Salzburg, Austria (November 10, 2020)–The OVAL is a 227-seat cultural showcase set inside Salzburg, Austria’s EuroPark shopping mall. While it’s long offered a mix of music, drama, cabaret, cinema and more, in July, it upped the ante by adding a L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal Sound technology from L-Acoustics.
Right from the start, the room’s architecture, which features a steep atrium grandstand and a 13-meter-wide stage that is only 15 meters from the control room, posed challenges to conventional L-C-R sound reinforcement systems. “Thanks to L-ISA, not only was the conventional technology replaced, but a completely new, immersive listening experience was created at every seat,” explains Rupert Pichler, managing director of Pansound and project manager for the L-ISA conversion in the OVAL.
The sound design by Martin Rode, head of Application Install D-A-CH, comprises a Scene system with five arrays of three A10 Wide, evenly hung above the stage and across its entire width, along with two sets of three KS21 subwoofers each, flown horizontally behind the Scene system and configured in an end-fire cardioid array. A total of five 5XT placed in front of the stage serve as frontfill, while three coaxial X8 per side are placed along the walls, with a further two X8 on the rear wall, and five ceiling-mounted 5XT create surround and overhead sound. The entire system is driven by LA4X amplified controllers.
Signal Sound & Light Distribution, L-Acoustics Certified Provider Distributor for Austria, provided the OVAL system.
Chicago, IL (November 9, 2020)—Chicago’s Moody Bible Institute, a Christian institution of higher education with its main campus in Chicago, Illinois, faced the same issues with its music programs this fall that thousands of other educational facilities have—how to safely hold real-time rehearsals in the time of COVID-19. Dr. David Gauger, D.M.A., an Artist/Professor of Music at Moody Bible Institute, found a solution that worked for his groups, centered around Jamulus software and TASCAM recorders.
“Our plan is to have all of our live rehearsal groups use TASCAM DR-05X recorders as a front end for the Jamulus low-latency software,” Gauger explained. “We purchased 30 recorders in August 2020 [so that our] Collectives each rehearse twice a week for 90 minutes, the Jazz Band rehearses once a week for an hour, and the Worship Leading course has had several online rehearsals.”
As an example of the process, Gauger described the situation with his vocal ensembles, “The solution to safe, ‘social distancing’ in a rehearsal environment caused us to seek another solution, which was to put every singer in their own room. College dorms function well for this, as each room provides isolation and does not raise the risk of infection, assuming that precautions are adhered to, such as opening the window for ventilation.”
“Allowing the singers to hear each other and be heard can be accomplished using the Internet,” Gauger continued, “but typical video conferencing software works very poorly for this due to long and somewhat random latency differences between singers. Singing together requires much tighter tolerances than typical video conferencing solutions provide. In the last few years, several developers having been writing low-latency software to solve this problem. We chose Jamulus because of its data requirements, the ability to set up and run your own server to keep your data ‘in-house’, and the fact that it’s open source software.”
According to Gauger, the signal chain starts at the TASCAM DR-05X and goes to USB input on a computer running Jamulus. Next, it heads via Ethernet connection to the Jamulus server on campus. Students hold the DR-05X like a handheld stage mic and are instructed to sing over the top of the unit as opposed to directly into it.
Gauger described a typical rehearsal, “In worship teams, there are singers plus a rhythm section (piano, bass, drums, guitars, synth). While the six singers are in their dorms singing, the rhythm section is assembled in a recording studio that has mics, a mixing board, and a headphone monitoring system. They are all socially distanced and are wearing masks. There is a screen with a projector showing the Zoom meeting with all the singers in their dorm rooms. There is a camera in the studio feeding the Zoom session. This enables the singers to see and hear the studio musicians while the studio musicians can see and hear the dorm-based singers. At the same time that Jamulus is handling the audio, we run a simultaneous Zoom video conference, enabling everyone to see each other—but the Zoom audio is muted, and the only sound heard is from Jamulus.”
“The DR-05X’s ability to serve as a stereo microphone, low latency USB audio interface, and standalone recorder is huge,” he added. “I also found the DR-05X’s sound to be impressive and its omni mics mean it is much less susceptible to the proximity effect typical of cardioid mics. The fact that the DR-05X not only functions as a mic, but also as a recorder and interface to other audio software is huge. The unit is truly multifaceted.”
Quang Ninh, Vietnam (November 5, 2020)—Vietnam’s Van Don International Airport recently installed a large-scale Harman Professional airport sound solution to cover its 2.5 million passengers a year.
Located on the west coast of the province Quảng Ninh, the airport covers 800 acres and has a single runway. In addition to passengers, it also handles 10,000 cargo tons per year, and has four jet bridges, four baggage carousels, eight security gates and 31 check-in counters.
To cover all that, integrators Ba Sao Invest Co., Ltd. and Thien Van Tech Co. designed and installed a system based around JBL Professional loudspeakers, Crown amplification and BSS signal processing
Ba Sao selected JBL 8138 and 8128 ceiling speakers along with Control 23-1 compact speakers. In some spaces, JBL’s CBT 100LA-LS line array column loudspeakers were used ot provide vertical coverage. Allowing airport staff to deliver announcements throughout the facility, Ba Sao selected JBL CSS-H30 paging horns and AKG PZM11 LL WR boundary laundry microphones. For outdoor areas, JBL Control 85M landscape speakers provide 360-degree coverage. All that is powered by Crown DCi 8|300N and CT16S amplifiers; the system is configured and integrated using BSS BLU-806DA signal processors with BLU Link.
“We were pleased to partner with Ba Sao and Harman for the installation of a highly capable and robust audio system for the airport,” said a spokesperson for Van Don International Airport. “With the new system, we will raise the bar in providing an unmatched world-class audio experience to our passengers.”
Chicago, IL (October 23, 2020)—Before the pandemic kicked in last Spring, Chicago’s East Pilsen neighborhood got its first taste of Radius, a new, 55,000-square-foot multi-room venue that can hold up to 3,800 guests. The unusual space—a retrofitted former steel factory—sports an open floor plan and mezzanine level, all of which is covered by a d&b audiotechnik KSL loudspeaker system installed by Brown Note Production of Thornton, CO.
The d&b system configuration consists of 11 KSL (7 KSL8, 4 KSL12) per side for a total of 22, 10 SL-GSUB, four Y10p loudspeakers for front fills, a pair of Y10p bar area fills, two Y10p under balcony fills, five 10S-D for the mezzanine and VIP area fills, 17 D80 amplifiers, three D20 amplifiers and two DS10 Audio Network Bridges.
“The original spec was for a d&b J-Series as the project started four years before the SL-Series was available,” said Ryan Knutson, Brown Note Productions. “The KSL was the natural progression for the venue’s future sound reinforcement needs. As we went down the road with the J-Series, the clear replacement would be KSL as it fit the venue size and sound qualities needed to cover the venue throughout.”
“The d&b KSL loudspeaker system was essential – from the start, we wanted the sound to be a major differentiator for Radius and this system was the driving force,” said owner Nick Karounos. “With this system and the venue acoustics, we’ve essentially addressed a major complaint of other venues that were a theatre first and then retrofitted into a concert venue.”
The venue is set up to handle most touring shows and since the pandemic, has shifted to small socially distanced experiential events, private events and corporate events.
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.”
Jakarta, Indonesia (October 13, 2020)—Nestled inside the Jakarta International Expo (JIExpo) centre for meetings, events and arts performances is the JIExpo Theatre, a brand-new venue seating 2,500. “The venue was originally specified to be just a theatre, but I saw the potential to make it also serve as Indonesia’s largest concert hall,” said managing director, Prajna Murdaya.
Key to the facility is its Meyer Sound Constellation acoustic system, provided through Meyer Sound national distributor Mega Swara and installed by Jakarta-based integrator Kairos Multi Jaya. A total of 285 small, self-powered loudspeakers (MM-4XP miniature and UP-4XP full range plus UMS-1XP subwoofers) are deployed throughout the auditorium to create natural acoustical environments uniformly throughout the large space. Processing is handled by Meyer Sound’s multi-module D-Mitri Digital Audio Platform, with 51 microphones distributed overhead for sensing the ambient acoustics.
For events requiring amplification, the JIExpo Theatre provides a direct reinforcement system anchored by LEOPARD line array loudspeakers, with arrays of 12 per side to cover the first two levels and an additional set of four per side for the uppermost level. Deep bass is supplied by a cardioid configuration of five 1100-LFC low-frequency control elements flown over center stage. Center channel loudspeakers are UPQ-1P, with UPJ-1P loudspeakers as side fills and UPM-1P loudspeakers for front fills as well as under- and over-balcony fills. The system can be used with Constellation off, or with acoustical enhancements added for a variety of pop, rock, jazz and musical theatre performances.
Among first events was a concert by cellist Yo-Yo Ma—his first in Indonesia—for which the Constellation system remained on throughout, extending the theatre’s RT60 baseline physical acoustic from 1.2 seconds to 2.2 seconds. The system allowed the theatre’s technical manager, Bayu Wicaksana, to customize the response for the cellist’s instrument. Ma’s rendition of six suites for cello by Johann Sebastian Bach drew extended standing ovations from the audience.
Other key contributors in the design phase were theatre consultants Philip Soden and WSDG acoustic consultants. The Meyer Sound contingent was led by Constellation Project Director John Pellowe with design and tuning of the direct reinforcement system supervised by Director of System Optimization Bob McCarthy.
JIExpo Theatre boasts one of the largest stages in Asia, measuring 48 m wide by 16 m deep and expanding up to 21 m deep following renovations with the orchestra pit covered. The theatre is the latest addition to the larger exposition complex, which first opened in 2010.
Osaka, Japan (September 2020)—Live sound provider Osaka Onken has taken on the largest inventory of Adamson Systems Engineering S-Series in Japan. The system was provided by Adamson’s Japanese distributor, ReWire.
The new system comprises: 48 sub-compact S10 two-way, full range array enclosures; 16 complementary S119 subwoofers; eight ultra-compact S7p two-way, full-range point-source enclosures, and eight PC5 two-way coaxial loudspeakers from Adamson’s Point Centric Series.
The new Adamson S-Series system was delivered to Osaka Onken’s headquarters earlier in the summer, and the company hosted Adamson’s globally-standardized Applied Certification training in order to best educate staff and outside technicians on the system soon after in mid-July.
“Wanting to significantly boost our offerings with an investment in a high-end, sub-compact loudspeaker system, we invited several very reputable loudspeaker manufacturers to demo their products in late 2019,” says Tatsuo Yamamoto, president and CEO of Osaka Onken. “It was immediately clear that Adamson’s S-Series was the top choice in terms of performance, and we’ve only grown more confident in that decision based on the support we’ve received from Adamson and their colleagues at ReWire in the time since.”
Poughkeepsie, NY (September 23, 2020)—Like many educational facilities, Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY worked overtime this summer to prepare to reopen during the pandemic for Fall semester classes. Part of that meant taking Remote Learning students into account—and that in turn led the college to purchase and install 150 Audio-Technica U851RO omnidirectional condenser boundary microphones and 50 ATDM-0604 SmartMixers into 50 classrooms.
“We wanted to offer a learning experience as close to traditional in-person classes, using a blended synchronous model in which the teacher and half the class are live and the other half are remote, while still conforming to all the New York State and Department of Health requirements and staying within our budget,” explains Lee Walis, manager of Technical Services at Marist College, an AVIXA Certified Technology Specialist who would design and install the systems.
“At first, I thought we’d need a high microphone count in each room, at least five in the smaller classrooms and a minimum of 10 in the larger lecture halls, as well as multiple mixers per room to handle a variety of different processing needs. An additional design requirement is to include a voice-lift feature, because the instructors and students would be wearing masks. It was going to be a complicated project and the microphone costs alone were going to be substantial.”
However, Walis began to look into the idea of using boundary microphones, and ultimately chose to use three Audio-Technica U851RO microphones in each classroom. Using one U851 attached to a classroom’s podium and two more attached on either side of a piece of Dibond aluminum / polyethylene composite sheeting hung near the classroom’s ceiling-mounted projector, he was able to cover each room in full in terms of picking up instructors’ and students’ voices.
“You can hear students from the back of the room, with masks on, no problem,” he says, “and the pickup pattern on the boundary microphone means the professor isn’t closely tied to the podium, so everything feels very natural. And the microphone rejects HVAC and projector-fan noise, which would have been a problem with the choir-type microphone arrays we considered in the beginning.”
In addition, Walis is using Audio-Technica’s ATDM-0604 SmartMixers, one in each of the 50 classrooms he’s outfitted for the start of the semester. “The processing is fantastic,” he says. “We’re not doing sound reinforcement for the room mics, so there’s no feedback, even as we’re picking up the softest voices in the room. And even with such a variety of acoustical environments — some classrooms have absorptive carpeting while other have reflective linoleum flooring — we’re getting clear speech intelligibility and predictable response. Plus, the USB output on the mixer is our portal to the computers running either Webex or Zoom for the distance-learning part. In fact, where I thought I was going to have to program the DSP for each room, it turns out that with the ATDM-0604 and U851RO, I can have the exact same program in every room, with only minimal adjustments needed for a few rooms with extreme conditions.
“So, we were able to drastically reduce the number of microphones needed, and use fewer mixers, and I could tune one system once and use that same program in virtually every classroom, thereby reducing labor,” Walis continues. “We were able to accomplish all of this at a fraction of what we though it would cost, which for a small, private college is an achievement, even without the issue of the pandemic.”
Cleveland, OH (September 23, 2020)—Providing audio for live events since the early 1950s, Hughie’s Event Production Services in Cleveland, OH has had a lot of audio systems over the years, but has always kept up with the times. Looking for a new system that would aid its gigs, ranging from smaller ballroom events to large-scale graduations, church functions and political gatherings, the audio provider recently purchased a new solution based around EAW’s ADAPTive line.
Project manager Jim O’Connor noted, “When we heard about EAW’s ADAPTive line, we were very intrigued. It was clearly a system that we had to take a better look at [and] the scalability really blew us away.”
Hughie’s purchased 24 Anna 3-way full-range array modules, 12 Otto subwoofers and 40 RS123 2-way self-powered loudspeakers. “I often use the Ottos as end fire arrays, which is a non-traditional way to stack the subs,” adds O’Connor. “Instead of them being in a horizontal line, you set them up in a vertical line pointing towards the audience. This allows you to direct all the energy from the subwoofers directly at the audience instead of a typical omni-directional subwoofer set-up. The EAW’s don’t skip a beat, regardless of how they are set up. It’s this adaptability that makes them best-in-class”
Despite the pandemic, Hughie’s continues to support events in the region, including an influx in outdoor events. The company recently deployed an EAW system for The FEST, an annual outdoor Catholic event with a live mass, music and a range of activities; it has worked with the event for years and while onsite attendance was significantly reduced in 2020, the smaller-scale onsite event was complemented with a live stream. The EAW system was also deployed at a range of outdoor commencements including St. Ignatius and St. Edward High Schools.
New York, NY (September 22, 2020)—When the year’s concert tours went up in smoke with the arrival of the pandemic, artists and their production teams were suddenly left adrift without a paddle, facing an extended touring pause with no end in sight. Artists quickly turned to livestreaming as a way to stay visible and bring in some revenue—and those streams often inadvertently highlighted the valuable skills that audio experts bring to the table. It didn’t take long, however, for some production pros to seize the day and pivot to livestream production, forming companies like Hellooo TV and ChileStream.
Within weeks of the pandemic kicking in, Erik Rogers—a 15-year veteran FOH engineer, tour manager and production manager—had teamed with friend Paris Visone, a professional photographer and videographer, to found Hellooo TV in Nashville. Aiming to make the most of their skills and do something positive for a struggling industry, Hellooo TV shoots high-end, weekly online concerts, and all proceeds from advertising, viewer donations and YouTube streams benefit the event production community through charitable donations to MusiCares and the National Independent Venue Association.
“Paris and I had both worked on the road for Godsmack,” said Rogers. “When the pandemic hit, she had just gotten a job doing photography for the New England Patriots and I had just signed up for a whole year as front of house and tour manager for Saint Asonia. We started seeing these really [bad] cell phone videos of artists that we love and respect in their basements playing an acoustic guitar. One night, we’re playing Call of Duty at three in the morning and one of us said, ‘Man, did you see that last night?’ and the other said, ‘Yeah, we could do better.’ And that’s how it started.”
The logistics of bringing together a studio, crew, gear, IT, artists and the rest on short notice and an even shorter budget was simpler than one might expect, according to Rogers. “Calling all of my vendors and friends I’ve made over the years to get production was easy, especially because we’re donating all of our profits back to charities that benefit our own industry,” he said. “Clair Global, Special Event Services (SES), DiGiCo, Gallagher Staging, Audio-Technica, you name it—they wouldn’t let me finish the sentence before they said, ‘We’re in; what do you need?’ It was slightly less easy to call other friends, like Mike Babcock, our monitor engineer; Brandon Quisberg, our LD; and Scott Huber, our stage manager, and say, ‘Hey, we’re doing this thing in Nashville, and you may or may not get paid, but this is what we’re trying to do.’ They were all ‘Yeah, we’ll work out the money later.’”
Hellooo TV took off immediately, shooting its first season of 10 weekly concerts in Special Event Services’ Nashville warehouse over June and July. “They have been so cool; they basically let us take over,” said Rogers. “We stole a couple of their offices; we remade the kitchen into my mix studio.”
DiGiCo VP of Pro Audio, Matt Larson, got a Clair-provided Quantum SD7 console into the project for mixing and Clair itself provided a DiGiCo SD10 for monitor mixing; the rest of the monitor set-up—d&b audiotechnik wedges, a Martin Audio drum sub and eight Shure PSM 1000 in-ear systems—is provided by SES. Also on-hand is a full Audio-Technica mic package, including a half-dozen RF mics with AE6100 and AE5400 capsules; redundant Waves SuperRack plug-in processors; a Klang:Fabrik immersive audio processor; and more.
The project began producing its second season in late August and will continue shooting an average of three shows a week through mid-November, by which point it will have enough content to stream a new show every week through mid-March, 2021. Visone leads a team of six videographers and edits each episode later in Final Cut Pro X. “I’m the center shooter and I’m also editing it, so I can’t to be in two places at once,” she joked. “I know how I shoot and how the rest of my team works, so now I’m able to anticipate during shooting what I’ll need in editing.” Capturing the prerecorded shows takes time; taping a 45-minute acoustic set by Shinedown lead singer Brent Smith and guitarist Zach Myers that will debut October 23 took three hours.
Hellooo TV isn’t alone when it comes to live sound engineers who’ve started their own livestreaming production services. After the pandemic shut down concerts in Chile earlier this year, FOH engineer Carlos Hormazabal founded ChileStream, aiming to improve the sound of artists’ livestreams as they went online to reconnect with their audiences.
Much like the origin of Hellooo TV, the veteran engineer, who’s worked and toured internationally with acts like Franco el Gorila, Frank’s White Canvas, Max Zegers and Paloma Mami, opted to team with a lighting designer, videographer and producer to produce virtual live shows under the ChileStream banner.
“I think it is fair to say that we are pioneers of these high-quality streaming shows here in Chile,” he said. “The response has been amazing; through our platform, fans can not only see the artist live but also enjoy interaction through chat, something that has proved very popular. Audio quality is absolutely vital to the success of the streams.”
Hormazabal already had a Waves’ LV1 digital mixing system in his studio and had often used it in a live setting, so it became his go-to mixer for the livestreams, teamed with two DiGiGrid IOX expansion audio interfaces and a DiGiGrid D desktop ethernet recording interface.
Using that setup, ChileStream has staged more than 20 livestreamed shows by Chilean artists such as Luis Jara, DrefQuila, Franco Figueroa and Carolina Soto, and Hormazabal is already working on improving the streams’ audio even further, noting, “My next ambition is to acquire another LV1 system where I can incorporate three more IOX, so I’ll have independent preamp stages for both front of house and monitors.”