Multiple Nexo Line Arrays For One 360° Stage In Mexico

September 15 is one of the most important dates in the Mexican calendar; this year, it marked the 205th Independence Day for the country, with celebrations in the Zócalo public square in Mexico City.
Multiple NEXO line array systems were deployed around a special 4-sided concert stage, with the full sound reinforcement specification running to 436 NEXO cabinets in total.

A large view of the Greek cross shaped stage. The need for additional speakers, the AlphaE-F, AlphaE B1-18 and GEO S8 is obvious seeing the distance existing between the main hangs of each stage and the distance between the stage and the area of overlap.

A large view of the Greek cross shaped stage. The need for additional speakers, the AlphaE-F, AlphaE B1-18 and GEO S8 is obvious seeing the distance existing between the main hangs of each stage and the distance between the stage and the area of overlap.

Zócalo is one of the largest public plazas in the world. With live music, mass singing and fireworks, the event is attended by 40,000 spectators.

The main stage taking advantage of the longest hangs,16 M46/B112 + 2 M28 and 32 S118 on the ground.

The legacy stage with 2 arrays of GEO-D

The demanding job of providing sound reinforcement for the event was shared between five audio rental companies with a strong tradition of cooperation.

Sound designer Sergio Zenteno coordinated the pooling of equipment inventories from Tecnoson Espectaculos, ROA, Star, Backline and Concepto 3, to create a unique system that used 12x NEXO line arrays around the four-sided main stage to deliver 360° coverage.

Three sides of the stage used NEXO’s modular line array, the STM Series, as the main PA. The fourth, the Catedral side, deployed a NEXO GEO D system.

  • 18x STM M46/B112 per side + 2x M28 per side, with 36x S118
  • 12x STM M46/B112 per side + 2x M28 per side, with 24x S118
  • 12x STM M46/B112 per side + 2x M28 per side, with 24x S118
  • 16x GEO D per side, with 8x CD18 per side

Below the STM arrays of main and bass cabinets were NEXO’s latest addition to the STM Series, the M28 omnipurpose module, here used as a downfill. STM subs were groundstacked 3 high.

Two M28 used as downfills and aligned with the top M46, thus aside of the system M46/B112.

Two M28 used as downfills and aligned with the top M46, thus aside of the system M46/B112.

Nexo’s wall of sound, at least if we like the first two octaves, and made thanks to 38 S118 subs

Nexo’s wall of sound, at least if we like the first two octaves, and made thanks to 38 S118 subs


One out the four Geo S8 hangs used to fill the gap existing between the main hangs of each stage.

One out the four Geo S8 hangs used to fill the gap existing between the main hangs of each stage.

Additionally, there were four arrays of 12 x GEO S8 for frontfill at the corners of the stage, serving as front coverage 45° outside of the main arrays.
With the main arrays set at 17.5° off the horizontal axis, the systems achieved full 360° coverage.

The stage monitoring system used 52 pieces of NEXO PS15, with additional PS15s for for frontfill. Even the classic Alpha eF and eM/B1-18 cabinets were in action for sidefill.


Ready to roll and to yell, the AlphaE-F and AlphaE B1-18 help filling the audio gap close to the stage.

Ready to roll and to yell, the AlphaE-F and AlphaE B1-18 help filling the audio gap close to the stage.

A red shoot. Very dark of the forecasted SPL on Zócalo plaza

A red shoot. Very dark of the forecasted SPL on Zócalo plaza


STM’s modular design, teamed with NEXO’s standardised Universal Amp Racks (NUAR), makes it easy for PA rental companies to share hardware resources and collaborate on very large-scale concerts and events.

The huge stage built around the flag pole and the Mexican flag

The huge stage built around the flag pole and the Mexican flag

Digital system for coverage and tonal uniformity

Array Processing. The democratization of sound by d&b, demonstrated at the Zenith

d&b has recently, and doubtlessly before the others, unveiled their digital system for coverage and tonal uniformity, designed for use with their J, V and Y systems. This new feature is part of the ArrayCalc V8 prediction software and uses the DSP of the D80 and D20 amplifiers. It is also free.

Objective : to compensate for the natural attenuation of sound, to smooth the contour of sound pressure levels and the tonal response inherent to couplings between enclosures, and, finally, to correct the effects of temperature and humidity on the propagation of the high end of the frequency spectrum.
We attended a demonstration organized by d&b at the Zenith, in Paris, for about a hundred French sound engineers and system engineers, plus the owners of rental companies : Frédéric André of Fa Music, and Daniel Dollé of Silence, just to name a few.
Additionally, there were some friendly party-crashers of the caliber of Alex Maggi and XaXa Gendron, bringing along their expertly-trained ears.

From left to right: Tim Frühwirth of d&b Germany conducted the demo, Didier Lubin, known as Lulu, the head of d&b France and, finally – with his back turned and his eternal smile – is Daniel Dollé of the rental company Silence (commonly known in France by his nickname “Shitty”, which his anglophone friends probably avoid using).

A great group of people listened with great interest the use of a DSP no longer merely as a simple correction tool – for filtering and protection of transducers via the usual presets – but as an active guidance and tonal uniformity system for the array as a whole. Other brands have already tried this, with varying levels of success. Now it’s d&b’s turn to offer this sort of assistance to their systems that are already available and operational.

Tim & his slides at the Zenith in Paris!

Tim Frühwirth – responsible for product support and promotion at d&b – during his very educational explanation of Array Processing: a full hour of theory on slides before unleashing the dogs.

The small FoH positioned, like the system, at stage right and including a Midas console, plus two PCs: one to control the Array Calc and R1, and one to play sound clips. Recognizable by his white head overlooking the audience, Didier Lubin of d&b France but also Eva, Xavier and Pierre have all dedicated themselves to the success of this afternoon.

The long theoretical perspective was very well presented by Tim Frühwirth – responsible for product support and promotion at d&b – and detailed a few priorities chosen by the German brand in order to achieve the desired effect. The keystone is indeed the D80, whose output power is now familiar to all of us but perhaps not the processing power of its DSP, which goes far beyond the needs of a preset.
It is this unprecedented processing capacity that d&b exploits, and this explains the recent birth of a D20, with the same DSP engine as its predecessor. The operating principle of the of Array Processing requires each amplifier channel – thus, each DSP module ahead of it – to drive only a single, unique enclosure. Therefore, it doubles the number of D80s required to power the same array.

The power required for this demo was provided by the D80, d&b’s secret weapon, along with the D20. It was also a great way for On-Off – who participated in the event – to show off their Touring racks.

But there is no longer a place for “too good”!

A graph showing the typical behavior of a line source facing a parterre followed by two tiers of bleachers. Two frequencies are indicated: 4 kHz, shown in bold, and 250 Hz, in a dashed line. Ideally the two should remain parallel lines, which is far from the case in reality. Note in particular the different energy accumulations in the bass, depending on the curvature of the array. We also see the attenuation of the level in function of the distance.

Now let’s see the effects – or, rather, improvements – on what already works without the help of DSP. As Tim said, somewhat humorously, we are all familiar with the attenuation of sound, which is 6 dB with each doubling of distance for a point source system and about 3 dB for a line source.

The first idea explored by d&b is therefore to fight against this reduction in order to give the farthest listeners a sound that, obviously, is slightly less powerful but spectrally compatible with the sound that is heard in the front rows.

A second priority of the research concerns smoothing the curves of sound pressure level and tonal response. In other words, to smooth out the bumps inherent, for example, to the coupling in the low end or to the proximity to enclosures in the HF, without wasting the power that has been selectively removed, but rather by donating it to where it is useful.

Another priority is concentrated on achieving more effective correction of the effects of temperature and humidity on the propagation of the high end.
As if that were not enough, the engineers at d&b have added the possibility to freely cut three different zones, like the pit, the orchestra and the balcony, to treat them separately, with the possibility, for example, of “turning off” the sound in an unoccupied, upper ring of bleachers.

The last aspect they have worked on is the possibility to automatically homogenize the output to a standardized response, for example, in order not to perceive too much difference between the main arrays and the lateral reinforcement hangs.
A correction is also incorporated into the Array Processing to account for diffraction effects generated between the enclosures themselves.

Schematic representation of the behavior of a line source, with the usual defects at two frequencies: 4 kHz (bold) and 250 Hz (dashed). There is an accumulation of energy at 250 Hz in two places and a clear surplus of 4 kHz on the floor.

Schematic representation of the behavior of a line source once these faults are corrected via Array Processing. The 4 kHz is now equivalent wherever one is in the listening area, and the same goes for the 250 Hz, whose peaks have disappeared. Magic !!


Once the excesses and deficiencies are identified, the algorithm performs a kind of leveling or, rather, moving the energy from where it is in surplus to areas where it is lacking

d&b Array Processing démo au Zénith

d&b Array Processing démo au Zénith


Finally, d&b is working to develop a new feature in its software that would allow the exclusion of a specific zone, while cautioning that what can be achieved depends inextricably on the nature of the array, its position in relation to the zone to be avoided, as well as its size and geometry. Such caution is a credit to the manufacturer’s honor, because the less you touch the sound, the better. Of course, Array Processing takes into account the subs of the J, V and Y series flown at the top of the arrays but, in order not to prolong the processing time, intervention is limited to alignment of the frequency response and phase, relative to the array of mid-high boxes.

The dance of the line array

To be able to offer such flexibility for intervention on the wavefront, d&b initially attempted the coup of dynamic temporal alignment of each module as a function of the frequency, an electronic method of virtually moving forward or backward one enclosure relative to another, but soon gave up, in the face of undesirable effects induced by bringing back into question the very principle of the line array.

d&b Array Processing démo au Zénithd&b Array Processing démo au Zénithd&b Array Processing démo au Zénith

A representation of the temporal shift performed by a bank of FIR filters that would be necessary to smooth the response at each of the three frequencies depicted on these three graphs – frequencies very close to one another. A purely mathematical approach. Suffice it to say that it is impossible to achieve and it will not work.


The solution was found by considering the array as a single whole, whose deformation resembles that of a living being, like a dancer or a swimmer during a dive. The column of enclosures therefore serves to ensure the optimization of the sound projection by shifting… without moving, through a combination of interdependent FIR and IIR filters from module to module and from frequency to frequency.

The principle of Array Processing does not work on each enclosure individually but considers them as a whole and works on the entire array. Take the case of the distribution of the frequency 200 Hz. Two large peaks degrade performance in the first third of the floor and in the stands.

In the low end, this “movement” is important since each sound source covers a large part of the listening area. At the top of the spectrum, instead, where each source covers only a very limited area, the algorithm changes its mode of operation.

This virtual ballet, a kind of invisible morphing that still manages to maintain the coherence between all the elements of a linear array, costs the user 5.9 ms of computation time, which is summed with the 0.3 ms inherent in the D80 and D20 themselves, for a total of 6.2 ms of latency – 2.15 meters. That is still acceptable if, in the signal chain, the microphones, the console and effects all lined up don’t already make it too much.

This is a representation of how the engineers at d&b have managed to “bring the array to life” in order to level the frequency response and smooth out defects, here at 229 Hz.

The virtual curvature of the line array that is necessary to evenly distribute a signal at 2 kHz throughout the room.


The enclosures chosen by d&b to provide the best possible overview of the capabilities of Array Processing: a main array of 12 V8s, plus 6 small Y8s for the side seats. Placed on the floor were 6 V-Subs in two stacks of three to complete the bottom end of the system.

Then comes the most important setting, the one that determines the amount of intervention and efficacy required of the DSP to obtain the desired result. The scale ranges from -11 to +11. Minus 11 corresponds to the most prudent choice, the most discreet and, especially, one where the action of the algorithms will have the least impact on headroom. The left side of the dial therefore bears the sweet name “Power”.

On the right, however, it intervenes more aggressively; it sacrifices more level but attains the desired effect better, at least that is how d&b sees it, so they’ve given it a name imbued with humor: “Glory”. Power and Glory. The choice of a scale up to 11 derived from the amps of the group in the film “Spinal Tap”… in short, humor on all levels.

The central ‘0’ position of this slider is in no way a bypass of the Array Processing, but a central position of the effect. To stop the action of the Array Processing, simply reload through the R1 the checkbox “by-pass”, which is found in all the amps. The selection of the extent of the intervention is made during the creation of a preset, keeping an eye on the Realizer display. Any attempt to do something that resembles sorcery will be sanctioned with a red indication on the display, even before your ears bring you back to sanity.

Where the big sound is !

The beginning of the listening session. Note the projected labels to remind even the most distracted of us which preset is active in the D80, and which enclosures are in use. Here it is the standard V8 setting, with Array Processing inactive. This allowed us to get a feel for the attenuation in function of the doubling of distance from the system before the DSP, even with a line array.

After a quick refreshment break, the proper demonstration commenced in complete objectivity and honesty. A main array of 12 V8s plus a side array of 6 Y8s were flown at stage right of the Zenith, two stacks of 3 V-Subs directly below the V array provided the low end reinforcement.

The choice of these systems was dictated by the high propensity of these two systems to show their “limits” in this room, knowing the attenuation over distance for the V due to its small size, and therefore the differences between the V and the Y.

Let us be clear: both of these systems work very well and even better in a room well known for its very solid acoustics, and the “defects” of which we speak are those that would be produced by any enclosure of any brand in such circumstances.

Xavier Cousyn of d&b France, after passing the presentation over to Tim.

They played for us a male voice reading a text loop through the V array only, enabling us – at the cost of the rather amusing transhumance of 100 pairs of ears along the aisles of the Zenith – to get a good feel for the natural attenuation from the pit, almost directly underneath the array, to the top of the bleachers nearly 65 meters from the speakers.

In this first case, the preset and the equalization are standard and flat. Just the mechanical set up is designed to best distribute energy between high and low, while trying to avoid points of excessive energy accumulation.

Xavier Cousyn during the presentation of the AP at the Zenith, in front of a panel of “decibel gunslingers” who sit in silent wonder… well, not for long.

Here we go: we head all as one to the last row, listening intently to the effects of distance on an unprocessed array, progressively as we add meters between our ears and the enclosures.


Two prized customers together: XaXa Gendron (left) and Alex Maggi (right). With these two around, the monitors are surely perfect and your ears will be happy. Though not directly concerned with Array Processing, they still came to hear what happens… and to hit the buffet ;0)

Once everyone got to the top of the bleachers, the insertion of the Array Processing resulted in an obvious rise in level, brilliance, precision and, frankly, a perceived shortening of the distance separating us from the enclosures.
The preset for this demo was designed to attenuate only 2 dB for each doubling of distance, correct the absorption of the high end and smooth the frequency contour wherever one is, and this is precisely what happens. We were given the chance to listen many times to the system in Traditional mode or Array Processing and we can only take off our hats to this new system. It works.
A quick walk through the stands confirmed this first impression. Wherever we went, the sound was consistent, accurate in the high end and made the V – a very well designed system and already close enough – resemble the J system even more.

Only a very small defect in the 800 Hz to 1.5 kHz range – call it a slight restraint digging a little into this part of the spectrum – betrayed the insertion of the Array Processing. That being said, to realize it, you had to go down into the pit closer to the enclosures, and even right up to the line marked on the floor with white gaffer tape, where the output of the first enclosure showed few side effects. Upon careful inspection – what we were there for – we could perceive slight variations in timbre depending on where we stood, but it was no more pronounced than the usual defects that occur from the coupling between modules in a line array. The balance is largely favorable.

All the guests climb back to the top of the bleachers to listen to the -2 dB preset and its beneficial effects in limiting the natural loss due to distance, homogenizing the response and correcting for the loss of high frequencies due to temperature and/or humidity.

Uhhh, would you like some nice guitar to go with the voice ?

After this introductory audio material, we were proposed a track by the late Chris Jones, “Roadhouses and Automobiles”, a signal more similar to what would normally be reproduced by the speakers and very interesting for the depth and tone of the voice, the cleanliness and richness of the guitar – in a word, a very well chosen beautiful recording, but also perfect for highlighting the slightest defect. The positive impression we had on the simple voice remained the same with music.
The next test consisted of isolating an entire zone. In our case, the first zone was the top tier of seating at the Zenith, which is usually masked by phono-absorbent curtains during low attendance, followed by a second test doing the same to the pit in order to simulate, for example, hosting a symphony.
They proposed for this purpose an attenuation of approximately 11 dB.

Tim Frühwirth facing his audience of sound and system engineers.

Again, it worked very well and the sound seemed to disappear, as if they cut the HF band in a 3-way system, or at least attenuated it very much. The crossover area into the covered zones was free of significant defects and occurred across two or three rows of seats. The influence on the response in the areas where the SPL was not lowered, however, was somewhat greater.

We found the same defect in the midrange, and that made the sound a little more physiological, overprocessed and less fluid. Keep in mind that these differences were acceptable between bypass and preset ; they were audible in the A/B comparison from the pit when the upper tribune was excluded and vice-versa. It’s interesting to note, also, the strange sensation when suddenly we would lose the upper tier and, above all, the sum of the reflections we are used to. This absence quickly became disconcertingly appealing as the sound seemed cleaner. Of course, we are talking about an empty room, but the fact remains that the algorithm of the Array Processing offers cleaning properties that are quite new and very interesting.

The final test was perhaps the most difficult, and the one that left me a little disappointed. This consisted of giving an array of six little Y8s – equipped with two 8-inch woofers and a 1.4-inch driver – an output that would couple them with that of the 12 V8s. Although configured with a passive crossover network like the Y, the V8 is nonetheless equipped with two 10-inch woofers, an 8-inch midrange and two 1.4-inch drivers– obviously a whole different animal. More specifically, this was about covering the usual loss of the foundation, roundness and proper fullness of the “big” box when we would leave its coverage zone and enter that of the lateral array.
Tim first made us listen to the transition using standard presets and a careful phase setting. Then we repeated the walk around the Zenith with the Array Processing preset engaged. Again, the result was good – very good – and one could almost speak of the “mouse that roared”, as the six small enclosures put on their best “V-like” and proved the capability of Array Processing to provide a common sound signature to the three series J, V and Y. However, I was less convinced by the phase coupling between the two arrays, which seemed to be less successful than in Traditional mode. Certainly, it did pass nicely and without any real break when we would leave one system and enter into the coverage of the other. Nevertheless, between 300 and 800 Hz, slight interference could be heard and just took away part of the magic. Clearly, the benefits outweigh this fault, especially for untrained ears, but this is probably an area where technicians at d&b could improve further.

Implementation

The implementation process is simple once one has mastered perfectly the “classic” exploitation of a line array, namely using the most precise possible knowledge of the dimensions of the room, the bleachers and the type of performance one is looking for, as this obviously affects the nature of the array – the length, the height and the splay angle between the modules. It is fallacious – and d&b is quite clear on this point – to expect to make up for a botched mechanical setting or an insufficient number of enclosures by using Array Processing, especially since this powerful algorithm does not hesitate to suck up headroom as soon as one asks it to perform a miracle.

Realizer. Do not go into the red!

This is how the Array Processing window looks. Few requests, but a beefy effect. All is well; the Realizer display shows three yellow bars here, so it is an entirely congruent request.

Once the Array Calc has been given all the information it needs and it opens a new Array Processing window for the V8, the software presents a number of options and settings that the user can manipulate to create new “dynamic” presets that somehow replace those usual fixed ones. This step is surprisingly fast and uses a visual interface that is very well thought out, which includes a sort of safeguard meter, called the “Realizer”, that one should always keep an eye on.
As long as it stays green, all is well and the requested intervention will have little effect on the overall performance. When it becomes yellow, this announces that you are starting to exaggerate, but is still quite acceptable. Orange indicates that the user is approaching foolishness, which the red will eventually tell him he has achieved, if his ears haven’t already. We know the tendency we all have to give a tweak over here and another over there. This meter bar is therefore an idea that is quite important.

This is a very, very simplified illustration of how Array Processing “ponders” the potential at each of the points spaced 20 cm from each other – an enormous resolution.Imagine the number of points in a large room, multiply it by the number of enclosures and then multiply the result by 240 !!

To sum it up, the goal is to establish a flawless design, installation and mechanical set up, which take into account the desired target and if, and only if, these conditions are met, we can begin to use this processor to improve what Mother Nature can not do alone.

The analytical power of the Array Processing is quite impressive, as each target point is spaced 20 cm from its neighbor, spread across the listening plane, and is seen, in a way, connected via an invisible thread with each of the enclosures that make up the array. A prediction calculation is performed as many times as necessary. Where it gets interesting is that, for each point – and there are many in a room when they are spaced at 20 cm apart – the Array Processing will repeat the same calculation for each of 24 frequencies within each octave. Add a 0, since there are ten octaves, and that makes 240 predictions multiplied by the number of enclosures hanging.
This mass of data is then stored in a matrix and used to create each Array Processing preset for the room. The AP will also give J, V or Y systems a standardized frequency response down to 140 Hz, at which point, necessarily, the laws of physics and the dimensions of the speakers regain the upper hand. The speed at which these presets are calculated is very, very fast. Stunning.

Extended conclusion (I promise, they don’t pay me by the word!)

We can’t deny it, a new era in pro-audio is beginning and, doubtlessly, other brands will soon follow the example of d&b, offering their solutions for improving coverage and frequency uniformity. Just like it would not even occur to a car manufacturer today to offer a car without ABS, to a camera manufacturer to offer cameras without DSP correction for the optics, or to an aircraft manufacturer to offer planes without electronic controls, it seems clear that electronic coverage assistance will invade our industry.

The advantage of what d&b offers is that it supplements from the top: lines of well-built enclosures that are coupled and flown with care, and that already sound good. Therefore, we’re talking about a performance enhancement and not a prerequisite for implementation; this is where the strength of Array Processing lies: its optional aspect. During this first listening – which we will repeat soon with others that are closer to the actual operating conditions – we were won over, surprised and, at the same time, convinced of the usefulness of this option and if technicians are, decision makers will soon be, too, despite the extra costs required to deploy the AP.

One request, among many others, here is to maintain a certain response without dropping off in the pit – say the first 15 meters – of the system’s coverage, and then with the normal attenuation of 3 dB per doubling of distance elsewhere. The Processing Emphasis is set to “Glory 11”. The Realizer indicates “OK”.

Here is the result with an almost uniform response right up to about 14 kHz wherever the listener stands, in terms of distance from the system. Amazing.


Of prime importance among the positive aspects is the reduction of the naturally higher sound pressure near the system, which can cause fatigue and injury for some of the audience. This is timely, considering this period of the renegotiation of France’s Decree 105 dBA. It will be possible to reduce the levels without further disadvantage for the audience at the rear.
These positive aspects also include coverage that is patently more uniform and, especially, less energy wasted in the rest of the room, where it generates modes that reduce intelligibility, and fewer hot spots through better management of sound pressure levels.
It also finally allows real management of the effects related to temperature and humidity.

A more complex request to meet. This involves letting it drop off by 3 dB for every doubling of distance in the pit and in the upper tier, while gouging a -6 dB hole in the lower stands.The differentiation between the three areas is definable using the three zones – Front, Central and Rear – and the gain and distance settings with the 0-point being where the system is located. The choice of “Glory 11” causes the three orange bars in the Realizer display, indicating the strain that this preset puts on the processor and the risk of loss of quality.

The negative aspects do exist but, above all, it is important to remember that – just as one tree does not make a forest – one listening session, as focused as it may be, is not enough to forge a final opinion on a complex process which has many variables. It may take time and some updates to reap all the benefits.
I would like to tip my hat one last time to d&b for their courageous decision and honesty. True, it was about letting us “hear” what the Array Processing does, but leaving the setting on “Glory 11” all the time, for example, highlighted quite well some of the sonic inflections that betray the presence of the algorithm.

The result of the request to attenuate by 6 dB in the first tier, while leaving the rest without intervention. Finally, note that, in fact, even when one does not ask anything specific, the Array Processing smoothes the response, homogenizes the sound signature of the different models and raises the level of the high end at the farthest throws. In the upper plot, the response prediction for the short throw in blue, for the medium distance in red and for the longest throw, in green, show the drop off at the top of the spectrum at long-range and, on the contrary, the excess high end nearest the system, among other defects common to all systems. In the lower plot, the overall improvement needs no comment. Note, however, where the level of the “red” zone is. It is 6 dB lower than the green (farthest) zone. Some defects at 200 Hz demonstrate the difficulty that the algorithm has in performing this action, which, however seem to be one of its characteristics when the slider is placed on “Glory 11”.

The same attenuation request, but this time the Processing Emphasis parameter is set to “Power 11”; that is to say, a less thorough action that gives up less headroom. The point of inflection goes back to 400 Hz, along with a less tortured contour. It is also less linear and there is a discrepancy in the high end between the zones; this shows the relative freedom allowed by the algorithm. Meanwhile, the central zone remains significantly attenuated, as planned.


Similarly, engaging the AP’s zone “exclusion” while having placed his audience of fine ears right where the sound should remain the same is a courageous step because, again, it allows one to hear precisely the price they have to pay to clean up elsewhere. Others might have proposed that we go listen to the audio where it disappears, as if by magic… instead, Tim Frühwirth actually told us about the existing faults of the main/side coupling in the lower midrange before starting the demo. If this is not honesty, it certainly resembles it.

: L’ensemble des invités remonte tout en haut des gradins écouter le preset -2 dB et ses effets bénéfiques en limitant la perte naturelle due à la distance, uniformisant le rendu et remédiant à la perte d’aigu liée à la tepérateure et/ou l’hygrométrie

All the guests came back down to listen to the preset -2 dB close to the array, after observing the positive effects at long distance. Remember: this is a correction to limit the natural losses due to the distance, to ensure uniform performance in the usual critical zones and to correct for the high-end loss that results from temperature and/or humidity.

d&b still need to make some progress in order to achieve neutrality in the 800-1500 Hz band, as well as to recover full fluidity and naturalness in extreme cases of exclusion zones with heavy use of “Glory 11” – the most effective setting, but also the one with the greatest impact on performance. Some work also remains to be done on the overlap between two processed arrays, to avoid the current interference in the lower midrange.
In this regard, I look forward to listening to a complete system with left/right arrays, lateral reinforcements and, at least, some front-fills. It is obviously difficult to make line arrays that react to the sound coexist with fixed enclosures, like lip fills. Undoubtedly, strategies exist that involve locking or linking this or that part of the algorithm. As of now, the delays have not yet been considered in the implementation of an AP system, but d&b is working on that. Finally, I hope to hear how the algorithm behaves outdoors, when the air masses themselves are in motion.

The alignment of the responses of the three systems that can be processed by the Array Processing and which are on this plot. Of course, also the pressure they can generate and the bass extension, enclosure by enclosure.

d&b is working hard, and what has been presented to us is certainly the first draft of an algorithm that will only continue to evolve and improve – although it is already well done, as it is incredibly fast.
As if to demonstrate this was the announcement that future versions will also take into account what is happening behind the array, outside the coverage area, perhaps to avoid that the user gets surprised by the extra energy induced by the processing.

What is certain is that the Array Processing works, and it marks a milestone in the technological advancement of d&b . The benefits it brings considerably outweigh the few defects.

I will be up to you to make the best use of it, but leave the cape and the magic wand at the warehouse, because here, more than ever, too much is definitely not a good thing. We tend to say that the sound is always a compromise. With Array Processing, this is not entirely true and that’s saying a lot.

 

Biggest US Tour of the Year

Kenny Chesney’s Big Revival with Nexo STM

Country superstar Kenny Chesney is one of the biggest concert attractions in the world, although he rarely leaves North America. Each of his tours – 13 since he began headlining in 2002 – has sold in excess of a million tickets; the current 2015 Big Revival Tour passed the million ticket mark before the first note of music was even played.

An NFL stadium view, the kind of place where nobody must be left in the need of audio, also sitting at 90° off of the stage

Kenny Chesnay in action, thanks also to the Plailly’s guys !!

Production audio – as well as lighting – is provided by Nashville-based Morris Light and Sound. Working with Chesney’s front-of-house engineer Chris Rabold, they have pioneered the use of NEXO’s STM Series modular line array to deliver in such large venues.

The 2015 Big Revival Tour marks ML&S and Rabold’s second outing with NEXO. Chesney’s regularised tour schedule – playing many of the same venues, with the same crew and the same rental provider – has provided near-scientific conditions for judging the development of NEXO’s radical modular system over the first 3 years of its life. The most visible of changes this year is the inclusion of a new downfill cabinet to the system.

Serious, very serious main hangs consisting of 24 M46 + B112 systems and a couple of M28 per side

The M28 module was added to the STM Series at the end of last year, and FOH engineer Chris Rabold describes it as “ the missing piece of the puzzle. One of its primary uses for us is as a downfill, but I don’t think of it as a traditional downfill box at all – it’s an extension, which is voiced very similarly to the M46 main cabinet, so it’s just giving us that extra bit at the bottom of the array.

Chris Rabold, Kenny Chesney’s FOH, as happy as a man facing an SSL desk and a STM system can be

And it is very, very controllable ; I can manipulate it if I choose to, but a lot of the time I really don’t need to because it’s so seamless and smooth. “

Morris Light & Sound was the first major rental company to put STM onto a premium tour.
This year, they increased their already substantial investment, adding the M28 modules to its inventory.


The two new M28 hung under the main line M48

ML&S systems engineer John Mills says :
“ the M28s are a problem-solver. Because the M46s are so powerful, we found ourselves wanting to turn them down, but of course if you do that, you break the line array.

M28 has acoustically less output, so it’s the right box to have on the bottom of the line.
When you walk between the seam, and it changes boxes, you would expect something fairly significant to happen, but from M46 to M28 is a very, very smooth transition. ”


All the Nexo STM catalogue ready to put on fire Kenny Chesney’s audience. M28, M46, B112 and S118, not to mention additional S118 subs groundstacked in front of the stage and the delays…

ML&S has moved some of its new M28 inventory to the delay towers, using anywhere between 12-16 per hang, depending on the venue.

The high frequency output power of this small STM cabinet has impressed John Mills.
“ I can basically do whatever I want with it. When we first made the move from our previous rig to the NEXO system, we had 16 delay boxes back here; we now have 12, and I’ve turned them down!

“ The throw of the system is unbelievable. We have done a few shows where we’ve had to throw 500-feet with no delays, and STM does it. Incredibly, it still sounds fairly hi-fi in the back, too. Sure, you have your physics of air loss, but it still sounds better than anything at distance, and the vocal still sounds like it’s right in front of you. It’s pretty unreal. ”

24 S118 hanged in cardioid mode. For the largest venues up to 72 subs have been used stacked and hanged

Chesney’s tour plays 23 NFL football stadiums, but it also moves through sheds and arenas. “ System configuration does differ quite a bit, but only in numbers of boxes, never audio,” says John Mills.

Nexo’s a power alley, a hot and huge amount of NUAR’s hidden under the stage to get rid of sun, rain and tears !!

“ Two nights ago, for example, I was 18 and 2 on the mains, and now we’re 24 and 2, so that’s going to change the array length and low mid section of it.

Then last night we were 18 and 3; and we’ve done smaller still, such as a 12 and 3.
So it’s scaling almost in half in some of our venues, but the beauty of STM is, it really does translate.

Array length will change some low frequency, and how much there is of it, but tonally, this system is really exceptional, and consistent. ”

ML&S is rightly proud of the fact that, at the time of writing, there have been ZERO audio refunds for well over 1 million tickets.

System specification for Heinz Field, Pittsburgh :

  • Main hangs: 24x M46 + 24x B112 + 2x M28 x2
  • Subbass: 24x S118 flown x2, 24 groundstacked across centre
  • Aux hangs: 15x M46 + 15xB112 + 3x M28 x2
  • 270 hangs (90° offstage for the side and back, at the top): 12x M28 x2
  • Delays: 12x M28 x2
  • NEXO NUARs featuring NXAMPs
  • Everything run on fibre via Dante

More information : Morris Light & Sound http://experiencemorris.com/ et Nexo http://nexo-sa.com/en/

 

The LD Systems MAUI 5

MAUI 5 par LD Systems

MAUI 5 par LD Systems

Easily portable, set up in seconds and conveniently fitting onto a car seat, the most recent addition to LD Systems’ MAUI family impresses with comprehensive connectivity and a powerful, dynamic performance.

Providing both sound reinforcement and monitoring from a single system, the MAUI 5 sports 200 watts RMS yet weighs in under 11 kg (24 lbs.) – making it the world’s lightest column system.

The ported 8″ subwoofer and 3-piece column PA boasts extra wide dispersion, extended vertical directivity and good feedback resistance while custom multipin connectors facilitate fast, cableless assembly.

The 3-piece column PA showing his custom multipin connectors


The subwoofer connectors : line inputs and power supply

A detailed view of the onboard mixer featuring 4 gain controls, line, mic, Hi-Z/MP3 and Bluetooth. Just below the high shelf filter, subwoofer and master volumes enable precise sound balance.

The all-in-one MAUI 5 incorporates a 4-channel mixer with LD Systems’ proprietary LECC digital processing, Bluetooth© technology and microphone, line level and hi-Z inputs which can be used simultaneously.

Individual level controls, subwoofer and master volumes enable substantial sound balance while a high shelf filter allows for room correction.

The built-in Class D amplification features overcurrent, short circuit and thermal protection for secure, reliable operation.

Discreet and unobtrusive while delivering audio with clarity and punch, the lightweight MAUI 5 column PA is suitable for a wide array of applications including solo entertainers and acoustic performers such as singer/songwriters.
Manufacturer & Sales : Adam Hall, Germany, Available from November 2015 – RRP : 549 €

More information about the product : http://www.ld-systems.com/en/series/maui-series/maui-5-ultra-portable-column-pa-system-with-mixer/

 

Aura Audio’s Powersoft M-Force Makes Devastating Impact

Based outside Turku, Finnish loudspeaker manufacturer Aura Audio Oy is using the magic of Powersoft’s M-Force’s electromagnetic conversion principle to power its XD30 subwoofer; this was pressed into action at the recent high profile Colors dance festival at Kaapelitehdas, the former cable factory in Helsinki — with devastating effect!

Aura Audio’s managing director, Mika Isotalo, explains that they worked closely with rental company AMJ Turku Audio Oy, who equipped both the main and second stages with Aura’s premier sound reinforcement systems. M-Force first captured their imagination at its launch during Prolight+Sound 2013 in Frankfurt. “We started working with it immediately, so that by Frankfurt this year we were able to present our own M-Force product, the XD30 subwoofer,” stated Mika.

A shot showing Paul Van Dyck and Aura’s Audio A2 in the middle of the set, one playing the music and the others reproducing it !! © Gofoxo.com – Sami Turunen

So what it is about M-Force that has created a true paradigm shift in low-frequency sound, and grafted a new dimension onto electronic dance music reproduction — so that dance music aficionados could hear an all-star line-up at Colors headed by Basement Jaxx like never before?
Essentially, it is an innovative transducer based on a patented moving magnet linear motor structure, offering unrivalled performance in terms of power handling, electromagnetic conversion, reliability and maximum SPL when compared to a conventional moving coil and cone arrangement.

The XD30, next generation subwoofer from Aura dn Powersoft. Delivering over 150dB between 35 and 80Hz. 115kg and the same output than 3 to 4 direct radiating double 18” sub…

Driven by the M-Drive amp module, the M-Force motor is the result of years of FEM magnetic and mechanical simulations, while Powersoft’s Differential Pressure Control (DPC) creates further performance enhancing active control.

“ As a loudspeaker manufacturer focusing on acoustics and new loading techniques we already had a new patented enclosure design which we had been using with different cone drivers for several years. When we saw M-Force we immediately thought it would be good for more compressed loading because of that huge motor strength. ”

“ A single XD30 is able to produce more than 150dB peak SPL in floor and we used four of those in two by two end-fire configuration so we were hitting average of 140dB´s at 10m´s. Low frequency cut of is around 30Hz, but it does go lower than that if necessary. ”
So far the system has been heard by dance music aficionados at such events as DBTL Festival in Turku, Helsinki Pride and Raumarock Festival in Rauma and others.

“ The reaction from pretty much everyone has been one of positive surprise,” says Mika. “ They have all been impressed by the size to SPL, the fast transient response and effortless infra bass. ”


At the same time Aura Audio purchased their first Powersoft X8 amplifiers this year, specifically to drive the top end of their rig and they will be offering them to their clients as a primary choice. “X8 represents an unparalleled package of DSP and electronic power, and it sounds very natural and clear,” observes Mika.

The point source all-purpose actively driven box from Aura Audio, the A1. 15’ Neodymium bandpass loaded for the lows, 6,5 neodymium code driver horn-loaded for the mids and a couple of 0,65 exit drivers for the highs. Max peak SPL is 137dB, the coverage at -6dB is 90×15°.

The « small » Aura’s line-array A2 featuring two 10” for the lows and the very same 6,6” and 0,65 for the mid and highs. Passive 3 ways, handling 600W RMS and 2400 peak, the A2 delivers a max peak SPL of 137dB. The coverage is 90×10° and the weight only 33kg.

At the Colors Festival the system comprised Aura Audio’s A2 line array with six elements per side and six as a delay line to carry sound over 100m to the back of the hall, powered by the X8, fitted with OEM preset libraries. Further A1 point source cabinets were used as front fills.

Since its humble beginnings in the late 90’s, Colors Festival became one of the largest EDM event in Scandinavia and is an integral part of the EDM music scene in Finland. The Helsinki based festival took place on 10-12 of July 2015 and is part of Colors events, which range from intimate club nights to major festivals. This year, Space Ibiza headlined the festival along with Basement Jaxx. Other leading DJs on the Colors Festival bill included Ferry Corsten, Orkidea, Paul van Dyk, ATB, Camilo Franco, Chicane, Deep Dish and Photographer.
Mika Isotalo is in no doubt as to the advantages the combination of their patented enclosure design loaded with the 30″ Powersoft M-Force driver system, brings in setting a new benchmark in SPL versus bass cabinet size. Finland’s nightclub owners are also catching on to the impact this can give their venues.

Dash Berlin. © Gofoxo.com - Sami Turunen

Dash Berlin. © Gofoxo.com – Sami Turunen

“ We expect to see some new ones using M-Force in the future — both in Finland and beyond, ” summarises Mika Isotalo.
“ I think M-Force open up new ways to make high power subwoofers and coupled with DPC and endless power capabilities of Powersoft amps we´re able to make a new reference for high-end subwoofers in both SPL dynamics and sound reproduction accuracy. ”

More informations :
http://www.auraaudio.fi/index.html
http://www.powersoft-audio.com/en

L-Acoustics Helps Foo Fighters Keep North American Tour Leg Unbroken

The crowd gasped when Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl toppled offstage during a show on June 12 in Gothenburg, Sweden. Grohl, however, quickly showed the single-minded perseverance that has led him to success in music and documentary filmmaking.
Shortly after being helped off stage for medical attention, he was back in front of the crowd—seated this time—singing and playing guitar while a doctor held his leg in place.

L-Acoustics Foo Fighters Grohl

Despite his broken leg, Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl rocks Washington D.C.’s RFK Stadium on July 4 from his self-designed motorized throne. (Photo : Andy Tennille)

A dedicated performer who literally lives the phrase “the show must go on,” Grohl and his bandmates are now on the 43-date North American leg of their Sonic Highways tour, which “kicked off”—with the singer/guitarist seated on a massive motorized throne—July 4 at Washington, D.C.’s RFK Stadium. Accompanying the band on this latest stretch running through November is an L-Acoustics K1/K2 PA system fielded by Delicate Productions, which has been Foo Fighters’ SR vendor for the past five years.

“We have partnered with Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based Special Event Services (SES) for the K1 enclosures,” says President Jason Alt, noting that Delicate has taken the same approach for tours in the past based on the broad acceptance of L-Acoustics’ K1 system. In fact, Alt’s success with K1 prompted him to order a K2 system for his own company.

L-Acoustics Foo Fighters system

Delicate Productions is carrying L-Acoustics K1 and K2 systems for the entire North American tour, which runs through November. (Photo : Andy Tennille)

Now, as Foo Fighters head out to play the remainder of their tour, the system’s main hangs used for stadium dates consist of 16 K1 enclosures atop four K2 down enclosures per side, buttressed by either three delay towers using 16 K2s or two towers using 20 K2s, depending on the layout of the venue.

In arenas, the system is slightly scaled back, with 14 K1 enclosures atop four K2 down boxes, 12 more K2 for out fill arrays, five Kara enclosures for front fill across the stage lip, and Kara and ARCS boxes for side fills. A total of 42 SB28 subs are deployed for the stadium shows and 14 for the arena system configuration. These are stacked, as per Foo Fighters’ longtime FOH mixer Bryan Worthen’s preference. LA8 amplified controllers housed in 12 LA-RAKs power and process all systems.

With Delicate Productions taking delivery of the K2 boxes at the end of June, Alt says it feels good to be part of the L-Acoustics “family.” “The way we had been doing it in the past had been part of a strategy that saw us invest in other directions,” he says, explaining how sub-renting the L-Acoustics systems had enabled them to balance themselves in the larger ecosystem of tour sound. “It created some important strategic relationships with other companies. But it was a good time to make the move with the K2. Not just for the band, but because of L-Acoustics’ market acceptability, which was the main reason—it’s the number-one name we see on riders now.”

L-Acoustics Foo Fighters  crowd

Dave Grohl amidst a sea of Foo Fighters fans in his hometown of Washington D.C. on the Fourth of July. (Photo : Andy Tennille)

Alt describes the K2 acquisition as a strategic advantage, citing the fact that the K2 delivers the K1 sonic signature in a smaller, lighter form factor, which reduces transportation costs. “That’s also going to be important for corporate shows, which make up the next largest part of our business,” says Alt, who adds that clients had been asking about the availability of the K2s even before they arrived at his warehouse. “It’s going to be a very busy system,” he says. “It’s turning out to be a very promising investment.”

As for Foo Fighters’ opening show in D.C., which celebrated the 20th anniversary of the band’s debut album and followed sets from Buddy Guy, Gary Clark Jr., Heart, Joan Jett, LL Cool J, Trombone Shorty and RDGLDGRN, Alt adds, “The show went great. Bryan had a good show and was very happy at the end of the night. I got to mix the opening act, so it gave me chance to evaluate the system as well. I couldn’t be happier with the K2 investment that Delicate has made and was blown away by the performance.”

For more details on Foo Fighters’ current tour itinerary, visit www.foofighters.com/tour. Delicate Productions, with offices in Camarillo and San Francisco, CA, can be found online at www.delicate.com.

Meyer Sound presents Leopard and 900 LFC, interview with Marc de Fouquières

At the very least it can be said that, at Meyer Sound, the beard is a symbol of distinction, as demonstrated by the presence on the stand of John Meyer in person and Big Mick Hughes, sound engineer emeritus, a good meter of whiskers between them.

Mick Hughes, known as “Big Mick”, (55 years – of which 31 at FoH for Metallica) with Marco on the Meyer stand. His latest credo is to do the sound starting from the vocal mics and those not subject to gates, and end up with the ones attached to instruments that are often passed through expanders. The reasoning is quite “sound”, since the sound on the stage will influence the mix from the start and not just at the end when everything is in place

Every wizard needs a beard, right? Well, the latest wizardry of Mr. Meyer is the new addition to the Leo family: the lean and wiry Leopard, with obligatory class-D amps and a beefy new sub designed to accompany it, the 900 LFC. Who better than Marco to tell us about them…

One of the stacks serving as décor on the Meyer Sound stand at PL+S 2015.Three Leopards stacked on a 900 LFC

SLU : What can we say about the Leopard… first of all that it is finally Meyer’s successful application of a class D amplifier in a system more powerful than Mina ?

Marc de Fouquières (Technical Director for the Dushow group and Best Audio, importer of Meyer Sound in France) : Yes, among other things, we could say that. We like this new product a lot because it combines the technological innovation of a switching power supply with variable voltage rails, the so-called class D, with an amplifier that is in some way analog, and that delivers the current to the speakers in pure class AB and suddenly, by varying the voltage rails, it wastes very little power.

This is a similar topology to that employed by other manufacturers. The advantage is that it obtains very high power with an extremely low weight, which obviously interests sound companies like ours.
Having almost the same weight as some systems made by other manufacturers, with powerful enclosures that do not require external amplification, is a real plus.

The weight advantage over the rest of the Meyer catalog is quite real, as it weighs just 33.6 kilos. This places it in the upper-average of its “adversaries” on the market, such as KARA at 26 kg, S10 at 27 kg, 34 kg for the V12, or the STM M28 that weighs 37 kg – all passive systems, unlike Leopard. The folks at Meyer seem to be well aware of their progress, as they proudly boast that only one 500 kg hoist is required to lift six Leopard heads and two 900 LFC subs.

An amp ? What for…

SLU : What are the most obvious benefits of having the amplification on board ?

Marc de Fouquières : It’s simple. For us the amp rack is a plague. It always has been and it always will be, as it is a source of errors – not the least of which are using bad presets or cabling errors. Send the bass signal to the HF transducers and damage is guaranteed. The existing flexibility – where everything can go with everything – in a kit like ours means a lot of manipulation or adapters. You understand that, if a mistake can be made, sooner or later it will be.

A detail of the back of the Leopard. Meyer users won’t get lost. Or new users, either!!

When Meyer built the amplification into their enclosures, like so many others we were skeptical at first. Then MSL4 and UPA were the first powered speakers to convince us of the validity of this technology. Today we believe that it streamlines our business and allows us to focus our energy elsewhere. It is in step with what is happening in lighting.
When you have a moving head and you have to send up a PowerCON and 5-pin DMX, it’s still easier to implement than when you have dimmers on the floor and you have to send up thick, heavy cables. You have to transport and deploy a set of much more complex and heavy equipment than when everything is in the enclosures.

SLU : Getting back to the weight of Leopard, were compromises necessary, in terms of materials, to accomplish this ?

Marc de Fouquières (nodding) : There are no compromises in the quality of the result, and, therefore, not in the the means used, either. Meyer has won the bet, and I tip my hat to him. To quote someone: in the Leopard, the speaker basket is not the mould for an otherwise plastic cabinet (laughs!)

SLU : Tell us about the amp that is on board, the technology seems very interesting…

Marc de Fouquières : I will, but I have not yet had the opportunity to take a look at it, so I’m only repeating some information that John (Meyer – ed.) gave me. Knowing the engineer who designed these stages, above all he strives for simplicity and to reduce the number of active components between the one emitting the current and the coil of the transducer that receives it. They have gotten further in this quest than they had been up until now.
If we take, for example, IGBTs with variable voltage rails, there is no heat dissipation in the absence of signal. When there is no signal, there is no voltage. In a simple class AB amplifier, the rails are invariable, still at +/-30 volts, while in this one the rails change value. When there is no signal – let’s say for simplicity – there is no voltage. It is a simple but very well designed topology. The past four years at Meyer could be called a race for simplification.

SLU : Mina opened the way for this ?

Marc de Fouquières : Yes, in a certain way, but one can’t compare it with Leopard because this one features an analog amplification stage.

A detail of Leopard’s rigging hardware, which uses settings at the front and back to create the desired angle

SLU : Is the filtering in Leopard done in analog ?

Marc de Fouquières : No, the signal processing is digital. They are the same processors as those in the Galileo. The only enclosure that remains 100% analog is the Leo-M. Starting with Lyon, we have entered a new era; with digital processing, we manage to do things that are impossible in analog.

SLU : Has the waveguide benefitted from the experience acquired with the two other enclosures in the Leo family ?

Marc de Fouquières : Yes, absolutely. The 3-inch driver is coupled with a manifold adapter, the one that creates the isophasic wavefront, that has been redesigned, in particular, using finite-element analysis software. The result is improved coupling between two speakers that are, necessarily, separated by more than one length of the exit of the horn, what is known as the filling coefficient. This reduces interference at the bottom of the stack or outside the coverage area but close to it.

No toroidal phase plug and no backache… how could it sound ?

SLU : Have you been able to hear the new enclosure ?

Marc de Fouquières : Yes, of course. Some people from Meyer are at Dushow in our studio for a few days, so that I can listen to it and measure it in every way.

SLU : And ?

Marc de Fouquières : It measures well and it sounds great, obviously. To us, the sound is exactly like what we have heard from the Lyon and Leo – namely, an incredible dynamic capability undoubtedly related to the capacity of the power supply to emit astronomical voltages instantaneously, and as the power stages follow, it provides a very punchy sound. Although the average power consumption is not very high, the music being produced is (the peaks); the Leopard therefore fits perfectly into the line of products that Meyer has always manufactured, designed to make music and not noise.

SLU : Speaking of the range and the positioning within it, where does the Leopard fit in?For example, does Lyon arrive at 3 or 4 dB less than Leo-M and Leopard get to about that same amount less than Lyon ?

Marc de Fouquières : You have to look in the MAPP Online. The difference between each speaker is slightly bigger but, judging by listening and by measurement, even though it is a compact enclosure, Leopard can replace Mica despite being half the size at the front panel. The upper-mid range, in particular, is even a little bit superior to what is reproduced by Mica. Only the mid-bass is barely behind but, as it is part of the spectrum you are going to attenuate when summing enclosures, the problem is solved.

Meyer has also chosen to use pre-conformation curves on the speakers. The goal is not to make them appear correct in MAPP online – something that doesn’t interest anyone because I’m the only one who looks at MAPP online (laughs!) –but, when they are assembled in arrays of six units and given a signal, to produce a beautiful curve of perfectly usable energy in a range from 63 Hz to 20 kHz – yes, I said 63 Hz. It can go down a third of an octave lower than Mica (which employs 10-inch woofers as opposed to Leopards 9-inch LF transducers – ed.).

18 inches and two voice coils

The sub 900 LFC and its impressive rigging frame. Nothing really new here – it is robust

SLU : Can you tell us about how it combines with the 900 LFC ?

Marc de Fouquières : You put them on the ground, one per side, and it’s enough to do anything.

SLU : Meyer seems to be pushing the configuration with two subs at the top of the arrays. Six Leopards and two 900s on a half-ton hoist.

Marc de Fouquières : Of course, I also recommend flown arrays whenever possible, but the problem now is that users want subs in the air and on the ground. By doing this, they create interference.

However, if one were to use flown subs and others stacked, I recommend joining them at the bottom by making a column starting from the floor, a solution that has the advantages of creating the least interference and being the most effective. It is just my personal opinion that you should do it this way whenever possible, but we all know that it is always the scenography that takes precedence over the sound and not the other way around.

A potentially very loud connected stack…

SLU : Reading the sparse introductory and preliminary info, it would seem that the 18-inch woofer installed in the 900 LFC is new, as it is equipped with two separate voicecoils and, therefore, two amps…

Marc de Fouquières : Yes, apparently that’s the way it works, as far as I have been led to understand. But, again, not having taken one apart, I can’t confirm this. I do know, however, that this technology allows for very high current and, in particular, permits the use of a speaker with a very low impedance, hence the idea of having two coils. This allows them to double the current, without having to create an amplifier that can handle the short circuit.

SLU : So, this really is a new woofer, compared to those in the 1100 LFC…

Marc de Fouquières : I think so; it certainly must retain the same magnet, which is extraordinary. The 18-inch woofer in the 1100 looks like every other speaker in the world, weighs about like every other speaker in the world but, instead of ferrite, it uses a neodymium magnet. I have not measured the power factor that you can get out of it, but it must be out of this world.

Invasion of the Leopards

SLU : Do you have any idea about the date of the first deliveries of these new products ?

Marc de Fouquières : We should have the first speakers towards the last week of June, but Meyer may be a little slower than that because the success appears to be overwhelming.

SLU : So, I guess there is business to do at Dushow in order to sell off your Mica inventory !

Marc de Fouquières : We are still using it, so, in this period of transition between the two systems, the answer is no! We have already hired it out, so we can’t sell it now (laughs!).

 

Digital mixing console

More limelight for the Yamaha RIVAGE PM10

Yamaha PM10 Rivage

Yamaha PM10 Rivage

Having received an enthusiastic reception from the European market at ProLight+Sound in April, Yamaha’s new flagship RIVAGE PM10 digital mixing console has enjoyed more of the limelight thanks to his trade show debut at the ABTT Theatre Show 2015.

The DSP engine

The DSP engine

Taking place from 24th-25th June at the West Hall at London’s Alexandra Palace, the ABTT Theatre Show gave to many UK sound technicians the opportunity to see demonstrations of the RIVAGE PM10, with interest from across the theatre industry.

Yamaha showed as well its new TF Series digital mixers for only the second time at a UK trade show and highlighted its CIS series of matrix mixers, amplifiers and loudspeakers. These provide versatile, powerful solutions for any space where high quality installed audio is required.

Yamaha RPio622 Front

The In/Out Rack

“The ABTT Theatre Show is one of the first dates on our calendar every year and we enjoy meeting people from the entire technical production spectrum, from high profile West End sound designers through to the many enthusiastic and talented amateurs who consistently deliver excellence in local and educational productions,” says Karl Christmas, Sales and Marketing Manager Yamaha Commercial Audio (UK & ROI).

“It is particularly apt that we showed RIVAGE PM10 and the TF Series together at this event because, with the established CL and QL series consoles and CIS products, we have demonstrated that Yamaha has a high quality audio solution for literally any venue or production, whatever the scale or budget.”

Should you want to discover more in detail the RIVAGE PM10, Yamaha is posting excellent short movies explaining block by block, all the features of this system. From the preamps to the plugs, the Neve Design dynamics to the scenes.
The 11 movies can be found here and there’s probably more to come in the close future.
http://www.yamahaproaudio.com/global/en/products/mixers/rivage_pm10/

 

 

News from Prolight + Sound

Live Console Avid Venue S6L

The S6L in the large control surface configuration, with 32 faders and all four touch screens. An additional screen can be added to, for example, view the snaphots or the Venue software management page, as shown here.The ergonomics are well thought out and the surface looks more like a live console than the previous one that it replaces. On the far left, a Macbook delivers its audio tracks directly via a network connection

We waited a long time because, much like a Japanese brand with a love for tuning forks, Avid took their time to create this new live mixing console, the Venue S6L.

Jean-Gabriel Grandouiller

Jean-Gabriel Grandouiller

Powerful, flexible and open to the outside world, Venue S6L combines PC core technology for the control, mixing and internal processing with an HDX-standard DSP for plug-ins. The best of both worlds in a very nice product.

Jean-Gabriel Grandouiller, sales manager for Avid in France, introduced us to this new console or, rather, these new consoles, because, as you will see later, two cores and three models of console are available.

We offer him a big thank you for his hospitality and for squeezing the whole French demo schedule, into which SLU shamelessly slipped.
Our apologies to Marco de Fouquières for making him wait ;0)

Venue, vidi, vici

SLU : There is a strong family resemblance between this one and the S6 studio …

Jean-Gabriel Grandouiller : It has some elements that come from the S6, the encoders and faders, for example, but redesigned especially for live mixing and live conditions.

SLU : : It’ll be more robust than the S6 ?

Jean-Gabriel Grandouiller : You could put it that way. The system includes three different types of control surfaces, two types of mix engine and a new stage rack. Therefore there are six possible combinations to chose from, based on the requirements for processing power and control surface size.

A detailed view of a bank of inputs (right) and the central bank common to all models of control surface, with the main screen displaying the sort of matrix that makes it convenient for viewing the inputs or outputs – who does what, who goes where and with which sources.The color codes seem to work pretty damned well. This will be highly appreciated by monitor engineers. An automatic spill function is also provided to deploy to the faders the levels of the signals that make up, for example, an output bus

SLU : How big is the largest control surface ?

A view of the central section of the S6L with, in particular, the mains at the right

Jean-Gabriel Grandouiller : That would be the SL6-32D, with 32 faders and four screens.The medium-sized surface, SL6-24D, has just 24 faders and three displays. The smallest, SL6-24, also has 24 faders but only one screen, the main center display, which provides access to all the functions of the console.

It doesn’t leave out any functionality, it simply lacks the visual feedback and speed of control that you have using the touchscreens. The screens are all touch-sensitive.

SLU : This reduction in the size of the surface brings down the price ?

Jean-Gabriel Grandouiller : It effectively gives it a more affordable price, with equal processing power, but nothing prevents the user from adding screens later. The big advantage is really the compactness of the desk, maintaining the same specs.

The comprehensive display of each channel strip with the VU meter at the top, the name of the source and at the bottom the four slots for plug-ins. Remember that these are touch screens

SLU : The display management is included in the screen ?

Jean-Gabriel Grandouiller : In theory, yes, but I am not certain. This is true of the S6 studio, though. What has been a lot of work is using colors on the display in order to trace the signal path and selecting what functions would be applied to each button or encoder.

Each of the surfaces has eight analog mic/line inputs, eight analog outputs, four pairs of AES3 inputs and as many outputs. There are also eight GPIO in and out, MIDI, LTC; nothing is missing, not even a video output for an additional screen to scroll through your snapshots, for example.

The engine runs great

The main touch screen of the console, positioned over the central bank, with the VCAs, the sends and all the main controls of the S6L.

SLU : Tell us about the mix engine

Jean-Gabriel Grandouiller : There are two. The big difference between this and the old generation Venue is that the local inputs and outputs are no longer on the engine, but on the surface itself. The rack “engine” actually includes only the connections to the stage and to the control surface, and the processing
The big advantage of this in a fixed installation is being able to place this 5U rack in an equipment room without having to run the audio lines over long distances. So we have two engines, the E144 and E192. Their names are derived from their number of possible input channels. The E144 has 144 and the E192, logically, has 192 potential inputs. Naturally, this also depends on the number of stage racks up front.

The Stage 64 with five free slots for I/O cards, from a selection that includes ones with eight analog inputs or outputs, eight channels AES and ADAT, one with 16 channels of Aviom and one with 16 channels of Dante.On the right, you can see the AVB card for communication with the engine, the pair of MADI ports and the loop for the Word Clock

SLU : Outputs don’t count in the calculation…

Jean-Gabriel Grandouiller : No, unlike other consoles, where the processing resources are divided between inputs and outputs, this new console does not change its processing capacity, and its sampling frequency can be freely selected between 48 or 96 kHz.

SLU : And for the outputs ?

Jean-Gabriel Grandouiller : On the 144 there are 64 output busses, plus LCR, and on the E192 there are 96, plus LCR.

SLU : Assignable to physical outputs, so it all depends on how the stage racks are set up…

Jean-Gabriel Grandouiller : The stage racks have 64 inputs and 32 outputs. You can install analog cards, digital cards and, now, a brand new Dante card – during the NAMM show we signed a partnership with Audinate – enters into the Connectivity Tool Kit.

SLU : Getting back to the engine, how many VCAs does it handle ?

Jean-Gabriel Grandouiller : Each model offers 24, with two completely independent solo busses.

A Plethora of Plug-ins

Three hot-swappable power supplies are provided on the engine. You can see their handles on the left of the rack. Actually, one is sufficient. In the center you can see three pairs of ports, in fact, the other two have no cards yet. These are used to connect up to three redundant Stage 64 racks. On the right, four slots await HDX cards. In the center and in the background, a beautiful heatsink with heat pipes, doubtlessly to cool the i7: really nice beautiful construction that inspires trust in its reliability and shows a lot of progress compared to the older Avid/Digidesign range. As the technical director of the Dushow group, Marc de Fouquières, says:
“A look at what there is under the hood will tell you a lot more than all the language that salespeople can use to try to tell you that it is good.”

SLU : In terms of plug-in resources, we’ve heard that these are AAX…

Jean-Gabriel Grandouiller : Exactly, and in terms of resources, the 144 Engine has 128 slots and the E192 takes that up to 200 slots. Of course if you set up 200 EQ3s, the resources of the system would be far from exhausted; it all depends on the complexity of the plug-ins.

SLU : I understand that the resources remain the same for the i7 depending on the sampling frequency, however I imagine that the HDX cards lose power if you work at 96 kHz …

Jean-Gabriel Grandouiller : Yes, absolutely.

SLU : What can you tell us about this choice to combine the two technologies in the engine ?

Jean-Gabriel Grandouiller : This is new for Avid, at least relative to what was there with Digidesign or Euphonics.For the first time, we’ve chosen to use the two technologies in parallel. The plug-in section is handled by the now familiar HDX cards; moreover these can also be increased to four.

A detail of the channel strips of the console. Clearly, Avid has focused on solidity.

This choice allows us to maintain compatibility with everything that has been developed up to now in this protocol. On the other hand, the audio engine adopts the Intel i7 processor with RTX technology, which allows cores, and hence the audio resources, to be allocated outside of the OS that manages the console.
And that is quite a job, since each input and output channel of the console has a large number of processes that are carried out by the i7.

A detail of a channel control panel with panning and high-pass filter assigned to the rotary encoders.On standard models, the front of the console will be made of a durable plastic and look much more opaque and less reflective than the prototype.

SLU : What is True Gain Compensation? Is it the management of the digital gain to compensate for its effect on the gain at the input stage ?

Jean-Gabriel Grandouiller : This is a feature that already exists on the S3L. If a stage rack is being shared by two consoles, at the user interface each user has the impression of controlling his own gain.

SLU : Yes, well, if one of the two saturates the input, though, the other will lower its gain and it will only attenuate the level of a distorted sound…

Jean-Gabriel Grandouiller : In such a case, which falls into the realm of human error, yes, but what is interesting is the management of the snapshots.When you control the analog gain and you make a snapshot with the gain at 41, if another operator returns with his console and takes control of the gain – with your console passing to slave – and changes the gain, your gain display will remain at 41 and compensation occurs.

When he disconnects, you return to your gain of 41. You maintain a fixed gain structure for your showfiles without worrying about whether or not you’re in control of the gain. You can also have master gain control on one stage rack and slaved control on another. This is useful because the one who controls the inputs also controls the outputs. This is well suited for monitor engineers, who manage a maximum of outputs, in contrast to FoH engineers.

A bank of user keys that are quite handy once their functions are programmed

SLU : How is the compatibility with older showfiles ?

Jean-Gabriel Grandouiller : The compatibility is complete. The display changes and is better, but you could call it cosmetics to take into account 16:9 screens with higher resolution or to display more and better plug-ins.
Venue is at version 4.5.2 on the S3L; could be, we are going to 5.

What language do you speak, my dear ?

Marc de Fouquières – technical director and, above all, leading figure in Dushow –in the middle of an S6L demo with Chris Lambrechts, specialist in live applications for Avid

SLU : Which audio transport protocol does the S6L use ?

Jean-Gabriel Grandouiller : AVB, over optical and copper links. This whole little world can be connected without the addition of any supplemental interface or card. Redundancy is established via a return loop between, for example, two stage racks connected to each other, and one link from each to the engine. If one link is interrupted, the system retrieves the data through the other instantly. The control surface is connected to the engine in AVB. The stage boxes can accept Dante and interact with other devices that also use this protocol.

SLU : How about Dante on the engine ?

Jean-Gabriel Grandouiller : There is a very good chance that Dante cards will also be available for the engine but today we don’t see too much use for them.Perhaps for recording, but you can do that using AVB or 64 channels in Pro Tools. An optional Thunderbolt card will also permit a very large number of channels in terms of recording.

SLU : How many ?

Jean-Gabriel Grandouiller : They’re talking about 192 channels. Today, connecting a Mac Mini or a laptop via Ethernet to the surface or to the engine, you have a total of 64 channels with ProTools to record and play back: the simplest Virtual Sound Check.

Chris Lambrechts, specialist in live applications for Avid, during a demo on the stand, using to its full effect his Belgian-colored French (HDX!)but also his knowledge and patience, during this trial by fire

SLU : What can you tell us about the Stage 64 rack ?

Jean-Gabriel Grandouiller : An interesting feature is the MADI mirroring incorporated as standard in each stage rack.This means that, without having to go through a matrix or through the console and the engine, it is possible to recover signals and route them to another console, to a recorder or to any other device that accepts this transport standard. Two ports are provided for this, in order to convey the 64 channels in 96 kHz.
Each stage rack incorporates a screen and a selector, coupled to a headphone jack. This allows you to listen to any input locally without disturbing the FoH or monitors.

Stage 64

The Stage 64 shown here in the standard configuration in which it will be delivered: with six analogue input cards and one analog output card. Five empty slots await other cards

SLU : How do the Stage 64 racks ship asstandard, in terms of cards ?

Jean-Gabriel Grandouiller : In the standard configuration, they have 48 analog inputs and 8 analog outputs, but they can be equipped to accept 64 inputs and 32 outputs.Therefore, they manage 96 signals.

SLU : How does the system do in terms of latency ?

Jean-Gabriel Grandouiller : The delay compensation is automatic and dynamic, as on S3L. The console is also ready to work, in the near future, at 192 kHz.

SLU : : When will it be available ?

Jean-Gabriel Grandouiller : The availability has been set for September 2015.

Plus d’infos : http://www.avid.com/FR/products/Venue-S6L/overview


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sound Image carries full L-Acoustics system on Lana Del Rey’s 2015 tour

Currently out on her North American “Endless Summer” tour, along with opener Courtney Love, Lana Del Rey is wowing fans in sheds each night on a K1 main loudspeaker system, with K2outfill arrays flown as needed in wider venues.

A perfect view of the whole system. Most if not all of the L-Acoustic’s touring catalog is shown. K1 with Kara’s downfills, K2, K1-SB, cardioid mounted SB28, and so on. 6 Kara can be seen on the lip for front fill.

Critics have lavishly praised Lana Del Rey’s three-plus-octave vocal range and uniquely emotive delivery, but within the context of a band on a big stage, the task of ensuring that every sultry whisper is heard can present its share of challenges. Thankfully, Escondido, California-based touring sound provider Sound Image tapped the right tool for the trek: L-Acoustics’ K1.

L-Acoustics - Lana Del ReyIt’s a sizable rig—one well suited to a big band and a rising star on her first headlining tour. But while L-Acoustics’ K1 can certainly whomp with the best of them, this system is equally adept at treading lightly, never missing a note nor losing the emotion of a song.
“This is my first time touring with K1, K2 and Kara, and I’m having a wonderful time with it,”enthuses Max Bisgrove, Del Rey’s FOH engineer. “It gives me superb vocal clarity, headroom in spades, excellent coverage and packs a serious punch when called for. I would recommend it to anyone and will be requesting it again in the future.”

Bill Price, FOH system tech for Sound Image, notes that the biggest potential battle on this tour concerns the amount of low end on the stage. “Lana is a very discreet vocalist, very self-conscious about how she approaches a microphone,” says Price. “What we want to do is keep the low end around her, but nowhere near overpowering, to give her a lot of space on stage, yet keep plenty of bass out there in the audience.”

The complete Lana Del Rey’s audio team. From left to right : Tarik Khan, Sound Image PA tech; Max Bisgrove, Lana Del Rey FOH engineer; Bill Price, Sound Image system tech; Kyle Turk, Sound Image monitor tech; and Simon Lawson, Lana Del Rey monitor engineer.

That’s accomplished by flying L-Acoustics K1-SB subs with the main hangs and time-aligning them to push the low end from the hangs out to the sides and rear of the sheds the tour is visiting. The muscular setup of SB28s stacked onstage in a cardioid configuration gives the sound the low punch it needs, keeping it in the crowd and off the stage, leaving Del Rey’s voice plenty of room to sigh and soar.

“It’s a challenge,” Price adds. “With Lana’s voice being so velvety, Max has to keep the gain pretty hot, which can create feedback problems, even with in-ear monitors, because her microphone will usually be down in front on stage. He attenuates a few critical frequencies to compensate, but it’s really the PA system that makes it happen. The K1 is an amazingly sensitive and incredibly musical loudspeaker. I don’t think there’s another loudspeaker that could work as well with an artist like Lana.”

L-Acoustics - Lana Del Rey

Sound Image’s loudspeaker complement for the tour consists of left and right hangs of 12 K1 modules above three Kara for downfill, which are flown adjacent to sub arrays of four K1-SB. Outfill arrays of eight K2 are also deployed for tour stops at venues with wider seating geometries.
Below, six SB28 subs are stacked in cardioid mode on the stage, with six Kara spread across the lip for front fill. Thirty LA8 amplified controllers housed in ten LA-RAKs, five per side, power and process the entire system.