TOP TEN: This week’s most-read articles

TOP TEN: This week's most-read articles

Audio Media International's weekly round-up includes reviews of new products from Mackie and Tascam, as well as stories on Nexo, Sennheiser, Soundcraft, Lake and Electro-Voice's latest launches.

The most-read piece this week, however, came from engineer Wes Maebe, on the topic of Mastered for iTunes.

Take a look at the rest of our news summary...

1. Mastered for iTunes – friend or foe?

Wes Maebe on why his reaction to the arrival of Apple’s MFiT concept was one of excitement, not disapproval.

2. Prolight + Sound: Nexo launches ID Series loudspeakers

InSpace Definition family comprises specialised models for install, touring and AV and custom applications.

3. Review: Mackie DL32R

Strother Bullins puts the next big thing in audio capture and control through its paces, and finds it more than lives up to the hype.

4. Review: Tascam DR-10X

“I need to play with one of those” was Jerry Ibbotson’s initial reaction to the release of this new device, but did it meet expectations?

5. Sennheiser and Apogee collaborate on clip-on mics

ClipMic digital and MKE 2 digital promise superior performance and feature extensive iOS integration.

6. Prolight + Sound: Picture gallery

Take a look at our selection of snaps from last week's event.

7. 'Good Morning Britain' selects Sony DWX systems

Wireless mic solution offers ITV's flagship breakfast TV show 'the reliability and sound quality demanded of national programming.'

8. First install purchase for Soundcraft Vi7000

Already home to a Vi4 and Vi6, Melkweg music and arts centre in Amsterdam was quick to invest in a pair of the new consoles.

9. Prolight + Sound: Lake Controller v6.4 revealed

Upgrade brings recallable EQ overlays, Rational Power Management and more to optimise large systems.

10. Electro-Voice presents portable EKX series

New range of loudspeakers promises 'legendary' EV sound quality and reliability in a lightweight package.

Picture: A rear view of the new ID24t from Nexo

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Blue Hummingbird microphone now available

Blue Hummingbird microphone now available

Blue Microphones has announced the availability of the Hummingbird Class A small-diaphragm microphone.

With a ‘precisely tuned’ diaphragm based on Blue’s B1 capsule, Hummingbird is designed to be ultra-responsive and deliver extended frequency response, suitable for studio and stage use on drum overheads, acoustic guitar, strings, harp, or any other instrument with fast transients and rich overtones. Hummingbird also features an adjustable pivoting head that allows for 180° of rotation.

“With fast transient response, high SPL handling and extended high frequency, Hummingbird is an exceptional small diaphragm microphone. To take it further, we designed the capsule to rotate 180° for easy placement and now you have an undeniable weapon for drum overheads, acoustic guitar, piano and more,” said Tommy Edwards, director of product management at Blue. “Like its avian counterpart, the Hummingbird is compact, able to fit precisely into tight spaces, and can nimbly change positions where others can’t.”

Featuring a pressure gradient cardioid capsule based on Blue’s B1 capsule and a proprietary Class A, fully discrete circuit, Hummingbird promises balanced character with plenty of sparkling high end. With no ICs in the signal path, the mic exhibits ‘maximum detail and the lowest possible noise floor’. The Hummingbird is designed to capture the nuances of a wide range of instruments.

Inspired by the Dragonfly and Mouse microphones, Hummingbird’s 180° pivoting head enables free range of motion for positioning. When using two Hummingbirds as stereo overheads, the 180° rotating head allows an engineer to ‘precisely dial in the stereo field in seconds’.

Hummingbird comes with a road-ready protective carrying case, along with a mic clip and foam windscreen.  Hummingbird is now available at authorised retailers with an MSRP of $299.99.

http://www.bluemic.com

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Sherlock team takes first AMPS TV Drama Award

Sherlock team takes first AMPS TV Drama Award

Jon Mooney, Paul McFadden, Doug Sinclair and Howard Bargroff have won the first AMPS Award for Excellence in Sound for a Television Drama for their work on Sherlock.

Sound mixer Howard Bargroff commented: "Thanks so much for this. Means a lot coming from such an illustrious body as AMPS. We're really chuffed to say the least.”

The winners will receive their trophies at an AMPS (Association of Motion Picture Sound) awards ceremony in September along with the 2014 AMPS Film Award winners.

Five TV Dramas broadcast in 2014 were selected by an AMPS Awards Committee, from which the four leading sound crew members (production sound mixing, dialogue editing, sound effects editing and re-recording mixing) were nominated for award.

“I would like to congratulate the Sherlock sound team on their win as they were up against tough competition," said Laura Lovejoy from the AMPS TV Awards Group. "Sherlock is a very popular show and the sound track has always been of a very high standard so it is a worthy winner of this award.”

For a full list of the original nominees, click here.

AMPS Sustaining Members Twickenham Studios and Goldcrest Post Production sponsored the award. Maria Walker at Twickenham Studios added: "We are delighted to be associated with AMPS and to be a sponsor of its inaugural Television Award 2014. Sherlock was a worthy winner and I congratulate the sound team on their win."

The Film and TV award program was created to mark the Association’s 25th anniversary in 2014 with plans to expand in future years to include a broader selection of creative sound technicians.

Picture: BBC

http://www.ampawards.com

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Why You Need To Start Collecting Fans Emails

DJ_EmailWhen it comes to promoting and networking the first thing most DJs immediately jump to is social media, "get a Facebook page and create an event," or "get a Soundcloud account and send out your mixes". While social media has it's place in promotion, DJs are missing out on a platform that has more users than Facebook and Twitter combined, plus more engaged users. Is this a brand new platform that just launched? Is it Facegramsnap? it's email. Today, David King, founder of Receiver, is going to share how to collect fans emails and why it's superior to social media for reach and engagement.

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ToneDen for iOS: Instantly Send Music To All Your Fans

ToneDenWhen you combine the number of new music projects that are being created daily with the fact that SoundCloud has over 12 hours of audio being uploaded to it every minute, getting your music in front of your existing fans is getting harder than ever. ToneDen’s free music sharing app aims to solve this problem by letting you instantly send your SoundCloud tracks to fans who follow you on their service.

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djay Pro Update: Apple Watch + CDJ Integration + VJing

Algoriddim_djay_ProEver since their first release, Algoriddim has been working hard to improve djay and djay Pro to meet the needs of the digital DJ. In a new update coming to both the mobile and Mac applications, users will have access to plug-and-play CDJ integration, an Apple Watch app that goes beyond notifications (iPhone only), and a one of a kind video DJing space. Algoriddim has worked hard since we last heard from them and DJTT has all the insider information below.

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Ableton Live Tutorial: Four Ways to Achieve Stereo Width w/ Curl Up

In this Ableton Live tutorial, Dubspot’s Dan Salvaggio aka curl up takes us through his approach to achieving stereo width for sounds in a project. Learn four great techniques used to make your sounds wide. Our all-new Ableton Live program at Dubspot LA, NY, and Online starts soon, Enroll Now!

stereo width

Stereo space is a crucial and often overlooked factor when it comes to making our productions the best they can be. In this article, curl up takes us through four simple techniques used to widen our individual tracks utilizing native Ableton Live 9 devices.

The First Method: Utility

1a_Utility

The simplest method of widening the stereo signal on an individual channel in Ableton Live is to use the Utility device. This wonderful little device is quite powerful and tremendously easy to use. Here, let’s focus on the ‘width’ parameter. By default, it’s set at 100%, which gives us an unchanged signal. When we reduce the width to 0%, we’re removing the stereo signal completely, leaving us with a mono signal. Setting sounds to mono is often used on elements that are intended to sound tight and solid in the mix (i.e.; kickdrums, sub basses, the bottom portion of a snare, etc.,). Alternatively, if we increase the width to 200%, we’re left only with the widened stereo signal. Typically, this is quite an extreme effect, and while you may have things sounding wide, it’ll be at the cost of your element sounding very thin and losing a lot of its meat. It’s recommended to use a light touch of stereo width (not straying too far above 100%). In addition, you could load a Utility on a Return Track with the width set to 200%, using (again) a very light touch with regards to sends, favoring select elements.

The Second Method: Auto Pan

2a_AutoPan

Auto Pan is a device most commonly used for bouncing the audio signal on a channel from left to right and vice versa at different rates. Based on that bit of info alone, we’re able to use the device to trick the listener into believing that they hear a static, wide track. This approach to widening a sound is achieved by adjusting the Rate control on Auto Pan to send VERY rapidly the signal from left to right and back. However, the issue with this technique is that when listening to a soloed track with this effect on, the LFO action is often quite apparent. This technique is less noticeable within the context of a busy song, as you’ll hear at the end of this article (spoilers!).

The Third Method: Simple Delay

3a_SimpleDelay

Using Simple Delay to achieve stereo width is by far my favorite method, and gets the most use in my studio. Ableton’s Simple Delay device boasts timing controls for both the left and right channels. What we’ll do here is change the delay mode from Beat Sync (yellow box that reads “Sync”) to time-based (orange box that reads “Time”) by clicking on it. Using time-based delays gives us infinitely more control over the speed of our delay. Let’s create a feeling of width here by offsetting the left and right channels, just slightly. In the example below, I’ve set the left channel to 23ms and the right to 59ms by adjusting to taste within the context of my song.

Quick, easy and sounds great!

The Fourth Method: Duplicate & Separate

stereo bwidth

Duplicating sounds to create stereo width is a technique I picked up ages ago from working with rock/metal engineers. Guitar tracks are often “double-tracked,” meaning they’re recorded twice (once for the left channel and once for the right). It’s preferred that the artist record two separate takes, as the differences in each, make them just slightly distinguishable from one another. This technique creates a similar feel as to what you get with the Simple Delay method. However, there are times when the mix engineer will have to make due with a singular (often mono) guitar track. With a bit of effort, the engineer can achieve a very similar effect.

First, we take the singular track, and we duplicate it. You may want to bring the volume on both channels down a tad. From there we ‘hard pan’ them, bringing one all the way to the left and the other all the way to the right. There is already some noticeable widening going on, but we can take this a lot further. Let’s start by offsetting the timing of each track. For this, we’re going to be using Ableton Live’s Track Delay, an often ignored but powerful tool. If we offset the Track Delay for each channel by a few milliseconds (one positive, one negative), we will have one track playing a few milliseconds after the other. This same concept is what we would be aiming for by having an artist record two takes. The farther apart these elements are, the less subtle the effect.

Another attribute we can change so that our result will more closely resemble something that was double-tracked is pitch. Even though you may be tuning your guitar before every take, it’s not unlikely that the two recorded tracks will be very slightly off-pitch from one another. If we’re working with audio, it’s as simple as offsetting the pitch of both clips (positive and negative) apart by just a few cents.

The beauty of this effect is that it’ll go as far as you take it. You can go even further by adding warp markers to each transient in the clip and manually offsetting each point from the corresponding clip in the other channel manually instead of using Track Delay. This technique will give you even more overall control.

Proceed with Caution!

Hearing a channel go from centered and dull to wide and beautiful can be instantly gratifying, and resisting the urge to widen EVERYTHING can be a challenge. I can personally attest to that. I recommend using a light touch in most cases (a little goes a long way!), as you do not want to lose sight of elements that are competing for space in your mix.

Conclusion

“There is no loud without quiet.” I don’t know who originally made that quote, and I probably butchered it (sorry!), but the same principal holds true here. Having centered elements makes your widened elements just that much more pronounced. For this article, I’ve crafted a short a tune utilizing all of the above techniques and elements to illustrate the effectiveness of widening certain elements within the context of a finished production. Enjoy!

Good luck and happy widening!


Ableton Live Producer Certificate Program

The flagship of our music training, with every Ableton Live course offered at the school. After completing this program, you will leave with a portfolio of original tracks, a remix entered in an active contest, a scored commercial to widen your scope, and the Dubspot Producer’s Certificate in Ableton Live.

What’s Included:

  • Ableton Live Level 1: Beats, Sketches, and Ideas
  • Ableton Live Level 2: Analyze, Deconstruct, Recompose, and Assemble
  • Ableton Live Level 3: Synthesis and Original Sound Creation
  • Ableton Live Level 4: Advanced Sound Creation
  • Ableton Live Level 5: Advanced Effect Processing
  • Ableton Live Level 6: Going Global with your Music

This program is about learning Ableton Live by going through the entire process of being an artist, by developing your own sound through a series of sketches and experimentation. You will also learn the ins and outs of this powerful software through a series of exercises designed to help you master the steps involved in producing your own music. After a level of getting familiar with the tools that Ableton has to offer, you will then develop your sonic ideas into full-length tracks. You will be exposed to a variety of approaches to arrangement and composition, storytelling techniques, ways of creating tension and drama in your music. At the end of the day, it is the sum total of your choices as an artist that define your sound, and levels 2 – 6 will give you the experience of actually completing tracks to add to your portfolio.

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

Click here to view the embedded video.

/files/2015/04/ableton_live_tutorial_stereowidth_thumb.jpg

The post Ableton Live Tutorial: Four Ways to Achieve Stereo Width w/ Curl Up appeared first on Dubspot Blog.

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djay Pro Now Works with CDJs, Adds 320k Spotify Streaming, VJ Tools

If you thought you could safely dismiss Algoriddim’s djay as some entry-level player, something for non-serious users, you might change your mind. And that could also cause Spotify to make a bigger splash with DJing. The company has a few surprise announcements today. 320k Spotify. First, you can now stream from Spotify at a full … Continue →

The post djay Pro Now Works with CDJs, Adds 320k Spotify Streaming, VJ Tools appeared first on Create Digital Music.

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Review: Tascam DR-10X

Review: Tascam DR-10X

“I need to play with one of those” was Jerry Ibbotson’s initial reaction to the release of this new handy device for broadcasters, but does it meet his expectations? Let’s see. 

Have you watched The Good Wife? It’s the hugely successful US TV drama about a woman called Alicia Florrik, played by Julianna Margulies, who returns to work in law after a 15-year hiatus. Well that’s been me over the last few months, as I’ve been back in the hustle and bustle of a radio newsroom, following a gap of a mere decade and a half.

A lot has changed in that time, not least in the hardware department. Radio reporters’ kit has evolved from Uhers and Marantzs (reel-to-reel and cassette respectively) through MiniDisc (one of my old favourites from my Newsbeat days) and on to solid state. Radio hacks can now be seen holding anything from an HHB FlashMic (now no longer made) to an iPhone. The latter is standard issue to more and more BBC radio journalists and comes with a suite of recording, editing, filing and live broadcasting software, some of which I’ve covered before in Audio Media.

But people are always looking for something new and the station engineer at BBC Radio York emailed me details of the Tascam DR-10X. It looks like a transmitter for a radio mic, but is actually a small recorder that plugs into the base of any dynamic microphone (ie, no phantom power needed). My immediate reaction was, “Oh, that’s clever.” My next was, “I need to play with one of those.”

When you first get your hands on the machine, it surprises you just how small it is – fitting in the palm of your hand. It has a grey composite body and a small OLED screen with just one line of characters. There are four buttons on the front for the menu system and audio playback, a combined On/Off and Record switch on one side and a micro USB port plus SD card slot and headphone connection on the other.

At the top is an XLR connector. This is pretty clever in that it not only has a rotating clamp but also a plastic collar to hold the base of your chosen microphone snugly in place. One concern I had before the Tascam arrived was that there would be a lot of ‘rattle’ around the XLR. This does not seem to be the case, thanks to that smart design.

The DR-10X records in just one format – mono Broadcast Wav. With memory now cheap and plentiful, there’s really no need to use compressed formats that still have to be converted to linear PCM for editing. The sample and bit rate are 48kHz/24 bit. The menu system is easy enough to navigate (it passed my “do I need to actually read the manual” test) and lets you alter settings such as the Low Cut Filter and whether or not the Auto Gain is working.

With the latter, I did have to pick up the instruction book to work out that the alternative to using the AGC is to select one of three preset sensitivity levels. Presumably with a unit this small, having a gain dial or buttons would take up too much room. In use in a newsroom, I can imagine the Auto setting being left on at all times anyway.

There is a useful Dual Record function that records a second version of your audio, at 6dB below the main channel. I remember using a similar Dual Leg Mono feature on my Marantz PMD 671 several years ago and it can come in handy if you’re worried about clipping and/or if your source has an unpredictable level.

To put the unit to the test I dropped in a single AAA battery and a Micro SD card and hooked it up to my ageing but trustworthy AKG news mic. This has recently been used in conjunction with my own recorder, a Roland R26, which I personally consider to be one of the best all-round machines I’ve used in 25 years of working in both radio and sound design. Not much to live up to then.

I initially set the DR-10X to Auto mode and did some recordings, monitoring on headphones. I’m old school, in that I’ve used cans when recording throughout my career. As audio purists you’ll be thinking, “So what?” but a surprising number of radio journalists don’t bother. The first thing that hit me was a wall of preamp hiss. The recording was OK, if a little dull, but the amount of noise was disappointing. Even when I was speaking, and therefore driving the AGC down, there was still a lot of hissing – a common flaw in a lot of cheaper recorders.

I switched to the lower of the manual presets and repeated the test. This time there was less hiss, but the signal was also at a lower level. But boosting this back up to a more acceptable peak also dragged the noise. I played all my recordings to my engineer friend and he agreed: there was too much preamp noise. He also didn’t like the overall sound of the recording.

Even taking into account the fact that a lot of radio material is broadcast as Mpeg2 and goes through all sorts of grim compression, encoding and decoding before it emerges in your kitchen or bathroom, this is not good. If a recording on a smartphone, using a free app, passes the quality threshold then the bar is set at a decent height for a bespoke recorder using a professional-quality microphone.

That’s not to say I don’t like the design of the Tascam DR-10X and I love the concept even more – I’d even call it inspired. A recorder that fits in your pocket that hooks straight up to a ‘proper’ ENG mic is a cracking idea. But the execution has let it down. It may be due to trying to reach a low price point, but the audio quality isn’t up to scratch and the hiss level using the AGC is unacceptable when there are so many alternatives in the market place. My advice is: throw in a better preamp circuit, raise the price and people will be happy to buy one. I would.

Jerry Ibbotson has worked in pro audio for more than 20 years, first as a BBC radio journalist and then as a sound designer in the games industry. He’s now a freelance audio producer and writer.

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First install purchase for Soundcraft Vi7000

First install purchase for Soundcraft Vi7000

Soundcraft announced during Prolight + Sound that the first install purchase of the company’s new Vi7000 digital mixing console has gone to the Melkweg music and arts centre in Amsterdam.

Already the owner of a Vi4 and Vi6 in its 700 capacity Oude Zaal (Old Room), Melkweg added a pair of Vi7000 consoles as its FOH and monitor consoles for the 1,500-person capacity Max hall. The consoles were purchased through Audio XL, Soundcraft’s distributor in The Netherlands.

The Soundcraft Vi7000 is an extension of the Vi6 digital console, offering optional 96kHz processing and upgraded channel counts.

The Vi5000 and Vi7000 provide a choice of control surfaces with new local rack and active breakout box hardware, delivering simultaneous mixing of up to 128 inputs and 32 mono/stereo busses with up to 384 inputs and outputs in the I/O system allowing unlimited record feeds from all channels.

Ultra-low noise microphone amplifier designs and 96kHz 40-bit floating point digital audio processing promise superior sound quality, with digital implementation of the BSS DPR901ii Dynamic EQ adding to the channel processing armoury. There are eight independent Lexicon multi-FX units and a BSS graphic EQ is featured on every bus output. Both consoles feature an additional dedicated 64-channel MADI interface for the Realtime Rack. Also included is a new extension to the Vi’s VM2 radio microphone status monitoring feature, with Shure ULXD systems now recognised alongside AKG’s DMS800 and WMS4500 systems.

“I really enjoy having all the effects at my fingertips,” remarked Lenno Maaskant, first engineer at Melkweg. “Also, I can work on the outer screen on the right without interfering with the mixer who’s working on the console. So if you’re hosting a festival and somebody is mixing the band on stage, you can still jump on the board and set up the band that’s coming on next.”

“Most importantly, the Vi7000 sounds good,” he continued. “Also, we have a lot of visiting engineers and they vary from 16-year-olds who only know digital desks to veteran engineers who don’t have any experience with digital. The setup of the Vi7000 is so logical that any mixing engineer will understand it right away. Everything on this desk is one-to-one translated from analog to digital and everything you need is at your fingertips.”

http://www.soundcraft.com

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