording studio technology and sound reinforcement.
A broad spectrum of studies, research and further education are offered under the Basel Music Academy umbrella, from early to new music, audio design to jazz, through the Basel School of Music, the University of Music FHNW (Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz – University of Applied Sciences North-West Switzerland) with the Institutes of Classical Music, Jazz and Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, as well as the Institute for Further Education, improvisation.
Graz, Austria (July 7, 2020)— Sound artist Bill Fontana’s latest installation, Primal Energies, opened July 1 at the Kunsthaus Graz in Graz, Austria, using the spatialization abilities of Meyer’s Spacemap Go software, currently in Beta, to envelop visitors in audio.
Taking over the museum’s Space 01 Gallery, Primal Energies explores ideas about renewable energy through a mix of video imagery and soundscapes that portray wind, solar, hydroelectric and geothermal resources. While viewing images on the eight large screens, visitors are immersed in a blend of energy-related sounds reproduced by 64 Meyer Sound self-powered loudspeakers sharing audio with dynamic spatial sound movements created and automated using a beta version of Meyer Sound’s soon-to-be-released Spacemap Go technology.
Sounds and images for the work were recorded on location by Fontana with assistance from Scott George of London-based Autograph Sound. During this preparatory period, Fontana and George were recruited to serve as beta testers of Spacemap Go. A spatial sound design and mixing tool designed to work with Meyer’s Galaxy network platform, Spacemap Go allows users to enact multi-channel panning using one or more iPads connected to systems comprising multiple Galaxy processors.
“We used Spacemap Go extensively on Primal Energies,” says Fontana. “It’s the ‘digital brain’ behind all that is happening with dynamic spatialization of sound. In that realm, it lets me do everything I did before using the D-Mitri system, but working directly with Galaxy makes it far more cost effective, particularly if you are planning something like a permanent installation in a museum or architectural setting.”
Using the iPad app for Primal Energies, Fontana noted, “We used the iPad to set up everything on site. We wanted to create a kind of sonic choreography through the space, and the flexibility of Spacemap Go made it the ideal tool for making that happen.”
Scott George spec’d the audio system, developing the matrixed grid of 56 Meyer Sound UPM-1PTM full-range loudspeakers augmented by eight 900-LFCTM low-frequency control elements. For the front end of the audio system, George specified a MacMini computer loaded with QLab software for the 24-channel playback and central show control, connecting to the four distributed Galaxy processors over an AVB network. All the spatial trajectories were created on site with Spacemap Go then saved as a file for automated panning in synchronization with the playback program.
Fontana noted that he found Spacemap Go useful for “deconstructing” the typical video soundtrack. “Here, the sounds are not localized to a specific video,” he said. “They are all related to the common theme, but sounds are shifting around throughout the space, more like a dream space, so you have this incredible enveloping sound experience as you move from screen to screen. For my purposes, Spacemap Go is fantastic.”
Charlotte, NC (July 7, 2020)—Neutrik USA has announced its new Neutrik NPS-30W PoE (Power over Ethernet) injector. Designed to survive on-stage use, the injector features a lockable powerCON TRUE1 TOP power connector and etherCON network connectors.
The injector, a power sourcing equipment (PSE) device, is intended for use with network devices that require a lockable PoE supply, such as Neutrik’s own NA2-IO-DPRO and NA2-IO-DLINE Dante interfaces. Accordingly, the NPS-30W acts like a typical power supply, requiring no power negotiation with attached powered devices. The NPS-30W’s 48 V DC, 30 W power output enables it to provide power simultaneously to, for example, up to four NA2-IO-DPROs in daisy-chain mode. The NPS-30W’s data rate is 1 Gbps.
The NPS-30W PoE injector ships with a rubber cover for throwdown applications, but can also be mounted into racks, trusses, podiums and tables.
The Neutrik NPS-30W PoE Injector is expected to be available Q3, 2020; pricing has not been announced yet.