Acoustic Sounds acquires Doug Sax’s The Mastering Lab

Acoustic Sounds acquires Doug Sax's The Mastering Lab

Global audiophile recording supplier Acoustic Sounds’ CEO Chad Kassem has purchased The Mastering Lab from the estate of legendary mastering engineer Doug Sax, who passed away in April.

The acquisition comes just three months after Acoustic Sounds bought 13 vintage record presses to meet the surging demand for vinyl LPs.

The sale pairs Quality Record Pressings (QRP), a division of Acoustic Sounds and a well-established audiophile LP manufacturer with the Grammy Award-winning sound engineering and LP lacquer cutting business started four decades ago by Sax, who was known for his work with the likes of Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Neil Young, Barbra Streisand and dozens more.

Kassem said his strategy behind the purchase was to create the only vertically integrated vinyl LP production facility in the US. From mastering and record pressing to graphic design and printing to direct-to-consumer sales, the company's chief believes QRP now has all the capabilities needed to bring LPs to market.

“Expanding and rounding out our capabilities to meet the growing demand for vinyl was the key to this acquisition,” commented Kassem. “That, coupled with the history of The Mastering Lab and Doug's reputation, makes this purchase very gratifying.”

As a result of the sale, The Mastering Lab will now relocate from Ojai, California to Acoustic Sounds’ headquarters in Salina, Kansas.

“I'm very confident that Chad will do everything he can to honor Doug's legacy by maintaining his high standards for quality,” added Bill Schnee, a veteran producer/engineer and multiple Grammy Award winner. “It’s also comforting to know there's going to be a little bit of Doug in everything that QRP produces."

Sax was considered by many to be a true legend in the music industry, as well as a mentor and friend to numerous audio engineers, producers and musicians. With partners Lincoln Mayorga and older brother Sherwood Sax, he opened the doors to The Mastering Lab – thought to be the first independent mastering facility – in Hollywood in December 1967, and moved the facility further north to Ojai in 2006.

The Lab's custom, all-tube electronics and console are all designed and handcrafted by Sherwood Sax.

The studio has earned more Grammy nominations for engineering than any other mastering facility and has turned out many classic rock albums over the years, including Pink Floyd's The Wall, Who’s Next by The Who, The Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers and the debut album from Eagles. Sax was also known for establishing a pioneering set of procedures for testing and evaluating audio components by ear. .

Sax and Robert Hadley were also the first mastering engineers to win a Grammy Award for 'Best 5.1 Surround Album' for Ray Charles' Genius Loves Company in 2004.

“Maintaining Doug’s reputation for quality will be our company's challenge and our reward,” Kassem concluded. “We'll keep Doug's legacy alive by offering the highest-quality audio mastering done to standards matching Doug's, using his equipment that he used to produce so many fine, award-winning recordings.”

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First UK Powersoft X Series sale goes to Mungo’s Hi Fi

First UK Powersoft X Series sale goes to Mungo's Hi Fi

Glasgow-based reggae and dub specialists, Mungo's Hi Fi, a well-known Jamaican-style sound system group, has invested in Powersoft’s K Series and X Series technology.

The purchase was made after they made the short journey over the River Clyde to the home of the manufacturer’s UK and Ireland distributor CUK Audio to place the order – the sale of two X8s represented the first of this 'game-changing' product in the UK.

Within a dance genre dating back to the ‘50s, dominated by highly competitive self-built sound systems, CUK's general manager Stuart Cunningham is of the opinion that that Mungo’s Hi Fi are “ahead of everyone else – they are right at the vanguard”. He added: “People can get quite anal about their amps and Powersoft is not only causing a lot of curiosity but is proving particularly popular in the roots and reggae sector.”

The many sound systems that dominate the dub and drum n bass stages on the international festival circuit are characterised by their own signature – in Mungo’s case a raw, stripped back wood finish to a mixture of both branded speakers and self-built scoop bins.

But transporting so much tonnage, they were eager to reduce the power-to-weight ratio of their amplifiers.

Frenchman Jerome Joly, one of the seven who make up the Mungo’s collective, explained: “I was looking at upgrading our amps with something lighter and digital, and much as we like DIY systems we are always on the look-out for new technology. There are lots of sound systems around and they have to be on the cutting edge.

“The music we play is bass heavy and the fact that the K20 packed so much power in just 1U was ideal. Also, we really liked the onboard DSP, whereas with our old analogue amps there was no processing.”

The system is driven five-way, with the X8 assigned to the stereo mid-top enclosures – some of them customised Void Acoustics boxes – and the K20 to the subwoofers. “For the music we play you need headroom, and theoretically this will take 8,000W. Dub music requires sustained bass notes and the amps we have used in the past would sometimes struggle.”

With the summer festival season approaching, Mungo’s Hi Fi will be taking their new Powersoft amps far and wide, including Dimensions/Outlook Festival in Croatia, United Nations of Dub Weekenders (UNOD) in Wales, Dub Camp Festival in France, Uprising Festival in Slovakia and once again the Blues Stage at Glastonbury in the Silver Hayes dance area – designed as a shanty town stage, where they will again work with CUK, whom they praise for the support they have provided.

Joly added: “Powersoft is already causing quite buzz. I speak to a lot of sound techs from the touring world on the circuit who like to see other amps in action.”

Among them are O.B.F. Sound System from France. “They came over to play with us and were asking about Powersoft. The interest is growing rapidly and people are sharing the experience,” he concluded.

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InfoComm 2015: Yamaha reveals new signal processor

Designed to complement the CIS range’s MTX series of fixed architecture matrix processors, Yamaha has launched the MRX7-D open architecture signal processor at InfoComm 2015.

The model promises to deliver ‘simple yet outstandingly flexible control’ for sound systems in hotels, ballrooms, houses of worship, schools, libraries, theatres, convention centres, conference rooms and many other applications.

The MRX7-D features eight mic/line analogue inputs, eight analogue outputs and two stereo RCA inputs, with an onboard mini-YGDAI card slot allowing local I/O expansion and connection to other digital audio products. Also featured is 16 channels of Yamaha’s proprietary YDIF I/O and 64 channels of Dante I/O. The MRX7-D can feature a total simultaneous I/O count of up to 110 inputs and 104 outputs.

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The MRX7-D promises significant benefits for conference applications, including onboard Dan Dugan automated mixing and newly-designed Acoustic Echo Cancellation (AEC), which will be capable of being controlled from Revolabs Executive Elite boardroom-ready wireless microphones via a future software update.

A further key feature of the MRX7-D is Yamaha’s patented Speech Privacy system which uses sonic masking techniques created from human voices to mask the intelligible content of speech.

“We have been very excited to work with Yamaha on the MRX7-D. Clear, understandable speech in audio and video conferencing has always been a challenge for users. The combination of the Dugan Speech System algorithm with Revolabs microphones will make the MRX7-D an unbeatable voice processing system in the commercial market,” said Dan Dugan, CEO of Dan Dugan Sound Design.

Featuring RS232C and Ethernet connectors to facilitate connection to a variety of external controllers, including those by AMX and Crestron, the MRX7-D can also be controlled by Yamaha DCP series control panels, the Wireless DCP app and Yamaha’s new ProVisionaire Touch app. Setup is available via Yamaha MTX-MRX Editor software.

Ken Hiraoka, Yamaha pro audio department manager commented: “After we launched the MTX Series, we received many requests for open architecture products. The MRX7-D answers the need for open architecture DSP design and adds another significant element to the CIS series of processors, amplifiers and loudspeakers. In addition, the collaboration with Revolabs and Dan Dugan Sound Design helps Yamaha to realise a new era for conference applications. We will further enhance this area with the addition of additional products in the future.”

The MRX7-D is scheduled to ship in the summer of 2015.

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InfoComm 2015: d&b debuts new D-Series amps

d&b audiotechnik has introduced its newest four-channel, 2 RU amplifiers at InfoComm 2015: the 10D and 30D.

The first d&b amplifiers tailored for permanent integration, the 10D and 30D deliver 700W and 1600W per channel respectively and share the same Digital Signal Processing (DSP) platform and capabilities as the d&b D20 amplifier and the flagship D80. These amplifiers all provide ‘comprehensive’ d&b loudspeaker management and switchable filter functions. They incorporate two 16-band equalisers comprising parametric, notch, asymmetric and shelving filters along with up to ten seconds of delay for each of the four channels. Between them they promise to cover almost all install applications, differing only in output voltage and loudspeaker setups. DSP capabilities are also ready for further expansion via future d&b firmware updates.

To ensure integration into existing permanent installations, the10D and 30D amplifiers offer five programmable General Purpose Input / Output pins, meaning external devices can be used for control or detection functions. They provide both four analog and four digital AES/EBU inputs, all of which can be summed and routed to any of the four outputs. This extended input matrix allows all eight inputs to be used simultaneously. In addition, each input features an independent input gain, which means various input sources with different levels, can be used without requiring an external mixing device. System status monitoring ensures suitability for sound reinforcement systems for emergency situations.

These devices can be accessed using either CAN-Bus, or via Ethernet using the Open Control Architecture (OCA) protocols. They are controlled using the d&b R1 Remote control software, which presents an entire system graphically, enabling the central control and management of a complete system. Password protection functions restrict access, and AmpPresets enable users to change predefined levels or configuration settings of devices. Alternatively, the 10D and 30D can be controlled using the integrated web interface, allowing individual amplifiers to be controlled using a browser window.

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The 30D amplifier contains configurations for all d&b loudspeakers and is designed for medium to large applications with demanding SPL requirements. The 30D is suitable for all medium sized venues including stadiums, nightclubs, musical theatres, houses of worship and town halls.

“These new devices answer the demands for a d&b amplifier designed specifically for installations,” said product manager Wolfgang Schulz. “The predictable results from our highly appreciated mobile systems are now available for fixed installations, with very cost effective and efficient results.They offer a new price to performance for our installation customers and the d&b sound quality, reliability and flexibility that everyone has come to expect.”

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