Artist Gear Setup: Danny Tenaglia

For todays artist gear setup we get to take a look inside the travel bag of veteran DJ/producer, Danny Tenaglia. The New York based DJ started collecting records at 10 years old and in 1979 got his first taste of no boundaries mixing when he heard DJ Larry Levan's genre-less mixing at Paradise Garage. A longtime vinyl advocate, he has now switched to DJing Traktor Pro 2. See what's in Danny Tenaglia's bag after the jump.

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Grand Central Recording Studios hosts evening with Neil Brand

Grand Central Recording Studios hosts evening with Neil Brand

Audio Media International had the pleasure yesterday of attending ‘The Big Bang Theory: An Evening with BBC’s Neil Brand’, hosted by Grand Central Recording Studios (GCRS) in Soho, London.

Following a tour of the six-studio complex with its numerous AMS Neve DFC Gemini consoles, the evening was opened by GCRS managing director Carole Humphrey, who shared the facility’s sentiment that ‘audio is more important than ever’, before introducing renowned composer and writer Brand, who brought all the experience garnered over his lengthy career to deliver a presentation centred on ‘sound in space, and making space for sound’.

Brand expounded on how the advance of technology has become a double-edged sword in the industry; while it has expanded the palette for artists to virtually unlimited levels, it has also created the issue of ‘too much decision-making’ in audio production and post.

The evening took place in GCRS’ Dolby 5.1-certified Studio 8, which worked to illustrate Brand’s arguments on immersive sound and how it relates to and shapes listener experience. Clips were also interspersed throughout the night, specially chosen by Brand to elucidate his narrative. These clips included classic works as well as some of GCRS’ own projects, with some of the house’s engineers on hand to explain the creative decisions which went in to the finished products.

Of particular note was Brand’s use of the introductory scene from the 1961 film The Innocents, an opening memorable for its use of ambiguous sound against a distinct lack of visuals, designed to leave the viewer reliant on sound for cues as they try and piece together what is happening. “The opportunity for us to make connections ourselves is very important,” he explained. “If you hear two sounds at the same time, our mind will try to make sense of them, but you have to allow space to do that.”

The night also included short musical interludes by Brand himself on piano, as he illustrated the framing devices utilised in Nelson Riddle and Frank Sinatra musical numbers.

Brand was keen to champion measured use of today’s technology throughout the evening. ‘It’s not about complexity, it’s about simplicity,’ he asserted, explaining that the most effective pieces of art are those that paint entire pictures ‘with a single brush stroke’.

The session was the first in a series of Summer of Sound events due to take place in 2015 throughout GCRS.

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2manybuttons is a Perfect Parody of Live Laptop Controllerism

You’ve seen plenty of EDM and DJ parodies, snarky Facebook images poking fun at people who can’t use turntables, what have you. But let me just level with you: this video could basically be a parody of CDM … of me. I… Well, I can’t really say much more. Just watch. (Another way you can … Continue →

The post 2manybuttons is a Perfect Parody of Live Laptop Controllerism appeared first on Create Digital Music.

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Review: Merging Technologies Hapi

Review: Merging Technologies Hapi

Stephen Bennett puts the Swiss manufacturer’s latest piece of Ravenna-compatible hardware through its paces.

No, this isn’t a review of a piece of equipment that will improve your mood – Hapi is actually the latest audio interface from Merging Technologies.

Continuing to name its interfaces after Egyptian deities, the new boy on Merging’s block gets its moniker from one of the four sons of Horus, which is another Merging product, so surely we can expect at least three more siblings spawned from the company’s flagship interface? The naming of Hapi makes a lot of sense really as it shares many of the features of its parent interface, albeit in a smaller, less expandable package.

Hapi is unusual in the world of rack mount interfaces, as it utilises Ethernet-based connectivity to communicate with the computer, shifting audio via a single Cat cable. Hapi talks with the outside world via Ravenna, an AES67-compatible layer 3 IP-based audio networking protocol, which provides up to 88 input and 90 output channels over a single Cat5e or Cat6 cable to any other Ravenna-based devices on the network, including the Horus interface. Hapi will happily – see what I did there? – play ball with any existing computer networks. The use of Ravenna enables the interface to work at extremely low latencies and jitter rates and synchronisation information – including Linear Time code (LTC), Video Reference and Wordclock – is also handled alongside Ravenna.

Hapi is a 19in one-unit-high modular multichannel, networked audio interface and A/D converter. It is beautifully finished in ivory white and, as you may expect from a device built by the Swiss, it feels solidly constructed with the minimalist front panel featuring just a data entry knob, an OLED screen a headphone jack and a backlit Merging logo that doubles as an on/off switch. 

Merging boasts that the Hapi is extremely frugal in power usage, going so far as to provide display of power consumption, and is happy to print detailed technical specifications of the unit in the user manual, right down to the gain behaviour of the direct output section. 

The rear panel of the basic Hapi features a D–connector for AES channels 1-8, an SPDIF/ADAT connection, BNC connectors for Wordclock, a D-connector for Sync purposes and two Ethernet sockets for connection to the computer and other Hapi or Horus interfaces. The two slots for the optional input and output modules sit next to the IEC mains connector – the Hapi’s switchable power supply will work at 240V or 110V AC and there’s also a DC power supply option that can be used to directly power the unit on location or act as a backup supply in situations where you think you may lose mains power. All the inputs and outputs on Hapi are handled by D-subs, which makes sense as most professional installations use the Tascam connectors these days, although Merging can provide you with breakout cables if you’re so uncool as to be still using XLR and TRS connectors. 

Hapi is a modular unit, working happily – look, I’ll stop now – with Apple’s Core Audio and Steinberg’s ASIO 2.2 audio protocols. The interface can handle two modules at a time and are the same ones that can be fitted to the Horus, providing quite a few operational options. The base unit provides eight channels of AES digital I/O and eight channels of ADAT interfacing, which can then be expanded by filling the two module slots. Most modules are available in ‘standard’ and ‘premium’ versions – the former are able to work at sample rates of up to 192kHz, while the latter are DSD/DXD compatible. Merging produces modules that offer eight-channel microphone and line level input cards with direct outputs (AD8D and AD8DP) and eight-channel line output cards in both versions (DA8 and DA8P), a standard eight-channel microphone/line digital to analogue (D-A) card (ADA8) and a MADI I/O card. The direct outputs on the mic/line cards enable the user to split off the analogue signal immediately after the mic preamplifier, which can then be used to feed monitors or another recording device. The A-D converters on the premium cards feature extended headroom for DSD work and the stated technical specification of both types of standard module is very impressive and comparable with the best audio interfaces on the market today. 

This modular flexibility means that you can specify precisely what connectivity you require from your interface and, as Hapi is perfectly capable of working as a standalone unit, I can see it getting a lot of love from those of us who create permanent audio installations. The MADI module provides users with up to 64 channels of I/O, and both coaxial and optical interfaces are available simultaneously and configurable in blocks of eight channels – the one limitation being that Hapi can only handle one MADI module at a time. Modules can be changed by the user so it’s conceivable that you could purchase more than two and swap them out for specific tasks.

The supplied software installs the Ravenna control and MTDiscovery applications and the ASIO and Core Audio drivers. MTDiscovery displays all of the Ravenna-compatible devices that you have connected, including Hapi and Horus, ASIO, Core Audio and MassCore, the real-time engine used by Merging’s Pyramix DAW. The Merging/Ravenna Easy Connect application allows you to connect and view the various Ravenna streams on your network. 

Once your physical connections have been set up, Hapi can be controlled from the front panel display via a ‘push and turn’ menu system or a web browser on the computer. The browser interface presents a graphic view of the interface on the screen, with various function menus located under the Hapi logo. The Meters menu provides an onscreen display of the audio coming into, and out of Hapi but the latency in the display makes this feature only useful for ‘signal present or absent’ duties – although it does enable you to easily see if the audio is coming in too hot. The meters on the unit itself provide a more accurate indication of actual input and output signal levels. The Preamp menu displays an on screen mixer, showing the available analogue inputs. Here, users can switch between mic or line level inputs, engage the +48V phantom power and swap the phase of the channel. Pad and 80Hz high pass filter buttons sit alongside a low impedance input setting, while the long throw input level faders can easily be grouped together. The I/O and Sync menu allows the user to adjust various synchronisation settings, while the Headphone menu has the routing options for the front panel headphone jack. 

The Setup menu opens a page where you can view and control most of the Hapi’s other parameters, including system and Wordclock output sample rates and a section where the user can override the default Network settings to let Hapi play nicely with existing infrastructure. The Presets sub-menu enables the user to store and load up to five preset banks of Hapi configurations at one time. The Routing menu requires some extra explanation as Ravenna offers some quite complex routing options – Merging has applied a ‘route to’ instead of the more common ‘route from’ philosophy in its connection methodology and the company says that, after an initial learning period, this presents a more efficient process for connecting Ravenna inputs and outputs – and they are probably right! You choose where you want your audio to go, decide what input you want to feed to that output, and the software offers up all the possible connectivity options. To avoid confusion – they hope – Merging has limited the routing options to blocks of eight channels so you can, for example, route eight AES input channels to eight MADI outputs. It sounds a tad complicated when written down, but it’s much simpler to grasp in operation.

The front panel of the Hapi can also be used to set these options, so you don’t need to use a computer to adjust the settings. The OLED screen is clear and the menu system relatively simple to use. 

In Use

The Hapi that was supplied for the review by UK distributor emerging was loaded with both standard and premium mic/line cards, so I connected the monitor outputs to my ATC SCM50A powered monitors and got to work right away. Setup of the unit went swimmingly and my first port of call was to listen to some familiar mixes through the ATCs. It was obvious from the word go that the D/A converters and analogue electronics on the Hapi are of an extremely high quality and easily up to par with my current beau, the two-channel Metric Halo ULN-2 interface, while also being audibly superior to the Apogee Duet II, RME and Digidesign 192 I/O interfaces I compared it with. The microphone inputs are extraordinarily clean with bags of headroom and again, are similar in quality to those in my Metric Halo unit, which are themselves considered exceptional, so the Merging unit is impressive in this respect. I used the Hapi to record acoustic guitars, a string quartet and drums using a brace of AKG 414 XLS and Neumann KM84 microphones. I have a lot of experience of recording similar instruments using these microphones and the Hapi did not disappoint. Merging’s interface also passed my ‘if it’s a good preamp it’ll make the Shure SM57 microphone shine’ test on snare drum and Celestion-filled guitar cab, which is not something that all microphone preamplifiers that I’ve used can do.

The Hapi is a compact, flexible and relatively inexpensive high-quality audio interface that will be equally at home in the studio, on the road or in a fixed installation. The Ravenna audio network means that latencies are ultra low, and the flexibility of the connectivity with other devices using the same protocol, even over standard networks infrastructure, means complex systems are easy to manage. Merging has taken the technology it premiered in its Horus interface and created an impressive offspring that any self-respecting audio engineer would be Hapi to own.

Stephen Bennett has been involved in music production for over 30 years. Based in Norwich he splits his time between writing books and articles on music technology, recording and touring, and lecturing at the University of East Anglia.

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PreSonus unveils Studio One 3 software

PreSonus unveils Studio One 3 software

PreSonus has revealed that Studio One 3, a significant update to its digital audio workstation, is now shipping.

Available in Artist and Professional editions, v3 introduces new options for song arranging and experimentation, as well as new ways to craft 'unique and evocative' sounds. In addition, Studio One 3 enables new methods of controlling and mixing within the application, features a configurable UI for high-resolution displays and is the first DAW to offer a dual platform (Mac and Windows) multi-touch interface, according to the manufacturer.

Studio One 3 Professional introduces the Arranger Track, which makes it easy to build and rearrange songs, letting the user copy or move entire song sections via simple drag-and-drop. It has its own Track Inspector that shows all sections of the song, which also doubles as a quick navigation tool.

Unique Scratch Pads, also in Studio One Professional, provide an independent parallel timeline that lets the user safely experiment on alternate ideas without jeopardising arrangements. Unlimited Scratch Pads can be saved with a project, saving the trouble of numerous alternate song files.

The updated Browser makes it easier to find the right content with tag-based “musical” search. Users can now search for loops, samples, and presets by typing keywords or by filtering content by selecting tags. The Browser also now has an integrated Cloud tab to access additional content online.

Extended FX Chains, new in the Pro version, provide new ways to build complex, multi-dimensional sounds by chaining and combining effects plug-ins in serial, in parallel by channel, or by frequency with up to five splits.

Also new in Professional, Multi Instruments allow the user to combine multiple instruments as layers or splits in a single Instrument Track and play them like one instrument. Further dimensions can be added to a sound by using Note FX on individual Instruments layers within a Multi Instrument.

Note FX is a new plug-in type introduced in Studio One 3 that adds life to Instrument tracks by processing their note data. The four Note FX included with Studio One 3 Professional are Arpeggiator, Chorder, Repeater, and Input Filter.

Each console channel and Multi Instrument in Studio One Professional now offers Macro Controls, which allow individual instrument or plug-in parameters to be assigned to control knobs, switches, and X/Y pads. Multiple parameters can be assigned to the same control with independent settings for range/polarity/curve.

Studio One version 3 features a powerful new instrument engine that drives two new instruments.

Mai Tai is a polyphonic analogue modelling synth for modern electro and bass sounds. Mai Tai’s sounds can change character and produce drastic morphing changes and unique timbres. Its Multimode filter offers sounds ranging from vintage analogue (a la Moog or Oberheim) to state-of-the-art, zero-delay feedback filters. Mai Tai’s oscillators and LFOs have a free-run option, like an analogue synth. Users can also build complex sounds with modular-synth-style operation through Mai Tai's 16-stage modulation matrix.

Presence XT is an expandable, full-featured sampler with a comprehensive sample library. It offers disk streaming for large samples, and many sounds utilise articulation key-switching, scripting, and custom controls for unique sound parameters. Studio One 3 Professional includes a 14 GB sound library for Presence XT and can read popular sampler formats, including EXS, Kontakt, Giga, and SoundFont without conversion.

In total, there are over 70 new features and updates included in the Studio One version 3 upgrade, which is available in Artist and Professional versions – as both upgrades and full programs – at music retailers worldwide and direct from PreSonus. In June, PreSonus will also introduce Studio One Prime, a fully functioning free version, which will provide a great way to get started with Studio One.

For more information on the update, see the website below.

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Creative Technology expands Riedel inventory

Creative Technology expands Riedel inventory

Creative Technology (CT), described as one of the world's leading suppliers of AV equipment, has expanded its inventory of Riedel Communications real-time video, audio, data, and communications solutions.

The Riedel systems contribute to Creative Technology's ability to meet the communications and signal transport requirements of sports, corporate, exhibition and entertainment events.

"Our success as a staging services provider is a direct result of our innovative application of the latest technology alongside the very best technical and operational personnel," said Dave Crump, CEO at CT for Europe and the Middle East. "We have been using Riedel equipment in the US for some time, and this new investment underlines the confidence we have in Riedel gear and the critical role it plays in enabling our teams worldwide to provide high-quality, high-performing solutions tailored to the demands of the customer and event."

CT has invested in multiple units of Riedel's MediorNet Compact PRO, a 50G media distribution network designed for small to mid-sized applications. Because the solution is compatible with all other MediorNet devices, it is fully scalable and can serve as a satellite stagebox in larger media network applications.

Alongside the MediorNet investment, CT has also purchased C3 digital beltpack/master stations and headsets as the first phase of replacements and upgrades to its European intercom infrastructure. The ergonomically shaped Performer C3 two-channel beltpack uses high-quality digital audio to provide noise- and hum-free signals. Extensive DSP signal processing provides perfect side-tone nulling and excellent intelligibility in applications with very high ambient noise levels. 

"Creative Technology supports many of the world's premier live events, and it's always exciting to see how the company leverages our equipment to make each production a success," said Thomas Riedel, CEO at Riedel Communications. "We look forward to further work with CT as it continues to extend its portfolio of Riedel solutions."

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