d&b’s V-Series impresses at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center

d&b's V-Series impresses at Philadelphia's Kimmel Center

The Perelman Theatre in Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts has installed d&b audiotechnik’s V-Series loudspeaker as part of an AV upgrade implemented by Acme Professional.

The theatre is primarily a recital room but also serves as the venue’s cinema, seating 650 and with two shallow balconies above the stalls/ orchestra. David Conner is the Center’s audio department head: “We have just completed a significant investment in the Perelman cinema system; this is now full 4k specification, a 32,000 lumen Barco projector, 40 foot wide Stewart Filmscreen, and a bespoke 7:1 audio system using d&b audiotechnik V-Series and E-Series, designed and implemented by Pete Cosmos, systems integrator at Acme Professional,” he said.

Cosmos considered the room to be generally sound reinforcement friendly: “It has a variable acoustic and can be softened for cinema sound reinforcement," he commented. "We had already installed a surround sound system using d&b E8 loudspeakers, but to complete the system some weight was needed from the screen; this was to be the final piece of the new Perelman audio system.”

But the Perelman specification would have to be flexible. ”There was also a secondary need,” explained Cosmos. “Whatever main stage system we devised, it had to be able to redeploy to the neighbouring Verizon Hall for use at events there. We looked at both requirements separately, developed a number of solutions, and then looked at where the two agreed. The d&b V-Series, the 120° horizontal directivity of the V12 in particular, filled both those needs absolutely. While the Perelman didn’t require high levels, we typically run at minus 12dB, Verizon Hall is a much bigger beast.”

For the Perelman cinema system Cosmos adopted a quite radical approach. “We take the AES film stems right off the movie sound track at 48 kHz, into a Midas console,” he continued. “That upticks them to 96 kHz and then they are distributed via the d&b R1 remote network straight to the D80 amplifiers. The beauty of the V-Series is how it performs when the three high stacks are fully open at 14° splay, giving each compact system 42° of vertical dispersion. For this situation that’s when they sound their best, and it also suits our design thesis, which is to place the sound reinforcement system as close to the natural position of sound origin as possible.

“The three stacks are just below the screen (L/C/R), and we designed special dollies to raise them above the stage deck as much as possible to avoid reflections from below. With the stalls/orchestra being raked and two balconies to cover, the V-Series boxes lend themselves to coverage from this lower angle. This is not about even coverage where typically level and frequency response is prescribed within narrow confines to every seat in the house, this is natural propagation, so yes, frequency response and level rolls off to the most distant seats, but it sounds right and it sounds natural.”

Conner agreed: “The imaging is great, it travels across the screen left to right and up and down really smoothly. There are no noticeable hot spots from any seat in the house. It’s a very natural perspective.”

“The reaction in the Perelman Theater has been really impressive,” concluded Conner. Like all good parents, movie directors are rightly proud of their offspring, so when remarks are made such as: ‘I’m hearing things now that I haven’t heard since we assembled the sound track in the studio’ or ‘finally I can hear it as it was intended to be heard,’ it’s clear something is working.”


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Review: Avid S3L-X

Review: Avid S3L-X

There used to be a time, not that long ago, when live sound engineers and studio engineers never crossed each other’s paths.

That gap between two of the largest fields in pro-audio has been drawing closer and closer with the digital age. Many of the console manufacturers have helped to spark this trend in some really exciting ways over the past five years alone.

Avid, which is at the front end of studio solutions and has been at the top of the game for many years, has also been one of the leaders in the era of digital live sound consoles. During this period, however, there have been some significant technological advancements in Avid’s fundamental audio processing methodology. Both the software and hardware aspects of its products have been through some radical developments, enabling Avid systems to reach new heights. The S3L system marked the moment these developments finally made it to the stage. As a keen engineer of both ilks, I went looking for new and exciting possibilities that hopefully continue to bridge the studio/live division, in the S3L-X. Let’s face it, if anyone was going to move this forward, then Avid is in the right place to do it.

Modular Design

First off, let’s look at what elements make up the S3L-X. Like many digital live sound systems, there is the control surface and then an array of stage boxes for varying I/O configurations. The S3L-X is very similar, but with the keen distinction that the ‘brains’ or ‘computing power’ is delivered from a separate unit. The E3 is the system’s engine and takes care of all processing and management of the user interface. In essence, the E3 is a PC computer, but with additional DSP processing power along the lines of an Avid HDX card.

Having the engine separate to the control surface and the stage/FOH boxes opens up several benefits. Obviously, in the live sound environment the engine can be placed virtually anywhere and doesn’t have to be at the FOH position. This could help with anything from simple I/O distribution through to greater installation options. However, the biggest benefit comes with the S3 control surface due to its dual purpose. The control surface is a studio DAW controller by day, and then a live sound console by night.

In terms of I/O capabilities, the S3L-X system can process up to 64 inputs and 32 outputs simultaneously, but importantly, any number of systems can run on the same AVB network sharing stage box I/O options with full auto gain tracking. This new feature makes the apparently compact S3 capable of significantly large and complicated tasks. Currently, Avid is only manufacturing a single configuration for the stage boxes, offering 16 XLR mic pres, eight XLR balanced outputs and four channels of AES each. Both the E3 engine and the S3 control surface also offer some additional I/O for local connections, which can be routed across the AVB network in the same way the stage box inputs and outputs can.

The control surface (S3) is certainly compact and lightweight, but shouldn’t be perceived as being poorly built or not strong enough for the road. Its layout is very simple with only 16 faders, two rows of encoders for parameter editing, and several function and user keys. So how many functions of the console really can be controlled from the surface and how easily can it be used in a live environment? Thankfully, it is clear from the moment you power it up how much thought Avid has put into the layout of the surface and each control – whether it be fader, encoder or just a button – has a purpose for being there. The result is a very tidy, clear and easily configurable surface.

Admittedly, I do have one small complaint. Although everything’s there, it did take me a little longer to build up speed using the surface alone to control the system than other desks. The S3 is capable of editing almost all functions – certainly those needed to operate a show after setup – but it did require a little more learning time. As you might expect, there is a degree of expanding pages of possible parameters across the encoders for complete control, which is fine, but there’s a lot of ‘shift_expand’ button pressing that has to become second nature. That said, it’s a ‘muscle memory’ type of lesson, which once learnt really makes anything possible and you can keep on top of a complex show very easily.

Reassuringly, there is never the feeling you can’t get to any of the controls you need, because of the excellent Venue software, which any Venue console operator will recognise in a heartbeat. For me, this is one of the reasons I’m such a fan of the Avid range – the software is extremely comprehensive and looks the same on the smallest SC48, through to the Profile. This allowed me to work professionally and smoothly as if I knew the S3L-X system inside out, giving me the time to get used to the surface. The possible configurations within the Venue software are actually enhanced with the S3 surface drawing on its new user layer. If set up intelligently, you could operate almost any size of show with just 16 faders, avoiding constant channel chasing.

Complete Integration

While the S3 control surface is operating as a DAW remote, its own local I/O can also be utilised via the Ethernet AVB connection. This means that the S3 can be connected to a laptop and provide an immediate pro studio configuration. This very serious, dual-purpose piece of equipment is not only responding to how engineers are working today, but modelling how the future of digital audio is continuing to develop. For example, an FOH engineer can run a live show with the S3L-X system and take a multichannel recording of the performance. After the show, the stage boxes and E3 engine can be loaded up for transport or storage, while the S3 control surface can easily be taken to the hotel to aid working on the recording from that night.

The most significant update around integration has to be the new Venue Link for recording into Pro Tools with the Venue 4.5 and Pro Tools 11 software, which is included with the purchase of an S3L-X system. Via a single Ethernet connection, a laptop can be connected to the engine and record up to 64 channels. Avid has adopted an easy patching and channel naming control method to speed up workflow, and it works effortlessly.

This new recording workflow has also expanded the capabilities of virtual soundcheck. As well as the traditional global virtual soundcheck mode, any channel can be switched to the return playback from Pro Tools at a touch of a button in the preamp section. This allows for very fast switching between recorded elements and live, allowing musicians to soundcheck without their colleagues being on the stage at the same time. Other manufacturers have started offering this too, but this is the most fluid I have ever experienced and it works extremely well. ?    Avid has certainly capitalised on its knowledge of multichannel recording and live consoles to bring us ?something I think we’ll soon find hard to live without.

Integration doesn’t stop there, as all the usual benefits of an Avid system are still available. For example, plug-ins are hosted on the system itself, which allows for a fluent operation without the need for additional equipment and controls. Of course, the plug-ins that the S3L-X system now hosts are the new AAX 64-bit format. Then there’s the familiar Venue software that all Avid consoles run. This has to be one of the best user interfaces on the market, giving complete control and configuration of the system with just a keyboard and mouse if necessary. This allows Venue consoles to offer one of the most powerful wireless remote control facilities around. With the S3L-X there is a new tab in the software called Media. This useful feature offers stereo playback or record options via any connected USB storage devices.

In Use

The main part of my testing ground for this review was a concert in a theatre that I know well, for the performance of a choir and live band that I’ve worked with before. The system in the venue is above average and the room is particularly good, but amplifying a live choir with a five-piece live band always presents its own challenges.

Aware of the potential downfalls for such an event, my colleague Ross Simpson and I planned the stage layout, microphone positions and general spec meticulously and well in advance. On the day, once we were in a position to start sound checking, I felt very confident in the decisions we’d made and I had a really good idea of the results we were hoping to achieve. This is where I believe the fuss about 64-bit really comes in, and I’ve only noticed it once before with one other manufacturer’s desk.

Even after the first small movements of EQ were made on the grand piano, I could hear something very special in terms of quality that I’d never heard from the piano in that room before. Let’s not forget that I am very used to working with digital consoles from all manufacturers, including the Avid Venue line, and that I’ve had much experience in that venue with those microphones and PA systems. Continuing through the sound check, several concerns and limitations we thought we might encounter because of the installation never occurred. Fine movements of signal processing settings were possible, which enabled a more naturally accurate result to be achieved than I expected.

The real proof came once the choir were up and running and I’d found the right balance between all the mics. Sonically, there was a warmth about the choir sound and the definition of the words they were singing was beautifully clear. Then came the reverb. I used a standard ReVibe plug-in for the reverb on the choir and it was sensational. I could have used any amount of wet/dry mix, and you’d have still heard the words. The reverb was colourful yet transparent, to a level I haven’t heard ReVibe perform before.

All too often I feel we get drawn into the tech behind modern digital consoles and their ‘all singing, all dancing’ wonders, forgetting to consider the sound quality. Yes, the S3L-X system not only has the capabilities you’d expect from any modern digital console, but in fact it’s written a whole new chapter in the development of console offerings. However, if you’re wondering what does it sound like, what are the preamps like, etc, then have no concerns and prepare to be impressed. I’d buy this console on the basis it uses the familiarity of the Venue software and it’s sound quality alone. The Pro Tools integration, dual-purpose control surface, modular light-weight and compact design, virtual soundcheck capabilities and the ability to host plug-ins are all benefits that easily explain it’s price tag.

Simon Allen is a freelance internationally-recognised sound engineer and pro-audio professional with over a decade of experience. Working mostly in music, his reputation as a mix and FOH engineer continues to reach new heights.


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MPG reveals new board of executive directors

MPG reveals new board of executive directors

The Music Producers Guild (MPG) has restructured its board of executive directors.

After completing their constituted five year term, the former members of the board, including chairman Steve Levine, have now stepped down from their various roles.

Levine, an award-winning music producer and radio presenter who has worked with a diverse range of artists such as Culture Club, the Beach Boys and Honeyz, will remain involved with the MPG, as will former vice chairman Mark Rose and former CEO Richard Lightman.

"We are very grateful to Steve, Mark and Richard for the sterling work they have done in promoting the interests of recording professionals and forging strong links with other music industry organisations," stated new board member MIck Glossop. "As a result of their efforts, the MPG's standing is at the highest level it has ever been and our viewpoint is not only heard, but also given the consideration it deserves."

Commenting on the changes, Levine said: "I have been honoured to represent MPG over the last five years and I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of a team that wants to make life better for recording professionals. The past five years have really flown by and it's reassuring that the MPG board have set in place through its memorandum and articles a natural 'churn' cycle so that there will always be new faces and input on the board.

"There are still huge issues to tackle – not least ensuring that recording professionals are properly remunerated and credited for their work – but I feel that we have made enormous strides in recent years and that MPG is now in a much better place than it was when I first became chairman."

The MPG's new board of executive directors has been announced and is as follows (pictured left to right):

Dan Cox

Bruno Ellingham

Cameron Craig

Andrew Hunt

Mick Glossop


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Music Group announces TC Group acquisition

Music Group announces TC Group acquisition

Music Group has acquired Tannoy, Lab.gruppen, Lake and TC Electronic parent company TC Group.

Headquartered in Denmark, and with offices all over the world, TC Group owns and manages the above brands, along with TC Helicon and TC Applied Technologies.

The addition of Tannoy, Lab.gruppen and Lake allows Music Group to round out its professional install and touring sound portfolio – which also includes Midas, Klark Teknik and Turbosound – and expand further into pro-AV, while guitar effects and vocal processing specialists TC Electronic and TC Helicon "perfectly complement" the firm's Bugera guitar amp brand and Behringer prosumer division, Music Group says.

Uli Behringer, CEO and founder of Music Group, commented: “Since the acquisition of Midas, Klark Teknik and Turbosound, we have been continuously pursuing brands that complement the mixing console, processing and loudspeaker excellence offered by these historic brands. Throughout our search, TC Group has clearly stood out as the ideal match because of their world-class brands, impressive intellectual property, sterling reputation and first-class team of people. I am very proud to welcome the TC Group team into our family.

“We will invest heavily in positioning TC Group’s brands at the very pinnacle of the industry, as we have done with Midas, Klark Teknik and Turbosound, where we have invested over $100 million in highly automated and integrated manufacturing facilities, quality control systems and engineering resources, including a new Center of Engineering Excellence in Manchester, UK.

"TC Group will now equally have full access to Music Group’s extensive resources and advanced automated system platforms in such areas as product development and lifecycle management, engineering, manufacturing, supply chain and finance.”

Anders Fauerskov, TC Group CEO, added: “We are very honoured that during the acquisition process, some of the largest industry players were bidding for TC Group; however we have selected Music Group as they represent the perfect fit in terms of strategic direction, overall synergies and company culture. Our team is thrilled to join Music Group and open a new chapter for TC Group and its prestigious brands. With the incredibly talented people and massive resources of the Music Group behind us, the team is excited to enter a new era of unprecedented innovation and growth.”



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Five Reasons Why the Roland TD-1K is the Ultimate Electronic Drum Kit For Beginners

The Best Value in Entry-Level Electronic Drums Authors: Jim Bybee, Roland UK Features Team Have you always wanted to play the drums, but haven’t taken the plunge yet because of concerns about noise, setup space, or cost? If so, you should really reconsider—the recently released Roland TD-1K makes getting into drumming practical, cost-effective, and most of all, fun. As the new […]

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Music Foundations Video Tutorial – Chord Theory Part Two: Chord Extensions w/ Max Wild

In this second video of a series on advanced chord theory, Dubspot Instructor and Saxophone innovator Max Wild explains chord voicing and demonstrates practical applications of chords with extensions. Learn more about music theory and the music you love from the inside out in our upcoming Music Foundations course in NY, LA, and Online. Check out the course details and enroll today!

Click here to view the embedded video.

In this second video of a series on advanced chord theory, Dubspot Music Foundations Instructor Max Wild talks about various chord extensions and how chord voicings can be used to enrich your music. Expanding on 7th chord inversions from part one in the series, Max demonstrates how to play Major, Minor, and Dominant chord extensions. Learn how to play Dominant 7th and Minor 7th chords with extensions to the 9th, 11th, and 13th chords. Max also introduces us to Lydian and Dorian Modes while demonstrating how to avoid tritones. To wrap up the video, Max shows us how to apply various chord extensions using examples from Disclosure’s hit track “White Noise.

Also, check out Music Foundations – Advanced Chord Theory Part One: Chord Inversions w/ Max Wild

Click here to view the embedded video.


About Max Wild

Electronic Music Production Instructor

Saxophone innovator and producer Max Wild has been a forerunner on the Afro-jazz scene in New York since commanding international attention with his ObliqSound release Tamba, which features Zimbabwean vocalists Chiwoniso and the late Sam Mtukudzi, as well as Wild’s all-star band from New York. Raised in Zimbabwe by German parents, and later moving to Berlin, London, and then New York, Wild was exposed to a broad spectrum of music from an early age. With credentials that range from performing with Grammy-nominated jazz tenorist Mark Turner to recording with Afropop icon Oliver Mtukudzi, Wild started producing music as well as incorporating electronic elements into his live performances using Ableton Live. He has performed at major jazz and world music venues and festivals around the world such as Nuits d’Afrique Montreal, Celebrate Brooklyn New York, Harare International Festival of the Arts Zimbabwe, Maalmakula Festival Estonia, Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club London UK, House on Fire Swaziland, and Music Meeting Holland.

Wild is an accomplished educator and teaches music theory and ear-training at Manhattan School of Music Precollege as well as giving music workshops around the world. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from London’s Guildhall School of Music and a Master of Music from Manhattan School of Music. In April 2012 he was recruited by Dubspot to teach Music Foundations.

Connect with Max on the Web!
Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

EDU Summer Sessions

Music Foundations

The best producers, DJs, and musicians in the world strive to be well-rounded. So should you. In Dubspot’s Music Foundations Program, you’ll explore three major aspects of music: rhythmic theory, melodic theory, and critical listening.

Unravel electronic music’s origins, build your chops, learn musical language and theory, and make and play music the way you want.

Click here to view the embedded video.

What’s Included:

  • Music Foundations Level 1: Pads & Rhythmic Theory
  • Music Foundations Level 2: Keys & Melodic Theory
  • Music Foundations Level 3: Critical Listening

“This course exceeded my expectations. I went through everything I needed to have a solid knowledge of basic music theory.” – Jonathan Crespo, Miami

“MF has been an amazing experience! I didn’t realize I was going to learn so much about electronic music history, something my generation missed.” – Yianno Koumi, United Kingdom

Start dates and information about payment plans can be found here.

Or if you have questions, please call 877.DUBSPOT or send us a message.


The post Music Foundations Video Tutorial – Chord Theory Part Two: Chord Extensions w/ Max Wild appeared first on Dubspot Blog.

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This Video Demonstrates How Akai’s New Keyboard Controls Everything

It’s a horse race. Two keyboards – one from Native Instruments, one from AKAI – really want to be the interface between you and every plug-in you own. And we’re getting closer to find out if either deserves your attention. You’ve heard this story before. Sure, you have powerful software on your computer screen. But … Continue →

The post This Video Demonstrates How Akai’s New Keyboard Controls Everything appeared first on Create Digital Music.

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Restoration of Rolling Stones’ Mobile Studio underway

Restoration of Rolling Stones' Mobile Studio underway

An electronics engineer in Canada is in the process of restoring The Rolling Stones' iconic Mobile Studio, which was used for the recording of Exile on Main St. and Sticky Fingers, CTV News has reported.

Originally built in 1968 to allow the group to record while on the move, the famous studio on wheels is being revamped in time for the launch of the new $168 million Studio Bell complex at the National Music Centre (NMC) in Calgary, which is set to open next spring.

Instead of creating something entirely new, the engineer, John Leimseder is aiming to retain as much as of the old setup as possible.

"We're not trying to redesign anything. We're trying to fix everything that's broken," said Leimseider, who admitted it's been a challenge to source some of the equipment needed to achieve the task, but also revealed that the Helios console is now approximately 95% functional.

According to Leimseder the studio, which was also used by Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac and Deep Purple and was based outside New York venue CBGB for some time, is probably now worth around $1 million.

The vehicle itself has been undriveable for around 14 years, since the engine failed in Indiana during a trip from New York to the Canadian city. But once fully revived, two new recording studios at the NMC, as well as the stage of King Eddy, a 300-seat live music venue that will form part of the new complex, will be wired into the Mobile Studio.

"So somebody could be doing a live set at the King Eddy and have it recorded onto the truck that recorded Smoke on the Water. It think that's so cool," Leimseider added.

"One of the nice things about restoring all this gear is the payoff when you get to hear (it) used for something new."

Picture: www.rollingstones.com

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Midwich recruits new sales specialist

Midwich recruits new sales specialist

The Midwich Group has reinforced its pro-audio sales force with the appointment of Simon Druce, who joins the distributor as audio external sales specialist.

Druce brings with him 15 years of experience, having worked previously for audio brands Sennheiser and Audio-Technica, and suppliers CUK and Polar Audio.

New recruit Druce joins a team of specialists headed up by sales manager Scott Pollard, and will be responsible for the audio portfolio at Midwich. The field-based role means that Druce will be able to assist dealers with all elements of a project – no matter where they are based – from helping make the right audio decision to demonstrating the products.

“It's great to be joining a successful company that is continually developing its strategy and approach to business. Audio is a significant part of any project, and I'm really pleased to be working as part of the team delivering that message," stated Druce. "Customers can have confidence in our expertise when it comes to specifying the right products for a total AV solution.”

Midwich solutions director Jon Dew-Stanley added: “Simon has a wealth of experience in the professional audio market having worked in both distribution and manufacturing. Combined with the distribution from Midwich of 60 leading audio brands, we look forward to adding further value to our vendor partners and customers alike.

“Simon’s extensive knowledge of sound reinforcement, audio conferencing and professional sound systems adds significant weight to the customer experience we offer and completes a technically rounded AV project support.” 


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