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JULY/AUGUST 2005 V4.

5 THE NEXT GENERATION AUDIO PRODUCTION MAGAZINE

Simon Jones
Post-Icon

Gary Langan — multichannel War of Worlds and a lot more


Are there too many multichannel monitoring standards?
Meet your maker: Tino Fibaek — Fairlight
Multichannel drum timing correction in Nuendo 3
Getting a handle on the European TV channel count rise
Ten things that really should go

REVIEWS
• Tascam DV-RA1000 • DK-Technologies
MSD100C
• Logic Pro 7.1
• Anthony DeMaria
• Merging Sphynx 2
Labs ADL 1500
• Drawmer DSL424
• Apogee
• Marek Design RS1 Rosetta 200
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July/August 2005 V4.5 ISSN 1477-4216
THE NEXT GENERATION AUDIO PRODUCTION MAGAZINE

News & Analysis


4 Leader 16 Products
New introductions and announcements
4 News plus Digidesign and Steinberg platform
Sales, contracts, appointments and the news.
bigger picture. 66 Headroom
Weddings, births and praise.

Craft 46 Sweet Spot


We have to ask, are there too many
14 Ubisoft surround standards?
The French main player in the gaming
world gears up for the multichannel 48 Your PC video display
experience in a console near you soon. A look at the different ways of getting
pictures out of the PC and into the display.
38 Gary Langan 54 Steinberg Top Tips
Controversial and busy and still embracing Multichannel drum timing correction in
new technologies, he talks about his Nuendo 3 — we show you how.
multichannel War of Worlds and a lot more.
56 Meet your maker
42 Simon Jones Tino Fibaek — The man behind the
Postproduction entrepreneur and early technology of Fairlight on workflow and
Icon power user discusses efficiency and the worksurface.
the upgrade cycle.
58 Katz’s column
Bob’s quest to resolve Becky’s ‘flat and
44 Bob Kraushaar uninteresting’ mixes draws to a climax.
A mixer by preference, he takes us
through the single day mix and the 59 Ten
benefits of having your own place. Things that should go.

Business
50 European TV channel count rises 64 Your business
Europe’s TV channels have multiplied Daley’s on the couch but he’s
from 241 in 1995 to 1,132 today. Now adamant that the music production
a massive upgrade cycle is set to begin process doesn’t lend itself to scrutiny
with the introduction of DTT and HDTV. by outsiders.

Technology
60 Audio Processing Accelerators 62 Slaying Dragons
Waves has released hardware units Almost all aspects of audio production rely
that can run loads of plugs and can be on some aspect of magnetism and a wider
combined for extra power and to appreciation of the principles can only
share resources. lead to better products and better sound.

Reviews
22 Logic Pro 7.1 30 Marek Design RS1
24 Tascam DV-RA1000 32 DK-Technologies MSD100C
26 Merging Technologies Sphynx 2 34 Anthony DeMaria Labs ADL 1500
28 Drawmer DSL424 36 Apogee Rosetta 200

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Tel: +44 1444 410675 Clare Sturzaker Dean Cook Productions
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Kevin Hilton, Dan Daley, John Watkinson
news

APPOINTMENTS Sonic Studio takes

MARTIN KLOIBER
Leader Panelette It is interesting how we are able to
date recordings. Given a previously
unheard piece of popular music, most of us I think
over SACD solutions
Sonic Studio is to take over the ownership of
has been appointed
chairman of the board Head
would be able to take a good stab at the originating
decade and probably narrow it down still further from
the portfolio of products and services from
the ProTECH subsidiary of Philips, a pro audio
of directors and chief Berliner Synchron
experience has ordered
and a knowledge a second
of how things DFC
were console
done. business activity within Philips Intellectual
technology officer for for installation
While we might in analyse
to its Atelier 10. The
a recording onBerlin-based
a technical Property & Standards based in Eindhoven.
Euphonix. As EVP of facilityI will
level, use the
believe most DFCofto usmix feature
would films, particularly
probably stop short ProTECH delivers solutions for the production
technology, Kloiber has been the driving forcondemning
of the German market,
something as well as dubbing
as sounding a variety of
old-fashioned. of SACD to the professional market and Sonic
force in the System 5-MC and the MC projects
This and
is one oforiginal versions. of sound, we are much
the peculiarities Studio will become responsible for Philips
products, and alliances with Steinberg more‘Having
likely toa accept
secondaudio DFCatwill make
face valuelife
andeasier for
in context ProTECH’s products in terms of marketing,
and Merging Technologies. scheduling
because it’sprojects and mixwe’re
the information engineers
after.and
Anywe can alsomight
limitations exchange
evenautomation
add to the sales and distribution, services, support and
between theWe
enjoyment. rooms,’
can datesaiditBerliner Synchron’s
but it doesn’t dateMichael
— not inHans. ‘Positivemanner.
an obtrusive experiences
That new product innovations.
FOLLOWING THE completion of its with
is notflexibility
something for handling
I can set-ups
say about and because
picture desk configurations make
I am constantly the DFC
surprised atideal
how This planned acquisition will not invalidate
management buyout from former owners for what
old footage,we even
are doing
from here.’
the 1980s, now looks. It’s not just the cars and the clothes standing sublicensing arrangements with
Solid State Logic, APT’s management AMSthe
but Neve, UK:quality
picture +44 1282 and 457011
how it has been captured that reminds you that while other DSD and SACD manufacturers.
team now comprises MD Noel McKenna, it might not seem like so long ago, it actually is. Existing Philips license contracts will
commercial director Jon McCintock and This was thrown into sharp relief for me during the BBC’s superb coverage (on remain in place, with Sonic Studio servicing
has also appointed Gavin Bourke, of a number of technical, artistic and interactive levels) of the Wimbledon Tennis and supporting those customers. The
Trinity Venture Capital, and Hal Wilson, tournament. The inevitable rain-disrupts-play moments brought up the predictable intellectual property used in the ProTECH
of Crescent Capital, to its board of retrospectives and showed earlier footage that could not be compared on pretty products remains Philips property.
directors. much any count — apart from on the sound. The sound coverage was adequate ‘This purchase strengthens our already trail
and while today’s offering is undoubtedly better it still did the job. blazing efforts in the DSD production space. We
It got me thinking. If picture remains so tied to its technology that it can offend were the first group outside of the Sony/Philips
the eye even after a relatively few number of years and audio has been doing a family to bring a DSD DAW to the marketplace
perfectly acceptable job alongside these changes and beyond, how come we still and now we’ve added Europe’s finest SACD
have such disproportion in the power base between the two disciplines? I can knowledge to our product mix,’ said Jon
hear the broadcast controllers nodding sagely and telling me that it’s all about Reichbach, president of Sonic Studio. ‘Since
the disparity in investment, but I believe it comes down to a matter of marketing we have been given the task of implementing
and perception. The audio industry is notoriously bad at fighting its corner. What version 2 of the Cutting Master Format, we
gives on a DVD when the pictures run long? It’s about time audio stopped being will be reaching out to all professional audio
the doormat of the production process. manufacturers to collectively build consensus
Zenon Schoepe and raise consumer awareness.’

HHB HAS appointed Matcast as Terminal expansion


distributor of its products in France.
Matcast is a newly-formed division Misner buys AMS Neve
of the Canford Group, established to Tom Misner, president Misner is clear of
distribute a selected range of specialist and founder of the the strengths of the
professional audio products. SAE Group has AMS Neve brand and
bought AMS Neve. its technology. ‘The
LONDON-BASED KMR has been ‘We are very happy main aspect of Neve
appointed UK distributor for American to now be part of is the tradition and
company, Josephson Engineering’s such a strong global sound of Neve,’ he Terminal Studios, one of the UK’s largest
range of hand-made microphones. organisation,’ said said. ‘Because of their and best known rehearsal studio facilities,
AMS Neve Ltd MD financial restraints in is marking its 25th year by expanding into
GRAHAM PADDON Mark Crabtree. ‘With the past they could new premises next door to its existing
has for med his own the full support of not promote their 15000 square foot building. The expansion
sales company under the SAE Group it will products and tell the significantly increases the amount of
the name Amber Sound. enable us to increase our market share and market what they really have.’ space available to bands wanting to store
He previously guided above all accelerate the introduction of our The SAE Institute will now be providing, equipment and allows Terminal to extend its
Autograph Sales through new product range.’ through its network in over 45 colleges production offices and hire department.
nearly two decades of The move was a surprise one and largely in 20 countries, AMS Neve broadcast, ‘We’ve been desperate for more space
trading after 18 years at Micron’s Audio rumour-free prior to the announcement. music, film and post seminars for past and for some time, so were delighted when we
Engineering. ‘I was initially looking to buy SSL but the new clients. This will be a first of a kind were able to secure the building behind our
Jamie Gosney has joined Graham at deal got to be too complicated,’ said Misner service that only AMS Neve is able to offer, existing facility,’ said Charlie Barrett, Terminal
Amber Sound for technical sales, Mike (pictured). ‘I saw the opportunity to acquire according to the company. Studio’s MD. ‘Demand for storage space has
Charman will focus on communication Neve and my timing was perfect. AMS Neve, as ‘Priority is to finish the restructure, which increased dramatically in recent years as the
systems and the broadcast market, while indeed SSL, where both in financial trouble due is almost already completed — build our technology involved in playing live music
Claire Paddon has joined for sales, PR to various reasons. The main point I would like mic pres, EQ, etc. which have been ordered has become more sophisticated.’
and marketing. to emphasise now is that AMS Neve is a new and customers are waiting on it and we Recent clients have included Brian
Amber Sound has been appointed UK company now with a solid order book, no debt have already employed more engineers to Wilson, David Bowie, Ronnie Wood, Jeff
distributor for Aviom. and no liability, the best situation to be in.’ develop the new Neve range,’ he said. Beck, Jamelia, Bassment Jaxx, Bloc Party
and The Black Eyed Peas.

©2005 S2 Publications Ltd. All rights S2 Publications Ltd or the editor can S2 Publications Ltd. Printed by The Grange Press, Butts Rd,
reserved. No part of this publication be held responsible for its contents. Registered in England and Wales. Southwick, West Sussex, BN42 4EJ.
may be reproduced or transmitted in any The views expressed are those of the Company number: 4375084.
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4 resolution July/August 2005


news

Barcelona AES stats APPOINTMENTS


ORF control room spins DK-TECHNOLOGIES (UK) is distributing
Spanish company Avialec’s Albiral LCD
monitors in the UK and Ireland.

MICROPHONE MANUFACTURER
CharterOak Acoustic Devices has
appointed Soundware Sweden and
Mastering Mansion Madrid as its
distributors in Sweden and Spain
The AES Convention in Barcelona attracted respectively.
6,200 visitors to the exhibition floor and

ORF/Leitner
1,250 attendees participated in the
technical programme, according to the
organisers.
‘The numbers of exhibitors and visitors ORF’s Lawo mc282-equipped SK1 radio and TV dubbing studio control room
are comparable to last year’s Convention employs a motorised rotating platform that allows the desk and its engineer to
in Berlin,’ said Roger Furness, executive face the studio window or a cinema screen set at an angle of 75 degrees to it.
director of the AES. ‘They show that The arrangement allows the monitoring demands of stereo and 5.1 to be met
Barcelona as a location for the European while also permitting the installation of a large video screen.
AES Convention has a high acceptance.’
Next year, the European AES Pro Audio
Expo and Convention will be held in Paris SSL bought by Gabriel and Engelke
at the Porte de Versailles on 20-23 May. TA S C A M H A S a p p o i n t e d R i c k
The US AES Convention will be held in McClendon (left) as division manager
New York’s Jacob Javits Convention Center replacing Jim Mack who held the
on 7-10 October 2005. Themed as Where position for the last two years. Mack has
Audio Comes Alive, the AES has named resigned to pursue other opportunities
Martin Porter Associates as business within the industry. In addition, John
development consultant in charge of Larabee (right) has been promoted to
attendee marketing and exhibit sales. a newly created position as director of
product development and marketing.
APRS membership
BROMSGROVE, UK-BASED Total Audio
categories Solutions has moved to new premises just
The UK’s APRS has introduced a number half a mile from its old building. The newly
of new membership categories that built HQ is much larger at around 8000sqft
are designed to address the needs of Gabriel and Engelke David and Plaskitt and also houses three acoustic studios
new professional and non-professional The assets of Solid State Logic have been through Pinnacle Systems, for training and demonstrations. Total
members, as well as the Association’s acquired by a joint venture established by Montage Group, and Audio Solutions Ltd, Smiths Way, Saxon
existing established membership. musician Peter Gabriel and broadcast industry Digital Editing Services and Business Park, Hanbury Road, Bromsgrove,
Musicians and engineers who have an entrepreneur David Engelke. The company, invented several widely Worcestershire, B60 4AD UK
interest in creating music but don’t make a which will trade as Solid State Logic, will adopted technologies in TAS has been appointed UK distributor
living from it are being encouraged to join continue to design and manufacture mixing the broadcast industry. for Digital Audio Denmark’s range of
the Music Maker Category D. Musicians consoles and related audio technology at its Technologies developed Wagner A-D/D-A convertors.
and engineers who do earn their living Begbroke, Oxford headquarters. by him and his engineering teams have
from making music can join the Professional Antony David, SSL sales director in the 1980s earned them three EMMY Awards and an JOSH THOMAS has
Music Maker Category C, which is aimed and early 1990s, has been appointed MD and OSCAR from the Academy of Motion Picture been appointed VP
at people who own their own studios and Piers Plaskitt, once president of SSL Inc, has Arts and Sciences. of sales and strategic
recording equipment but don’t rent it out been appointed group commercial director. ‘The Solid State Logic brand stands for alliances for Rupert Neve
commercially. Professional Music Maker/ Chris Smith joins as group finance director. In excellence like no other pro audio company Designs. He joins from
Studio Owner Category B is aimed at the US, Phil Wagner has been promoted to in the world,’ said Engelke. ‘We are investing Sonic Circus Nashville
people who own their own studios and also president of SSL, Inc. to strengthen the company and bring these where he was director of sales and
hire them out to third parties. Gabriel’s business background includes brand values to a broader market through industry relations for the Boston-based
Commercial Recording Facility Category Syco Systems, which he co-founded, and continued innovative product development.’ outlet and prior to this he was North
A is aimed at facilities offering a professional which developed the Tablet digital audio ‘I have been a long time fan of SSL,’ added American sales manager for Amek.
recording environment that is only hired editor, and more recently OD2 (On Demand Gabriel. ‘We’re very excited about the
out to third parties. These facilities, which Distribution) — a European platform provider opportunity of working with the company and JAN LEERSCHOOL has joined Duran
may already be members of Studio Accord, for the distribution of on-line music. American to have a chance to participate in its future Audio as international sales & marketing
are inspected on application to ensure they David Engelke, who currently heads up and its product development. Real World manager. He was most recently
qualify for membership. Broadcast Devices LLC, has been involved has enjoyed a close relationship with the international sales and marketing
Pricing and membership benefits can be with production and broadcast companies company for many years.’ manager for D&R Electronica.
found at www.aprs.co.uk

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July/August 2005 resolution 5


news

APPOINTMENTS Soho Group is

SMART AV has appointed UK audio


Neutrik celebrates 30 years tapeless with Pyxis
system specialist Media Tools as its
UK distributor and broadcast specialist
Noretron Oy as its Finland distributor.

AUDIENT HAS appointed ASC as


distributor for the Audient and LA Audio
ranges in Belgium.

LONDON DVD design London’s Soho Group Studios has bought


and authoring facility 16 Fairlight Pyxis Non-Linear Video systems
Richmond Studios has to outfit its studio network, which consists of
appointed interactive 10 studios in three locations — Zoo Studios,
graphics specialist Jonny Jungle Studios and Marmalade Studios.
Harris as its head of design. ‘Our goal from the outset was an
He had been working as a environment where engineers could flow
freelance designer for Richmond Studios from studio to studio, project to project
prior to his appointment. Connector manufacturer Neutrik is celebrating 30 years — having started with without missing a beat,’ said Graham Ebbs,
two employees it now employs 650 in eight countries on three continents. MD of the Soho Studios Group. ‘Pyxis fills
NICO LEWIS has taken Originally a test and measurement and connector manufacturer, the test side that crucial void by supplying a solution
over the position of of the business was spun off in 2003, CEO Werner Bachmann (pictured) is for fast video playback and record, and the
intercom sales manager determined to continue the success story. ‘We want to ensure a steady flow of easiest video file output I’ve ever seen.’ Ebbs
at EVI Audio with innovations which will give our customers extra benefit,’ he said. ‘Innovation at underscored the file management design as
responsibility for Europe, Neutrik is an active process rather than letting it happen accidentally.’ one of the main benefits of Pyxis NLV.
Africa and the Middle The operation remains headquartered in the Principality of Liechtenstein and ‘The platform lets us easily take one clip,
East. He joins from Dutch moved into a self-designed new building at the beginning of this year. It boasts copy it over into the timeline and we’ve
Telex distributor Axon Digital Design. a highly skilled and motivated workforce and a high level of automation in its got five versions of the show to work from
manufacturing, which Bachmann says allows them to remain price competitive as without cannibalising storage space,’ he
THAT CORPORATION has appointed well as setting quality and consistency standards for the industry. continued. ‘This is invaluable to us because
Profusion Spain as its official Spanish By adapting to the requirements of digital interconnects and maintaining its we produce multiple versions of the same
distributor. Profusion plc, headquartered traditional copper connections market share, Neutrik has shown consistent growth commercial spot where little changes but
in the UK, has anchored THAT’s UK and — the only blip being the counterfeiting of some of its products in China, which the the audio. Before, we would have to output
European distribution network. company continues to pursue aggressively. Bachmann remains bullish, underlying each version and if we cut to tape we’d
his belief that quality and innovation are the mainstays of his business. have five tapes with five different versions.
ASPEN MEDIA is now UK distributor ‘The innovative features and the lasting quality of Neutrik products made us the Now, we can simply drop the copy into the
for Grace Design’s surround and stereo preferred choice in the past and will keep Neutrik ahead in the future,’ he said. timeline, dump the necessary files, and rest
monitoring controllers and microphone assured that the system simply pulls the
preamps. files it needs. We’re going tapeless and
Pyxis is the necessary tool to remove that
SYMETRIX HAS appointed M-PRO Breaking rules in Foley time-consuming part of the chain.’
Benelux as distributor of Symetrix Foley supervisor and
and SymNet products in Belgium and film sound recordist TVNZ upgrade
Luxembourg. Alex Joseph is a recent
c o n v e r t t o D PA’s with Sigma
THE STANTON GROUP miniature mics, having TVNZ in Wellington, New
has appointed Timothy acquired a 4060 and Zealand, has completed
Dorwart as VP of sales 4061 for use on Ridley a digital upgrade of its
and marketing for Scott’s Kingdom of Avalon Facilities Studio
Cerwin-Vega and KRK. Heaven. 8 with the purchase of a
Dorwart has worked for ‘With many of the 64-fader Calrec Sigma 100
the Bose Corporation other mics I’ve tried desk. TVNZ is the biggest
and DMX. recording with, the provider of local drama,
resulting sound is too documentary, comedy
thin and won’t come and entertainment in
through in the mix. New Zealand and Suite 8
For big Hollywood-style productions the rubbing the links together, and mounting is the country’s premier production facility and
sound has to be big, and that’s where the them onto a wire and scraping a brick across is regularly used for format shows such as Cash
DPAs come in,’ said Alex. ‘We found that it to recreate the sound of a harpoon being Battle and Dancing with the Stars.
we were able to record things at incredibly fired. A mic was even put inside a railway ‘The Sigma is capable of storing the entire
high levels without it distorting. The beauty sleeper and dropped onto the ground to desk set up into a number of memories,
of the DPA miniatures is that you can attach capture a heavy wooden sound. which will enable Suite 8 to be switched
them onto objects, whereas generally ‘In the UK, Foley is done in a filmic rather quickly to control other studio floors,’ said
you have to hold the mic up to a metre than a musical way and as such it can sound Avalon Studios’ sound team leader Don
away from the sound source. Once we’d very flat and monotonous,’ he said. ‘We try Paulin (pictured). ‘Complex programme set
acquired these contact mics we realised to get away from that by recording things ups can be recalled, which saves on manual
that we could tear up the microphone rule at different pitches and frequencies so rigging time and ensures consistency of sound
book and start breaking the rules.’ that each sound has its own characteristic quality. The desk can also mix into surround
MARQUEE AUDIO and Orbital Sound He built up a library of battle sounds by and can actually poke through the mix. It sound formats compatible with developing
have been appointed UK distributors for strapping the mics directly to swords before makes it more interesting, and audiences TV standards. Redundancy is also vitally
Digidesign’s Venue Live mixer. combat, attaching them to chain mail then subconsciously take in these things.’ important, and was a major factor in the
decision to purchase the console.’

6 resolution July/August 2005


news
news

APPOINTMENTS
TELOS HAS signed an agreement to
Sanctuary records Cream
distribute NeoWinners Contest Tracking Cream’s four appearances at the Royal
Software, a software suite that helps Albert Hall were recorded by Sanctuary
broadcasters handle every aspect of call- Mobiles with engineer Alan Douglas in
in contesting, from inventory tracking Sanctuary Manor One truck at the helm
to guest lists to automatic winner of the 48-channel E Series SSL. The
notification emails. Telos will be the concerts were recorded to 48-track, 24-
exclusive American representative and bit, 96kHz Pro Tools HD with a back up to
will also distribute NeoWinners through two 48 track DASH machines. Sanctuary
Telos dealers internationally. technical manager Mike Silverston (left)
looked after the machines while engineer
FLYLINE MUSIC has taken on Swiss Ollie Nesham (right) took the role of
distribution for AMS Neve rackmount sound unit manager to oversee the live
products, Chandler Limited, and Great recording.
River Electronics. Sanctuary took passive splits from the
onstage monitor console that went into
DAVE KELLER has been named executive custom API remote mic amps, enabling
vice president of sales and marketing at Douglas to control the gain and pad from the truck and drive the 40 feeds at line
Furman Sound. He joined the company level down the 100m multicore.
in 2004 as vice president of the consumer The band recording was supplemented by 10 audience mics. ‘We rigged a
electronics division, business development, special sling fitted with a Schoeps CMTS 501 stereo mic above the front of house
and international sales. position, which works really well and gives a sense of the room’s dimensions,
with a few spot mics around the space, so when it comes to mixing it will allow
ARGOSY COMPONENTS Ltd has been several options such as close up audience sound, crowd ambience and dimensions
appointed master distributor for ISIS and of the Albert Hall,’ said Nesham.
Graham-Patten products throughout Concert Sound employed a
Europe. JBL VerTec line array system
for the gigs which saw Eric
PROFESSIONAL Clapton, Ginger Baker and Jack
AUDIO Design Bruce reunite on stage for the
(PAD) has appointed first time in 36 years. They were
Brandon McHale as filmed by Done and Dusted for
its technical director future DVD release.
with responsibility
for overseeing all
technical operations at PAD, such as
console refurbishment and installations
RAI records La Scala on Vista
and outboard equipment repair and
restoration.

AVS Global’s Osman Celik with


DV2’s (Adamson Europe) Guy Vignet
and Brock Adamson.
ADAMSON SYSTEMS Engineering Italy’s national broadcaster, RAI, has opened each year, the studio will record selected
has appointed AVS Global as its an all-digital recording facility inside the productions for commercial DVD release.
distributor and technical support arm Teatro alla Scala opera house in Milan. RAI ‘From the beginning, one of the goals
for Adamson professional loudspeaker is recording and broadcasting key opera of this project was multichannel capability,
products in Turkey. and orchestral performances from this new particularly as the studio is used for both
Adamson Systems Engineering has location, using a Studer Vista 8 production recording and broadcast,’ said RAI technical
appointed Joe Desmond & Associates console. project manager Dario Barale. ‘Our
in the US as its sales representative for La Scala closed its doors for more than engineers and technicians praised the easy
Nevada and California. two years to restore its classic interior and approach of the Vista operating system,
completely overhaul the technical layout of and have accepted it immediately. It is an
ORBITAL HAS been the theatre, more than doubling the size of extremely compact desk, allowing us to get
appointed UK distributor the stage and backstage production areas, 60 faders into a room that isn’t so big. And
for HME Professional and RAI took the opportunity to construct it has given us great flexibility in terms of
Audio’s DX200 wireless a recording studio at the site. RAI has been connections; the I-O interfaces allow us to
digital intercom system. broadcasting performances live from La reach the further parts of the theatre.’
Scala for more than 20 years, and the new Also in Italy, Radio 1O1, part of the
SONIC SOLUTIONS has promoted studio features a 60-fader Vista 8 and has Mondadori Group based in Milan, has
Dave Habiger to president and CEO. been designed by Lucio Visintini. As well ordered seven OnAir 3000Net consoles for
He was previously senior VP and general as recording six opera productions and what will be the largest single installation of
manager of Sonic’s Roxio Division. some 16 orchestral concerts for broadcast the console in the country.

8 resolution
news

THE BIG PICTURE Venezuela Hall opens


Biz bites For the first time, a legal
download service has
been proved a formidable competitor against
with Pyramix DSD
illegal peer-to-peer services, writes Nigel Jopson.
NPD MusicWatch collects data from the PCs of
40,000 on-line panellists, and in March showed
iTunes was the equal to the illegal LimeWire
service, both used by 1.7 million households, in
second place to WinMX with 2.1 million. ‘One of
the music industry’s questions has been when
will paid download stores compete head-to- The Venezuelan National Orchestra,
head with free P2P download services,’ said Russ Crupnick, president of NPD’s which includes the prestigious Symphonic
• THE EUROVISION Song Contest in the Music division. ‘That question has now been answered. iTunes is more popular Orquestra Simón Bolívar, is to have a brand
Ukraine was mixed in Dolby Digital 5.1 for than nearly any P2P service, and two other paid digital music offerings have new home at the new Venezuelan Symphony
the first time. The Contest was produced also gained a level of critical mass. These digital download stores appear to Hall and Performing Arts Centre in Caracas.
by a consortium of broadcasters under have created a compelling and economically viable alternative to illegal file The heart of the hall’s recording system will
the guidance of the EBU and the sharing.’ Instead of trumpeting this useful piece of research from the rooftops be a 16-channel Merging Pyramix DAW with
Eurovision network chose Dolby E to and promoting legal services, the IFPI (International Federation of Phonographic DSD/SACD capabilities.
distribute the surround sound feed. Industries) instead chose to promote the news that: ‘One in three music discs is ‘We clearly believe in the potential of DSD,
The Dolby E stream was then decoded illegal.’ No research data was provided to support the assertion that 1.2 billion so the “moment” captured by the mics will
and Dolby Digital 5.1 content delivered pirate discs were sold in 2004. Apart from the statistical lack of rigour, there is a be preamplified with Millennia Media HV-
to viewers. The Ukrainian broadcaster dangerous fallacy inherent in such unsupported assertions: that every disc copied 3s,’ said Sergio Prado, director of audio
NTU provided the network for the EBU is a legal sale lost, and that ownership of a free copy precludes, or discourages engineering for the hall. ‘This signal will be
switch and feeds, with Prisma (outside the purchase of music. converted to DSD stream and at the same
broadcast specialists) and SVT providing Despite the success of iTunes, Sony BMG and EMI are rapidly increasing time, we will manage a 48kHz PCM signal as
the OB and final mix, and SR the primary the number of copy-protected CDs they release in the US, with computer- an audio reference for the video machines
mix. The surround sound feed was used available tracks provided only in Microsoft’s WMA/DRM encoded format, which and the reference copies for the students.
by several European channels, including is incompatible with iPods. And news that iTunes European sales have reached The DSD recording postproduction will
SVT in Sweden, FR3 in France, and Polish 50 million tracks was not quite as good as it seemed: the monthly average use Merging’s Pyramix DAW, thanks to
channels TVP and TVPolonia. growth in downloads of 45% compared poorly with the global rate of 250%. It the compatibility at file level, for the final
P ro S i e b e n S a t . 1 b ro a d c a s t t h e was not much of an incentive for the EU consumer when label execs insisted on SACD and CD master. Needless to say, we
Champions League football final live in pricing downloads so closely to the physical product: perhaps those of us who are planning to open our facility to anyone
HDTV with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround said punters would realise transposing $ to £ prices was a rip-off were right, wishing to use our resources.’
sound. This follows on from the various after all? In a June meeting with the IFPI, representatives from GERA (Global
HD tests carried out on ProSieben and Entertainment Retail Association) including the CEOs of Virgin Megastores and GL4000 for Internet
Sat.1, which were all accompanied with HMV, suggested that, as they still account for 97% of all music sales, perhaps
Dolby Digital 5.1. CDs should be made available at the same time as downloads within two weeks recording studio
Shanghai Media Entertainment Group of airplay. The words shoot, foot and kick, teeth somehow spring to mind.
has selected Dolby Digital for the first Rumours of an EMI-Warners merger have been dusted off by city pundits.
channel in China’s television broadcasting ‘EMI and Warner should undoubtedly combine,’ said Paul Richards, media
history to offer 5.1 programming. French analyst at Numis Securities. ‘Both companies have done a good job of taking
broadcaster M6 has begun broadcasting out costs. Putting them together would create further synergies in traditional
in Dolby Digital 5.1 and surround sound and digital sales channels.’ Nobody can fault the business logic, but would
programming will be available on the new Edgar Bronfman ever consider allowing Alain Levy (CEO of EMI Music) to run
Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) network the combined company?
and the TPS network satellite service. Is there no limit to the powers of Saint
Bob? Whilst U2’s Bono is content to glad- UK Internet recording and production
• YOUNG PEOPLE across Europe are hand politicos, Geldof is intent on shaming studio, Tracks By Email.com, has installed a
spending less time watching TV and the leaders of the richest nations on earth 40-channel Allen & Heath GL4000 console
listening to the radio as a result of using by deploying people power. There’s more in its Lincolnshire facility. The company
the Internet, according to research by — he’s now managed to end one of the provides remote recording resources for
the European Interactive Advertising longest and bitterest internecine feuds musicians and songwriters who do not
Association. They found that young in rock history. Roger Waters announced have the access or budget to hire studios
people are spending almost a quarter of he would rejoin his erstwhile Pink Floyd band mates or sessions musicians. Clients submit
their media time (24%) on-line, more than to play at Live 8. ‘Any squabbles Roger and the band partial tracks on-line with composition
reading newspapers (10%) or magazines have had in the past are so petty in this context,’ opined Dave Gilmour, ‘and if instructions, and Tracks By Email.com
(8%). In comparison, the average reforming for this concert will help focus attention then it’s got to be worthwhile.’ adds the missing elements — such as a
European devotes 20% of their media And, proving that even the most uncompromising of artistic personalities mellow live strings arrangement, drum track, or
activity to the Internet. Among 15-24 year with age, Roger said: ‘The cynics will scoff, screw ’em!’ backing vocals — providing the results over
olds, TV continues to represent the largest the web. The GL4000 runs with Nuendo
share of media time at 31% with radio just and RME ADI-8 audio convertors.
ahead of the Internet on 27%. Metrop’s Prism HDs ‘We selected the GL4000 for the studio
The study revealed that music dominates London studio Metropolis has purchased when it comes to these requirements and because we had previously used a GL2200
on-line activity for this age group and 10 Pro Tools HD Cards to upgrade its the ability to upgrade their products is of for a live event and were totally sold on
a quarter of 15-24 year olds are now collection of Prism Sound ADA-8s. substantial benefit to us, their ADA-8 is Allen & Heath’s sound and build quality,’
buying music on-line having previously ‘When Metropolis invests in a product a case in point. We originally purchased said studio director John Clark. ‘We rely on
purchased it in the shops. A quarter (25%) we not only need to be sure that it is the ADA-8 to go with our Pro Tools Mix our equipment in order to service our clients
said they would be prepared to pay for one step ahead of the game in terms of systems. When we upgraded to HD we from around the world, and every morning
on-line gaming services, 40% had visited performance, but also that it’s going to didn’t need to purchase a whole new when we come into the studio to start the
a games website within the last 7 days, provide us with the flexibility we need,’ unit, we just replaced the interface day’s work, we know the desk will not give us
while 17% had purchased a computer said Metropolis technical director John card. It’s a perfect partnership and a a problem. Our favourite feature is probably
game on-line. Goldstraw. ‘Prism has always delivered perfect solution.’ the switchable 10th aux that can be used as
a rotary for the direct out level.’

10 resolution July/August 2005


news

THE BIG PICTURE Baker keeps it


RTBF’s Aurus triple digital with iDP

• A C C O R D I N G T O research by
Accenture, some 10% of US TV ads could
be fast-forwarded by 2009 because of
DVR technology as it estimates that Chris Baker, formerly part of Mint Royale,
around 40% of US homes will have DVRs which gained success with three albums
by 2009. and several singles and numerous film, TV
and advertising credits, is pursuing diverse
• MARKET RESEARCH carried out by projects on his own and has been working
Scribe Technical Public Relations and on three sound installations at the new
commissioned by the Super Audio CD Winston Churchill museum in London.
Project Team, questioned more than He’s currently working on a collaboration
2600 key opinion formers within the Belgian National Broadcaster RTBF will equip its Brussels-based TV news studio album at his studio in a West London
music industry. and two new High Definition TV OB trucks with Stagetec Aurus consoles in the complex on Logic Pro 7 and Tannoy Ellipse
Of the respondents, over 71% believe second half of the year. 8 iDP monitors. Chris has monitored on
that CD is not obsolete and still offers A 40-fader, 96 audio channel Aurus will be installed in Studio 18 at the Tannoy for the last 12 years and even
the main business platform for the broadcasting house for live TV news production while a 48-fader Aurus with up uses Tannoys on his hi-fi system at home.
provision of recorded music. However, to 128 audio channels will go into RTBF’s Magellan 18-camera HD-TV OB truck ‘I find that the imaging and preciseness
the majority of respondents could see for live sports and music production. The third desk will be installed in the One of placement of instruments, voices and
a time, within the next five years or Shot 8-camera OB truck with satellite uplink. effects, working with the Dual Concentric
so, when alternative music carriers will ‘RTBF, who already owns five Cantus desks, is continuing its long term driver, is exceptional,’ he said. ‘As the
supersede CD. Looking at current market commitment to Stagetec. This is a sign of confidence we are very proud of,’ said whole album features digital mixing, the
drivers, electronic music distribution Stagetec MD Klaus-Peter Sholz. ability to retain the signal in the digital
systems are seen as growing strongly Stagetec says it has sold more than 50 desks since the Aurus’ introduction domain when fed to the monitors, and the
and are attractive particularly to younger in 2003. added flexibility of the DSP control within
music consumers, who are motivated by the Ellipse iDP’s, ensures absolute accuracy
factors such as low cost, ease of access in the mix.’
and portability.
Crystal Clear’s Masterpiece • Digidesign’s Icon training room at its
In this environment, the majority of European HQ in Pinewood UK has been
respondents believe that surround sound Producer/engineer Bryan Mitchell and equipped with a Tannoy Ellipse 5.1 iDP
will play a very important role in the future producer/engineer/musician Brian Moritz system.
development of the ‘high-end’ recorded have teamed up to form BNB Productions,
music market. Over 79% of respondents a company dedicated to artist development, Radio London is back
believe that surround sound for music is jingle and soundtrack creation, and audio/video
an important evolutionary development recording services. The two are converting a
in home entertainment systems. 4,200-square-foot building near Chicago into
While surround sound is seen as being a three-studio facility that will include a 60-
key in the future development of the channel Audient ASP8024, Pro Tools|HD, Sony
music industry, it is believed by most APR24 and Ampex ATR-102 tape machines
respondents that there is a low level and a Legendary Audio Masterpiece.
of general consumer understanding
regarding surround sound (particularly
for music).
With respect to electronic music Crystal Clear Sound in Texas has upgraded
distribution systems, over 73% of its Studio B Mastering Suite with Digidesign
respondents believe that these systems Pro Tools|HD, B&W 805S monitors and a
The Cheeky Girls recorded a cover
should not be regarded as a competitor Masterpiece from Legendary Audio. version of the 1960’s song We Love
to surround sound music. Many ‘The Masterpiece is, in many respects, a the Pirate Stations to celebrate the
believe that, in several ways, they are magic box,’ said Crystal Clear Sound senior station’s comeback.
complimentary to each other. engineer Keith Rust. ‘The classic circuitry Radio London is back on the airwaves 38
and tape texture sections are amazing years after the UK Government bypassed
• DTS HAS opened two digital sound additions to any project, but features like Parliament and forced the Marine Offences
encoding facilities for film in China and image control, which lets you alter the ‘There are so many things that can be done Act into Law and prohibited offshore radio
Argentina in cooperation with Media ambience in a recording, are absolutely with this box; you can really get lost in it,’ said broadcast and killed off ‘Wonderful’ Radio
Business Services and FX Design. The mind-boggling. I don’t have a clue how this Mitchell. ‘Aside from mastering with it, I’ve London.
two facilities are based in Hong Kong product can pull that off in the analogue tracked and mixed through it and found that Radio London is broadcasting from Holland
and Buenos Aires respectively, and domain.’ whatever I use it on — even simply running and will reach most of the East of England on
will enable encoding, mastering and The Masterpiece was conceived by signals through its transformers with barely MW frequency 1395kHz, the rest of the UK
replication of DTS soundtracks for locally mastering engineer Billy Stull with all any tweaking — sounds incredible. It can on Sky channel 940, and the world on-line on
produced film content. DTS currently circuitry designed by Rupert Neve and is completely heal the harshness of digital www.bigl.co.uk.
maintains 15 film encoding facilities a 2-channel analogue mixing/mastering sources. By making a few knob adjustments, The Radio London team intends to resurrect
across 12 countries, including the US, system with four pairs of vertically-oriented you can give new character to the sound. The the spirit of 1960s radio. DJ Mike Read heads
UK, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, filter modules aesthetically reminiscent of sonic landscape of anything going through a team of presenters that includes Michele
Japan, Mexico and Thailand. vintage Neve designs. this product just explodes!’ Stephens, Mike Ahern, Randall Lee Rose, Ray
Anderson and others.

12 resolution July/August 2005


news
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protools@digitalvillage.co.uk « « www.dvproaudio.com
a division of
Ubisoft sound component part to maximise memory usage.
It’s a process that is not helped by the fact that with
certain platforms they only get an absolute idea of their
memory allocation until near the end of the project.
The games industry may be looked down on by more traditional markets By contrast, the choice of the 16-fader, 64-channel
C200 was an easy one according to Martin. ‘I
but the sector’s enormous and growing hold on the consumer plus imminent considered two options,’ he says. ‘One was software
changes in the next generation of games consoles means it has now geared up based with a Pro Tools and an Icon and the other was
this sort of hardware. The thing here is that we are not
and is working to high standards. ZENON SCHOEPE visits Paris’ finest. a commercial studio, we only work for Ubisoft, so in
terms of investment I had to look to the long term — I

U
BISOFT OCCUPIES THE NUMBER 7 slot to stress the maturity of games sound at Ubisoft and couldn’t say I wanted to buy something and then in
in the world’s games publishers’ chart and the how their skillsets equate to part film mixer, editor, three year’s say that I needed to change everything. I
French company now employs some 2500 sound designer, recordist and music mixer as well as know that in five years the C200 will still be working,
worldwide with operational centres in Montreal, combining traditional techniques with games specific when you take a software based thing you have to
which deals with the American market, and at its methods. change things on a regular basis to keep it current.’
headquarters in Paris, which deals with European and ‘All the music, for example, is mixed in the The room was designed and built a few years ago
Chinese projects. These centres house the company’s traditional way in the same way you would for music by Souch San Souci of AiA and houses Quested VS
audio facilities with an SSL Axiom in Montreal and to picture,’ says Martin. ‘For ambience we’re trying 2108 5.1 monitoring and, at the time of the design,
a newly installed SSL C200 with a big Pro Tools rig to create a sound field just as normal but for sound had an Amek Big console. Martin says that five years
in Paris. effects, well, they’re controlled by what the player ago they didn’t have much idea about the direction to
The company started working in Dolby ProLogic is doing and they’ll be triggered by his actions so it take with monitoring for games and that there weren’t
with the launch of its successful Rayman series and becomes far more complicated.’ many 5.1 mixing rooms in Paris. He adds that people
was using outside studios for its audio requirements. Interactivity is what makes a game a game yet it’s were simply including surrounds and a centre in
But changes in work load and ambition gave rise also what makes the sound man’s life demanding and stereo rooms, which Souch and Martin didn’t believe
to a desire to build its own multichannel room there are also technical constraints, linked to the host was any sort of solution. As such the control room
with an accompanying voice-over booth. Martin console, that dictate how much audio ends up on the was built with multichannel in mind from the onset
Dutasta, head sound engineer for Ubisoft France, finished project. He says the job involves prioritising and also handles the company TV ads, game trailers,
describes the control room as his office and is quick the importance, and therefore the resolution, of each and internal AV stuff.

14 resolution July/August 2005


facility

It’s a comfortable room but then it needs to be


because the hours can be long. Martin says they
work on the assumption that if a player goes through
a game without stopping then they could finish it in
15 to 20 hours. ‘If we’re composing music for that,
we don’t want it to be repeated so we do submixes,’
he says. ‘It’s something that is quite specific to video
games; the music has to evolve with the action. When
we’re looping it, say because a fight lasts ten minutes,
we won’t keep the same minute of music repeating,
we do maybe ten versions of each track and each
of these tracks can loop with one of the others and
during the game that will happen and move from one
piece of music to the other.
‘In addition to that, if the player gets to a point Res_Smart AV_07.05 29/6/05 10:40 am Page 1
where there is an element of tension, for example, we
try and plan the music to compliment this in a musical
way. Put simply, there is music for danger and there

”The most exciting


is music for when the player does the right thing and
that is planned by the composer and by us at the mix
and there will be a lot of transitions from, for example,
danger to safety. It means that from one title I have to

new product in years.”


produce ten and I’m editing, remixing, keeping only
certain parts of the track, doing some sound design.’
He says that games sound is becoming more
complex and that it’s something that if done well is
largely taken for granted and accepted by the player.
This audio complexity has stepped up with increased
sophistication of the graphics. ‘If I’m putting in
a sound effect that was recorded in Foley — like
footsteps, for example — and I’m hearing it at 1m
or in a cave at 50m you have to give it a real-time
treatment.’ This, he says, can be part of the initial
processing or something that is added during the
game play from within the console.
‘I’m talking about the highest level console, which
is the X-Box, and the next generation of PlayStation
and X-Box, which will be out at the end of the year,
will be much more sophisticated,’ he says. ‘At the In an industry where
moment it’s quite limited but that’s the future and it’s new product launches come
thicker and faster each year, reactions
why we’re already working on this.’
like the one above are extremely hard to
He adds that the current situation is strange come by, yet this is the most frequent comment we’ve
because they are working towards platforms that they heard from seasoned professionals and hardened critics
don’t yet know. He puts this in perspective: ‘Every alike on first seeing the revolutionary new Smart AV Console.
three years we have a new platform and a game is Designed for use with today's most popular DAWs including Apple Logic,
created within a year to a year and a half.’ Digidesign Pro Tools and Merging Technologies Pyramix, the Smart Console represents
Many still regard games sound as a lot of audio a quantum leap forward in ergonomics and is radically different from any other console
ambition and a lot of skill from the creators but they on the market today. Operation via patented ARC technology is so intuitive that the learning
might still consider a nice big control room set up for curve is measured in minutes rather than days, and project completion times are slashed. A bold
claim, but when you find out more about the design, it’s easy to see why:
5.1 and a C200 and a big Pro Tools rig as possibly a
bit of overkill. ‘The ambition of all the major video THE ARC
games publishers is to reach the home theatre level The Console’s patented touch-sensitive ARC allows instant The touch-sensitive aux send knobs are also motorized, as are
one-touch selection of any channel or group of channels the pan knobs with their handy LED surround pan displays
— how people at home get the best reproduction from those currently in use on the DAW - custom sets of and a central motorized touch-sensitive surround panner is
from their movies,’ replies Martin. ‘That’s where we’re channels can be called up onto the faders in a second or available to all channels.
two. What’s more, the ARC also allows instant muting,
aiming. We know that in the US, for example, most soloing (or any other custom function) of any channel, even MODULARITY
people who are buying an X-Box are buying a home EQ FAN DISPLAY
if it’s not currently active on the console. The entire Console is highly modular, and in additon to the
components already described, also comes as standard with
theatre system at the same time or already have one DISPLAYS support for 3rd party surround monitoring controllers and
at home. What we’re aiming for is a DVD quality In addition to the stunning metering on the ARC itself, remote mic pre-amps, a 48, 72 or 96 channel ARC, one or
channels marked on the ARC in your own handwriting appear two optional ‘floating’ subsidiary ARCs, and an optional Edit
soundtrack that is not film theatre quality but is more in the super high-visibility electro-fluorescent display above Panel with high quality jog wheel, 40 custom function
adapted to home consumption and that includes each fader bank - this can also optionally display your DAW buttons and built-in 12" hi-definition LCD screen.
track names, or both. Meanwhile in the EQ department, dual-
Dolby Digital. When I arrived at Ubisoft we were concentric touch-sensitive EQ pots show the current gain and SOUND INVESTMENT
doing music with MIDI files. That’s finished now and frequency information on hi-res LED fan displays, whilst Most of all though, the Smart Console makes good commercial
detailed plug-in control is available on the central LCD sense - other than the undeniable client ‘wow’ factor, tests have
we’re doing surround ambience so when the player CHANNEL DISPLAY touchscreen with its own dual-concentric touch-sensitive pots. shown that productivity is massively increased versus any other
turns his head the ambience turns with him and that existing console design, and operator stress levels significantly
MOTORIZATION reduced - how much could this be worth to your business?
is calculated in real-time. The time of Pacman sound The Console can be specified with either industry standard
has long finished! For action games it’s now almost ALPS touch-sensitive motorized faders, or optionally deluxe Call today to find out more about the Console and flexible
ultra-fast Penny & Giles models when only the best will do. finance arrangements, or to book your personal demonstration.
like a movie. Some of the games we’re doing now
have sound effects that were recorded in Soundelux
and other companies in LA from weeks of Foley and +44 (0) 20 7692 6611
the music is orchestral. It’s great to have a room like EDIT PANEL www.smartav.net
this and I’m really pleased with it but it’s realistic in smartav@mediatools.co.uk
terms of what we are aiming for.’ ■

July/August 2005 resolution 15


gear
review

Products Platform news: Digidesign


The Icon exchange programme offers registered owners of ProControl
Equipment introductions and announcements
or Control|24 surfaces the opportunity to exchange up to an Icon D-
plus news on Digidesign and Steinberg. Control or D-Command. The programme includes a variety of exchange
options and a saving up to UK£3,480.
Digidesign has introduced six Icon configurations that include
essential Icon components in several different configurations that are
MERGING PYRAMIX CONTROL optimised for different applications and budgets. These include: D-
Control|32 Music; D-Control|32 Post; D-Control|16 Music; D-Control|16
Post; D-Command|Music; and D-Command|Post.
Each configuration includes a D-Control or D-Command, a Pro Tools|HD 3 Accel system, modular Pro Tools|HD
I-O interfaces and peripherals, a DigiDelivery Serv|LT file exchange server, and the HDpack 3 (V6) effects plug-
in bundle.
Music configurations add a PRE preamp, 192 I-O interface or 192 AD
The Isis expansion card, and Synchronic beat and audio manipulation tool. Post
R e m o t e configurations instead include Digidesign MachineControl software, the
Controller and Isis DigiTranslator 2.0 option, and the Avid Mojo video interface with the Avid
Fader Expansion units Media Station|PT companion application.
for the Pyramix DAW consist Pro Tools LE 6.9.2 software delivers support for Mac OS X 10.4.1 (Tiger) to
of a comprehensive edit controller and a fader expander. Digi 002, Digi 002 Rack, and Mbox systems. It is available as a free download
The main controller has large dedicated machine control for qualified users. Pro Tools LE 6.9.2 is for Pro Tools LE systems only. The
keys, high-resolution jog/shuttle/scrub functionality, previously released Pro Tools TDM 6.9.2 software supports Pro Tools|HD
advanced jog-wheel editing capabilities and a range of systems on Mac OS X 10.4.1. A future software release will support Pro Tools
user-assignable keys positioned around a large LCD. M-Powered systems on Mac OS X 10.4.1.
The main unit has a master fader section and 24 additional www.digidesign.com
user-definable keys across two layers that can be used as
48 direct access solo/mute/track arming keys, locators, cue
triggers or any other chosen function. There is a separate
and optional 8-fader expansion unit with 8 rotary encoders
SADIE H64 REMOTE AND LOCATION RECORDER V3.9 FOR UAD-1
and both units use 100mm touch-sensitive moving faders The H64 Remote is a V3.9 software for the UAD-1 DSP card and powered plug-
with dedicated Solo, Mute, Read, Write automation keys. dedicated multichannel in system
Isis can be used with Merging’s VCube and VCube HD-2K remote controller includes a
video player/recorders and can be configured to operate for the SADiE 14-day fully
the specific functionality of VCube. PCM-H64 DAW functional
The software only version of the Pyramix DAW — Pyramix for post and demo of the
Native — has undergone an increase in specification and music applications. first of three
functionality. The Standard Native system grows from 2 to Functional blocks, which announced
4 inputs and outputs and the more advanced Native Media concentrate on track arming and emulations
Bundle grows to 8 inputs and outputs. Both versions have monitoring, group functions, transport of vintage
increased from 8 to 24-track editing, mixing and processing. controls, locating and full editing controls, are complemented Roland effects
In addition, Native and Media Bundle now contains all the by external machine control. Together with twin timecode units; the Boss CE-1 Chorus. Full authorisations of the CE-1
increased functionality of the Pyramix Virtual Studio V5.0 displays, a full colour screen can be configured to show plug-in may be purchased for US$99 from my.uaudio.com
software with the option of 96kHz sample rate. metering or editing information and will normally supplement V3.9 also includes updated drivers for Apple’s OSX
www.merging.com full-sized screens from the H64 base unit. 10.4 Tiger and a number of enhancements for improved
The track area controls and displays the status of each functionality with Logic Pro and G5 computers but will be
individual track — record enable, input switching, edit the last UAD-1 release for legacy OS9.
WAVES ACCELERATION control, mute and solo of each individual track or stem, www.uaudio.com
together with status displays.
The edit control area features a weighted jog-wheel together
with function buttons that include multiple preview modes, QUESTED S10 AND SUB
rapid location devices, region and trim editing models. The S10 is the
The software behind the host PCM H64 can be the normal largest full
SADiE V5.4 interface or, when being used as a multichannel range monitor
dubber or recorder, a radically simplified user interface is in Quested’s S
available. Range and is a
The LRX is a laptop-based location recorder that combines 3-way active
Waves’ APA32 and APA44-M audio processing accelerators SADiE’s audio input and output modules with a tactile reflex port
let users run multiples of Waves’ most CPU-intensive plug- hardware control surface. design. It
ins. The APA32 can run 6 IR-1 reverbs, or 9 Phase Linear The LRX control surface comprises a small assignable employs
parametric equalisers, or 12 C4 multiband parametric mixer with 8 motorised faders, including prefade listen and a 10-
processors at 44.1kHz. The APA32 is a 1U rackmount unit dedicated record enable buttons; a complete inch bass
while the APA44-M is a half-rack unit that features up to editorial interface with fully weighted jog d r i v e r,
30% more processing power and nearly silent operation. wheel and ergonomic editing buttons; 3-inch mid and 1-inch high frequency soft dome driven with
There’s no PCI card to install, no need for a FireWire or locator memories; transport controls and a 500W of linear Class A-B amplification.
USB connection. You plug an APA unit into a computer’s headphone monitor output. The SB10 subwoofer works with the complete S Range
Ethernet port and install Waves’ new NetShell software. It is supplied with a simplified and has a separate 1U controller that processes the left and
The power of APA units can also be distributed among version of the SADiE on-screen right signals feeding the full range monitors. The Quested
several workstations. graphical user interface. range also includes the S6, S7 and S8 monitors.
www.waves.com www.sadie.com www.quested.com

16 resolution July/August 2005


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RTW MONITOR CONTROLLER RUPERT NEVE’S PORTICO SERIES


Rupert Neve has returned to manufacturing with a
series of all-analogue products under the Rupert
Neve Designs brand. Custom designed transformers,
very short signal paths, minimal negative feedback
plus single-sided transformer-coupled amplifier
designs are said to form the building blocks for the new
Portico range. Gain control offers 0dB
The first Portico unit is the 5012 duo mic pre, a dual- to 66dB plus an associated Trim and a continuously variable
channel microphone preamp that incorporates a ‘Silk’ high pass filter at 12dB per octave covers 20Hz to 250Hz.
switch to add warmth and presence to both outputs. A To The 5012 will be joined by equalisation, filtering, dynamics
Bus switch allows the 5012 to access busing in a custom- control, assignment, mixing and monitoring modules, and
configured, multimodule setup or to assign a signal to a even a tape emulation channel.
RTW now offers its SurroundControl 30960 in a half- solo or cue bus in other Portico modules. www.rupertneve.com
width 3U housing format. The basis for the system is the
combination of an 8-channel monitoring controller with
the measuring functions of the RTW surround display units.
The peakmeter, analyser and loudspeaker management
systems have been adjusted to optimally complement
each other. Monitoring controller functions include an 8-
channel volume control with pushbuttons for the rear-to-
front, mono, phase inversion and side switching, solo, mute
and dim functions.
The volume control can be calibrated using a reference
sound level and can be reset to the preset monitoring
volume at the touch of a button. The SoundControl system
can be used to calibrate a monitoring system as it includes
a surround test signal generator, an SPL meter, and an input
for a measuring microphone.
It also has a built-in downmix matrix, a 2-channel
downmix meter and additional monitoring inputs for
external stereo signals.
www.rtw.de

TC UPDATES
With the 2.0 update, TC’s Restoration Suite for PowerCore
includes five real-time plug-ins: DeScratch, DeNoise,
DeClick, DeCrackle, and now DeThump, which can be
used with any VST, AU or RTAS compatible system.

DeThump resolves impulsive errors up to 12000 samples


in length without audible artefacts and is designed to
eliminate low frequency pulses that typically occur with
strong impulse disturbances in LP recordings.
Also for
PowerCore,
DVR2 is a
Digital Vintage
R e v e r b
that adds
spaciousness
and degrees of
modulation to
a mix and can
produce a sound very close to a well preserved EMT250.
A series of System 6000 stereo plug-ins — MD3, VSS3,
DVR2 and NonLin2 — are now available for Pro Tools HD.
www.tcelectronic.com

17
July/August 2005 resolution 17
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review

CHARTEROAK MICS
US CharterOak Acoustic Devices has made its range of mics
available in Europe.
Platform news: Steinberg
The SA538 is a dual diaphragm condenser Nuendo 3.1 provides
using a centre-terminated S-1 capsule and new features and
the SA538B is a side-address dual diaphragm capabilities aimed
valve condenser microphone specifically at
that employs a side-terminated those working in
S-2 capsule type that provides postproduction for film
extended bass response and and television. New
smooth treble. Audio Pull Up/Down
The S600 front-address valve functions make Nuendo
condenser is sold in pairs and a useful tool for audio
employs S-3 capsules and is post whenever a
said to be excellent when used Telecine process was
as a stereo overhead pair. The extended bass used to transfer film to
response of the S600 is said to make it an NTSC or PAL/SECAM.
excellent choice for recording bass guitar and The added support
its smooth treble response makes it a good for HDTV Frame Rates
choice for recording bright electric guitars. allows Nuendo users
www.charteroakacoustics.com access to this fast-
growing format within
their DAW.
AEQ PORTABLE Nuendo Network
AEQ’s DR 100 professional digital Collaboration features
recorder is the size of a mobile phone have been extended
and is said to be ideal for journalists and by adding support for
other broadcast applications. Its portability Marker Tracks, while
allows the user to operate it with a single the Online Merge function facilitates quick and easy merging of networked projects with local ones.
hand and view the information on its large Also announced with this update is the ability of Nuendo to interface with Euphonix hardware, such as the
screen. Recordings can be made using the MC and System 5-MC, using the EuCon protocol.
built-in microphone or via an external mic. Its ‘While we’ve added important new features, we’ve also implemented
built-in FM receiver allows the recording of any improvements to existing functionality requested by pros from around
station on the FM band and audio files can be the world working in audio post,’ said senior Nuendo product manager
transferred via external modem or through a USB port. Lars Baumann. ‘And the ongoing partnership of Steinberg and Euphonix
www.aeq.es will provide the customer with exciting new possibilities and tremendous
workflow improvements in recording, editing or mixing audio.’
The 3.1 update is available for download to current registered users.
V2.2 FOR AURUS Steinberg and Yamaha showed their range of audio software and hardware
for Mac at MacExpo in Cologne. ‘Our presence here together with Yamaha
clearly underlines the ongoing commitment of both companies to the Mac platform,’ said Steinberg’s marketing
director Frank Simmerlein. ‘Tiger is turning out to be a fantastic operating system for audio professionals, with
new features which we’re already supporting in our products.’
Running on Mac OS 10.4 Tiger, Cubase SX3 has new features currently exclusive to the Mac platform,
including support for the new Aggregate Device and support for MIDI networking, which allows MIDI data to
be transferred to other computers in real-time using TCP/IP.
www.steinberg.net

MULTICHANNEL AUDIO SPLITTERS HHB PRO CD PLAYER

The V2.2 configuration software update for Stagetec’s


Aurus console adds extended and improved management
and configuration facilities with associated improvements HHB’s CDP-88 is a 1U rackmounting CD player with 24-bit
in speed of use, reliability and operator efficiency. The Delta Sigma D-A convertors that plays CD and MP3-CD
console boot process is now even faster with reconfigured from CD, CD-R and CD-RW discs, with the facility to play
data storage within the console. The current statuses of unfinalised CD-R/RW discs and indicate error rates on the
the console and the signal processors are stored in the front panel display.
console’s controller board instead of to the memory server Analogue outputs are balanced XLR and phono plus digital
as with previous versions. The alphaton MPV-43P offers four channels with one AES-EBU and optical/coaxial SPDIF. It has the facility to sync
Stagetec has updated the snapshot automation of its Aurus input split into three outputs. The inputs and outputs to Word clock at any frequency from 32 to 96kHz (even in
console with a SnapMix function. Similar to dynamic automation, are provided as XLR connectors on the front panel. In varispeed). RS232 and parallel remote connections are provided
this function allows storage of complex mixes or effects as contrast to its little brother the MPV-43, the P version offers and the supplied infra-red remote can be converted to wired.
SnapMixes. These SnapMixes can be recalled, regardless of the individually switchable 48V phantom power for each of the The CDP-88 has a RAM buffer for instant start, a playback shock
presence of external timecode, with the internal high-precision four channels. buffer and a digital output attenuator. There’s also a fader start
clock of the Aurus used as a sync reference. The multichannel audio splitters distribute microphone interface, track intro and outro display modes, frame accurate
It can be used to achieve asymmetric fades between two and line levels of up to +6dBu with low distortion and very cueing with jog sound, +/– 12.5% varispeed and displays for
stored snapshots or to reproduce complex panning effects. low loss. elapsed time, track time remaining and disc time remaining.
www.stagetec.com www.lawo.de www.hhb.co.uk

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FIREWIRE CONNECTOR MORE I-OS AND BUSES FOR INNOVASON


Switchcraft has launched a Innovason’s Sensoft V10 console control software increases
FireW ire connector that is the source and mix capability of its digital live mixing
mounted within a universal style consoles. The compact 48-fader Sy48 is now able to mix
XLR panel receptacle housing. 72 channels into 40 buses; the 80-fader Sy80 has been
The product has feed-through increased to 104 mix channels into 48 buses — all with
connections and can be supplied full digital processing.
in nickel or black XLR housings. Both consoles are now able to access these inputs
Other options in this range have BNC, RCA Phono and from up to 144 local and remote sources using a
SVHS connectors and future additions will include USB combination of existing Innovason analogue and digital of two Innovason consoles together for accessing up to
and Cat6 versions. input cards and the new Dio multichannel audio interfaces. 64 channels of audio from external devices or to connect
www.switchcraft.com Dio-ES is capable of delivering 64 bi-directional channels of a second 64-input channel Innovason Stage Box that will
24-bit, 48kHz synchronous audio with control data down a be available soon.
single Cat5 cable. This can be used to connect the audio www.innovason.com
NEVE 5.1 COMPRESSOR

The Neve 8051 surround compressor provides six fully


transformer balanced audio paths complemented by two
side chains and a key input. Flexible side chain routing,
trimming and filtering lend it to surround mixing and
mastering. It employs fully discrete audio paths and
negative feedback circuit design.
The unit is based on a circuit design first used in the
classic 2254 limiter/compressor from 1969. There is control
of side chain routing and filtering across the six channels.
It is available in two versions: Standard with continuously
variable rotary controls and Mastering with clicked rotary
controls.
www.ams-neve.com

ELEMENT SURFACE
Axia Audio’s Element modular
studio control surface is available
in configurations of 4 to 32 faders
and has four Program buses,
four Aux send buses,
dedicated talk
a n d
preview
functions
on each
channel, one-
touch record and
monitor sections, and
up to 32 mix-minus outputs.
Element works in conjunction with the Axia Studio Mix
Engine, an Intel-based mixing platform running real-time
Linux. A standard sVGA LCD monitor displays all metering,
clock timer, status and options info.
It can be configured to run stereo or discrete 5.1 surround
programming.
Optional 5 or 10-button programmable Switch Modules
are useful for user-programmable functions, such as instant
routing changes, remote control of external equipment or
other non-standard features.
SmartSurface V2.5 software adds dynamic voice processing
— compression, de-essing and noise gating designed by
Omnia Audio — to supplement the SmartSurface 3-band
parametric equalisation.
www.axiaaudio.com

19
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review

EDIROL PORTABLE BEL DELAYS LIVE 5


Edirol’s R-4 uses a 40Gb hard
disk drive and records four
channels at once and can The Bel 7150 Audio Synchronisation delay is the successor
edit waveforms on the to the 7120 and 7130. Incorporating analogue and AES-
recorder itself. Recording EBU I-O it provides 10.4 seconds of audio delay, selectable
at 24-bit, 96kHz linear, the four in samples, fields, frames or milliseconds. All field and frame
XLR/jack connectors have switchable values change to reflect PAL or NTSC operation.
phantom power and digital I-O is also
provided. The analogue stage also has a limiter and stereo
omnidirectional mics are built in.
The R4 has a prerecord function and 3-band parametric The 7330 Auto-Tracking Audio Synchronisation Delay
EQ, Graphic EQ, Noise Gate, Enhancer, and a compressor has analogue, AES-EBU and LTC interfaces. In addition
and DeEsser, although only one effect can be used at a to manual operation, it can provide automatic glitch-free
time and none are available at 96kHz operation. An L delay adjustments in response to external control signals
terminal permits the connection of a similarly equipped to a maximum of 5.2 seconds. Ableton Live 5 adds Clip Freeze, which frees up CPU power,
digital video camera to synchronise the camera start/stop and Plug-In Delay Compensation, which automatically
while the R-4 is recording. delays tracks to compensate for latencies caused by effects
The USB 2.0 high-speed mode transfers data and a and plug-ins.
CompactFlash slot is provided. The R-4 runs on eight AA For those situations where video editing processes Launchable Arrangement Locators offer arrangement/
batteries or with an AC adaptor. cause a known and fixed delay, the 8-channel 8120 Audio song-position markers with MIDI mapping and quantised
Synchronisation Delay provides a cost-effective solution recall while there’s now also Mackie Control Support.
for synchronising audio to video. Configured as four stereo Other features include MP3 support, automatic tempo-
analogue pairs, each stereo pair of delay lines can be matching, Complex Warp Mode for frequency-domain
controlled in steps of 0-15 fields. warping, and Clip Transport permits performance-
www.beldigital.com enhancing looping, editing and shuffling on the fly.
www.ableton.com

OCTO-BUS NETWORK
The FA-66 is a 6-channel version of Edirol’s FA-101 Octo-Bus is a digital audio network that carries audio in real-time, NEUTRIK EMC XLR
FireWire audio interface. It allows simultaneous recording of control data and power over Cat5 cables. The synchronous bus The EMC-XLR is available as 3-pole
6 channels at 24-bit, 96kHz or 4 channels at 24-bit, 192kHz. protocol allows transmission of up to 8 simultaneous channels male and/or female cable connectors
Two XLR/TRS combo jacks can be used to record mic or of bidirectional digital audio including control data and system with an integrated LC-filter so that
line level signals. monitoring without any audible latency. It can be configured RF-interferences and LF-noise can be
www.edirol.com as a star or as a daisy-chained audio network without the avoided reliably. With its 360 degree
need for routers or hubs. Using Octo-Bus, the Vadis platform shield contact on the female connector,
can be expanded by a range of products that help to make the it is designed to guarantee the best
FEARN VT7 installation of studios faster, easier and more cost-efficient. possible shielding and chassis contact.
www.klotzdigital.com A variety of audio
problems like ground loops,
RF-interference, and Pin-1-problems
ROLLERMOUSEPRO can be solved and the EMC-XLR is
Contour Design’s RollerMousePRO features a lengthened able to reduce audio noise caused by
rollerbar, two new function buttons located just below RF-interference significantly.
the left-hand side The OpticalCon system consists of a
DW Fearn’s VT7 valve compressor has an all Class-A of the extended ruggedised all-metal and dirt-protected
vacuum tube audio path. The gain reduction elements r o l l e r b a r, a chassis and cable connector to increase
use circuitry that duplicates the sound and characteristics repositioned the reliability and maximise the uptime
of ‘classic’ vacuum tube compressors, without depending scroll wheel, of fibre optic connection systems. The
on tubes that are no longer manufactured. The control reshaped original system is based on a standard optical LC-
circuitry is modern solid-state analogue. The two channels three buttons, Duplex connection but the OpticalCon
of the VT7 may be used independently or linked together and selectable, improves this original design to ensure
for stereo. hard-coded a safe and rugged connection. Due
www.dwfearn.com function options. to the compatibility with conventional
www.contourdesign.com LC connectors, it offers the choice of
using a cost effective LC connector as
DVB CONVERTOR a permanent connection, or Neutrik’s
JOSEPHSON MICS rugged OpticalCon cable connector for
mobile applications. It enables up to
four copper wires to run power or data
signals through.
Neutrik has extended its D-chassis
Josephson Engineering’s range of hand-made microphones line with USB and FireWire receptacles.
includes the e22s condenser, which was designed in The NAUSB and NA1394-6 comply with
You/Com’s MXTS multichannel, multiprogramme audio conjunction with Steve Albini specifically for use on snare the relevant standards and are available
to DVB convertor is able to handle Dolby 5.1, DTS and drums, guitar cabs and plucked instruments. in nickel or black nickel housings. The
apt-x multichannel programme. It also supports ancillary The C42 small diaphragm condenser is a ‘firm favourite’ NAUSB 2.0 comes with an A/B feed-
data (RDS data) per programme and is able to transmit for drum overheads, acoustic guitar and general studio through receptacle while the NA1394-6
10 radio programmes in ASI/DVB format over an E1 duties; the stereo set is factory matched. is equipped with a 6-pole FireWire feed-
leased line. The C617 is described as an ‘audiophile’ omni. through receptacle at both ends.
www.youcom.nl www.kmraudio.com www.neutrik.com

20 resolution July/August 2005


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review

DIGIGRAM CARDS PHASE PRO TRANTEC HTX HANDHELD


Digigram has resized its VX222-Mic Te r r a Te c Trantec’s S6000HTX handheld transmitter is designed for
stereo sound card with built- P r o d u c e r ’s use with its S6000 wireless radio microphone system and its
in mic-preamp in the Phase X24 sister products — the S6001
compact short-length FW is the and S6002.
PCI format. It extends professional version of Phase 24 FW. It has two analogue The HTX is a frequency-
the feature set of the inputs (line, hi-Z or mic with 48V phantom power), four agile handheld transmitter
VX222 stereo sound card outputs, digital I-O, MIDI I-O, insert jacks and gain knobs. that boasts a brand new
(balanced analogue I-Os with Equipped with status and clip LEDs, inputs levels are ergonomic design and will offer a variety of inter-changeable
24-bit convertors, AES-EBU I-O, 2 individually adjustable. capsules (dynamic, condenser, omni or cardioid).
GPIOs) with a phantom-powered mic preamp linked to an The Phase 24 FW now offers data exchange capability via It offers operating times in excess of 10 hour’s constant use
analogue compressor-limiter-expander for direct recording the mLAN open protocol for the transport of audio, MIDI with a single AA alkaline cell, a 70MHz frequency window,
and includes a 3-band parametric EQ and a ‘maximizer’ to and sync data. and infra-red frequency and operating options set up.
increase average signal level. Same Colour Resolution 22|06|2005 13:04
www.terratec.com Side 1
www.trantec.co.uk
The BOB range of breakout boxes connect audio sources
and destinations to Digigram’s multichannel sound cards.
All analogue and digital signals are available simultaneously
on the front panel via Neutrik XLRs in addition to AES sync,

sound engineering

Word I-O, Video In


and LTC In connectors.
BOB8 features four analogue and digital stereo input
connectors plus four analogue and digital stereo output
connectors. BOB12 features connectors for one analogue
and digital stereo input as well as six analogue digital stereo
outputs.
XIP882 is the first Digigram product to employ its eXaudi
technology, an IP audio streaming, processing, and routing

[MMC-1A]
system. XIP882 combines IP streaming client/servers, audio
processors, routers, and codecs in one device. eXaudi
enables the integration of radio automation applications
and audio transport over IP networks within a single

RAL COLOR
scalable, manageable, and integrated system, which
makes the entire broadcast chain easier to manage and
significantly reduces engineering and operating costs,
according to the company.
www.digigram.com 5001
SONIC BLU-RAY CREATOR
Sonic Blu-ray Creator
is the first commercial

20 YEARS. SAME COLOR


authoring system
to enable high-end
production facilities and
major motion picture
studios to create titles for [WHY CHANGE A GOOD THING?]
the Blu-ray Disc format.
Sonic Blu-ray Creator
is a collaboration with
Panasonic and is based on
a workflow that is familiar to professional title developers.
Blu-ray Creator gives title authors the ability to combine
high definition video and audio with interactive menus and
Internet connectivity, proof their title as they work, and
output fully formatted BD premasters for replication.
Blu-ray Disc is an optical disc format for high-definition
video and high-capacity data applications. A single-layer
Blu-ray Disc holds up to 25Gb of data and a double-layer
Blu-ray Disc holds up to 50Gb of data. LYDKRAFT www.tube-tech.com
www.sonic.com

21
July/August 2005 resolution 21
review

Logic Pro 7.1


iLife package. GarageBand songs can now be imported
and the software’s Apple Loops feature is available in
Logic 7 and further improved with 7.1. Such is the
power of this feature that one long-standing Logic
Following the Apple takeover and subsequent re-branding of Logic Pro when power-user colleague of mine says it has changed
his entire working method. Apple Loops is indeed
version 7 launched, the first major update has arrived in the shape of 7.1, which is a clever concept that seems to combine aspects of
Ableton Live and Propellerheads’ ReCycle. Audio
a paid-for upgrade albeit at an almost token price. This adds more new features
loops are previewed at the Song tempo and desired
and fixes some irritating bugs that appeared in version 7. Resolution has not pitch, then dragged from the Loop Browser into the
arrangement — as in Live, tempo change requires
examined Logic Pro since version 7 appeared, so GEORGE SHILLING considers all no action on the part of the user, the loops adapt to
the improvements since 6.4.3, the last version provided with Emagic branding. fit. The algorithms used work well, even at extreme
tempo and key changes there are few audible artefacts
in most cases. Logic ships with a selection of loops of
many different styles and instruments and additional
Jam Packs are already on sale. It’s a fabulous system,
with loops easily searchable by genre, instrument
or mood and auditioned at the correct tempo and in
any key. Creating your own loops is straightforward
using the Apple Loops Utility — simply select a piece
of audio, add a few bits of meta information to the
file (such as key, time signature and ‘mood’), and on
another page (which looks like ReCycle), check that
transients have been correctly identified. It is simple
to use, and this is a great new feature for inspiration,
or for quickly knocking tracks together using library
material. The technology has benefited Logic further
in that any audio recorded into 7.1 can now be locked
to tempo for instant stretching in the Arrange window
to fit new tempi.
Among the numerous small improvements are
some ideas pinched from Pro Tools, which can only
be a good thing. Two new parameters appear on the
Arrange window. A choice of Snap modes can now
be instantly selected from a drop-down menu with
values such as Beat, Bar, Frames, Ticks and Smart
(relating to the zoom scale). Alongside this is a Drag
drop-down menu that selects how regions behave
when dragged across each other — whether they
overlap, crossfade or shuffle, but you’ll still need to

B
Y V6, LOGIC had become very complex from go into the familiar Sample Edit window for sample-
the many new features strapped on over the accurate editing.
years. Version 7 included hundreds of small Automatic crossfading is another neat Pro Tools-
improvements, and thankfully, Apple marshalled a inspired trick. The cursor now changes when
tidy-up of many aspects of the program, with the hovered appropriately to indicate these and other
Preferences menu greatly rationalised, for example. hidden functions like changing the length of notes
Regrettably, the overall appearance is now even or Regions — Arrange page Objects are now called
darker and greyer, and sometimes looks more Vintage Regions (sound familiar?) to distinguish them from
Neve than OSX Aqua. Dialogue boxes that were clear Environment Objects. Double-clicking an Audio Object
with a white background are now grey-blue and use in the Arrange page no longer takes you to the Audio
a smaller font. But with such complex software, any Environment, but rather to the Track Mixer — a more
graphic improvements are highly valued, and to that logical way to work.
end there are plenty of small tweaks, such as adding Individual channel strips can be imported and
indicators for parameter adjustments where previously exported, complete with all their plug-ins and settings,
there was nothing. Simpler plug-ins remain blue and and a huge number of preset instruments and effects
graphically clear, while new, more complex, additions are included, much like Reason and its Combinator
continue the elegant but slightly fiddly look of the settings. Another feature that greatly rationalises and
relatively new instruments such as EXS24 and ES2. simplifies operation is Global Tracks, not dissimilar
Apple’s headline feature is Distributed Audio to Pro Tools rulers. These run along the top of the
Processing. This enables G5 Macs to do some of the arrangement or edit window to allow viewing and
CPU processing on behalf of the main computer via a editing of functions such as Transposition, Markers,
Giga Ethernet connection. Perhaps Apple’s motivation — this is Apple’s rather neater answer to TDM. Time Signature and Tempo, plus a new Beat Mapping
here is to increase sales of G5 hardware, but it is a However, there are limits; tracks are assigned to function that replaces the Reclock function. A new
clever idea that enables far more processing power to Nodes on an individual basis and while Audio tracks Video track replaces the older Video Thumbnail track.
be unleashed if you happen to have a spare G5 Mac and Instruments can be assigned, auxes, buses and And thankfully the toolbox can now be accessed with
or two to act as Nodes. The process of connection is outputs cannot, understandably. Furthermore, the a right mouse-click — a feature from Atari Cubase!
fairly painless. And if you start to run out of power, for EXS24 sampler is unable to use Nodes because of Caps Lock Keyboard is a brilliant feature for the
example, on a G4 laptop, hooking up a mate’s G5 will potential problems accessing samples. mobile musician: simply turn Caps Lock on and your
get you motoring along without having to transfer all Some elegant features have been included that first computer keyboard becomes a MIDI keyboard. A
the files onto the more powerful machine. It is certainly appeared in Apple’s GarageBand software, a freebie graphic representation appears onscreen, with keys
more convenient than installing PCI processing cards that ships with new Macs and comes as part of the arranged in conventional keyboard layout across the

22 resolution July/August 2005


review

middle, with octave selection using number keys, and for clicking to easily audition sounds. Loading and with time and inclination the possibilities are huge,
velocity setting using the lower row. It’s great fun, and Saving drums sets is straightforward, and problems and it is great fun tweaking and envelope filtering,
you can even play chords. importing individual voices seem to have been fixed say, the noise component of a snare sound to get it
There is simply not the space to detail all the new in 7.1. The supplied library is of variable quality, but really crunching.
effects plug-ins, but worthy of note are All 22 GarageBand instruments are also present,
the excellent Guitar Amp Pro simulator they generally seem to be EXS24-derived, including
(although the new Bass Amp is, by the new Hybrid Morph synth. On a related note,
comparison, disappointing), Apple’s the EXS24’s editor is slightly improved, and EXS24
Pitch Corrector version of Auto-Tune, now helpfully shows a progress bar when loading
and the wacky RingShifter, which samples.
combines a ring modulator with a To improve stability, Logic now automatically
frequency shifter for some wonderful scans the Audio Units plug-ins on the computer on
effects from subtle phasing to crazy initial launch, and only loads those that it is happy
alien noises. Also useful is the clever with — most manufacturers have now updated any
GrooveShifter that analyses and incompatible versions. Although much more stable
manipulates audio in real-time using than version 6, I still experienced one or two crashes.
mini timestretches to change the Startup of the program is much faster, as after the
groove. Match EQ is in a similar vein to initial AU scan, this stage is skipped. However, there
Waves Q-Clone, although this matches is no way of escaping the EXS24 library scan.
the tone of existing audio passages You could argue that rather than adding more
— it is very effective and simple to and more tempting plug-ins and
use. Other additions include excellent instruments, there is much that the
utilities including several metering developers could do to Logic to make
options. Plug-in Delay Compensation is now available existing functions work in a more
for all signal paths, but enabling it on everything straightforward manner. But there
and making a recording results in that audio playing have been large steps in the right
back out of time with existing tracks, so this feature direction — I particularly like the
appears to need further improvement. improved audio editing features. The
EFM1 is a simple FM synthesiser, the provided layout and graphic appearance is
presets are lively and clear, and although the structure generally much better, albeit with
is rather different and far simpler than your old DX7, a a rather drab colour scheme. As
good range of rich FM sounds can be achieved. a Pro Tools user, there are many
Sculpture is the most advanced and unusual additions that make a lot of sense
new instrument. This combines different types of but there are many functions that
synthesis and bases sound creation on the principle are still counter-intuitive, especially
of a modelled vibrating string or bar. The timbre is to any newcomer. Surely further
created by adjusting parameters such as the string or rationalisation is possible — the new
bar’s material, thickness, tension and playing method. Apple Loops browser is evidence of
Unlike most synthesis, re-striking the string will superb ergonomic design.
cause the existing vibrations to harmonically interact Thankfully, the reference manual
with the new note. It is an extraordinarily complex has had a major update and rewrite
instrument to fully understand, so if — the V6 manual was riddled with
programming sounds is your thing, errors and outdated information. I had no problems
this is something to spend time loading and running older Songs (unlike working up
exploring, working with the reference through the various 6.x upgrades, which sometimes
manual for hours rather than minutes. produced a few odd bugs).
Of course, there is nothing to stop you Logic has long been a top MIDI sequencer, but it is
loading some of the provided presets, now arguably the best writing and production tool and
but I suspect these barely scratch the the ultimate aim of a self-contained computer-based
surface of Sculpture’s possibilities. studio is now just about reality, with sound sources
Ultrabeat is another hugely complex and effects covering most aspects of production,
beast, a drum machine that uses various integrated into an increasingly useable DAW. I’ll still
synthesis methods and incorporates record and mix rock bands with Pro Tools, but for
its own step sequencer, perhaps machine-led composition and production this is surely
inspired by certain Reason devices. the best system. ■
You have at your disposal 24 discrete
sound engines, plus a 25th chromatic
voice. FM, Phase Oscillator, physical PROS Apple Loops; great new plug-ins; huge
number of detail improvements; audio
modelling and sample playback are all
editing starting to catch up with Pro
available for sound creation. A narrow Tools; Node processing.
piano-keyboard runs down the side
CONS Dark graphics; environment and
audio assignment still not particularly

WaveBurner WaveBurner CD mastering software is also bundled with Logic Pro. This fathomable or logical to newcomers; no
off-line Logic or AU plug-in processing;
is a separate application that includes Red Book authoring, a number of
lacks a great acoustic piano.
Logic plug-ins (although oddly not Match EQ), and access to your Audio Units plug-ins. It is a very useful
and well thought out program, with two stereo audio tracks to enable crossfading of CD tracks, and a clean,
straightforward user interface.
While grey is the predominant colour, the overall appearance is more iTunes than Logic. The version initially Contact
bundled with Logic 7 had its critics, but the new version included with 7.1 seems fine, although there are still
some niggles — for example, the counter will only display total elapsed time rather than track time. APPLE, US
Website: www.apple.com

July/August 2005 resolution 23


review

Tascam DV-RA1000
Take a box that looks like a CD-R and add DVD write, wide and fast formats, DSD and computer control and you have a
high definition audio master recorder with a difference. ROB JAMES looks carefully at the sum of all these parts.

F
ROM REEL-TO-REEL through DAT to CD-R,
Tascam has always been in the short-list for
2-track masters. So, a new mastering machine
from this company should be something of an event.
Although eagerly awaited, due to one thing and
another I hadn’t even checked out the specs when the
courier arrived. Upon opening the box, the first thing to
catch my eye was the DSD logo prominently displayed
on the front of the manual. Great! At last a way to
burn listening copies of stereo SACDs (Yeah, right. Ed).
But, hold on a minute, I thought SACD copy protection unformatted, which translates to a maximum of 290 Through are BNC, the wired remote connects via a
effectively prevents this? Er, well yes, I think it does. So minutes at 44.1kHz down to 66 minutes at 192kHz or three pole 3.5mm jack and the USB 2 socket links to
what is the DV-RA1000 actually for? 107 minutes DSD. The more critical limitation is the a computer.
Digging deeper into the manual reveals at least some 2Gb limit, which reduces these figures to a less useful When you insert a new DVD+RW disc and the
of the story. At UK£824.68 (+ VAT), first it offers a maximum track length of 30 minutes at 192kHz and machine invites you to format it, the new project
somewhat expensive method of producing Red Book there is no Time Remaining display. screen then appears. You can name your new project
CD-R and CD-RW discs. However, there is a lot more Tascam recommends a list of 4.7Gb DVD+RW discs and select the project format. The PS2 keyboard makes
to this device than simple CD burning. Recording to from five manufacturers. The machine identifies these titling considerably less of a chore. Formatting only
DVD+RW discs at sampling rates up to 192kHz and disc types when inserted and you are presented with commences once you have created the first project
DSD-raw at 2.8225MHz is the real offer. the option of formatting the disc. If a non-recommended for the disc and it takes less than a couple of minutes.
The DV-RA1000 can also be connected to a PC or disc is inserted a pop-up message appears to the effect The first time you invoke record there is a small delay
Mac via USB, ideally USB2, although USB 1.1 also that the disc type is not supported. but subsequent record starts are near instantaneous.
works but performance is inferior. Once USB mode is Front panel controls are simple enough with When you are finished recording and hit Pause or
selected all the onboard controls are disabled with the familiar transport keys, a jog/data wheel, a backlit Stop there is an interregnum while the header is
exception of a Cancel button. The unit then appears LCD with five softkeys, ten further keys, disc drawer written before recording can be recommenced. Time
just like any other external mass storage device on Open/Close, a timer switch, headphone socket and taken for this depends on the format.
the computer. Files created on the DV-RA1000 can Volume control plus a PS2 keyboard socket. As When the disc is ejected, UDM Management
be transferred by this means for further editing and you might expect a lot of functions are accessed Information must be written. This takes a moment
mastering. Files can also be extracted directly from the via menus. Here, the structure is not immediately or two and can also be manually invoked. A single
disc in a PC DVD drive if DVD+RW is supported. intuitive but easy once you understand it. Menu DVR+RW disc can contain up to 99 projects. Each
If the manual is to be believed, the DV-RA1000 is enters the system menu, Enter confirms settings or project can only contain audio files (up to 99) of
a fussy eater, especially when used standalone. CD-R goes down a level, depending on context, and Cancel one sampling rate (or DSD) but each project can
media up to 48x is supported, as is CD-RW media up goes up a level. have up to 99 audio files. Threshold recording is
to 10x. All pretty standard stuff but it is a different The screen and softkeys are also used for what called Synchronised Recording and allows recording
story when it comes to DVD media. Only DVD+RW Tascam calls the VFP or Virtual Front Panel. VFP is to commence when the input signal exceeds a
media of up to 4x is supported using UDF. Universal launched from the Home screen by pressing the Enter given threshold or when any audio is detected in a
Disk Format (UDF) is a newish file system for CD and key and gives access to many more functions. A digital input stream. Threshold can also be used to
DVD and the successor to the ISO 9660 standard. UDF wired remote is supplied with the unit and offers a lot automatically divide a recording into separate tracks.
apparently overcomes some limitations of ISO 9660. more specific function buttons than the front panel. Marks to aid location can be added while in stop,
When the unit is used via USB2, in effect as Serial control via RS232 is also possible, although no record or play. Marks are stored with DVD projects but
an external drive, then CD-R, CD-RW, single and details of pin-outs or protocols are provided. are lost when a CD-R or CD-RW is ejected. With DVD
dual layer DVD+R and DVD+RW can be written A-D and D-A convertors are accessed via balanced projects notes of up to 1000 Ascii characters and spaces
and CD-DA, CD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-ROM, XLRs or phonos. To cater for digital input at dual can be added to the project and will stay with it.
DVD-R and DVD-RW can also be read. However, and quad sample rates, two sets of AES-EBU XLRs It is possible to create linear fades of up to 24
audio files written to the disc by an external are provided supporting either single or dual wire seconds in and/or out when recording or playing
computer cannot be used by the DV-RA1000. connections. Coaxial SPDIF goes up to 96kHz and back and Rehearsal mode lets you preview the effect.
Maximum file size is 2Gb when written by the DSD is taken care of by four BNC connectors for single Speaking of effects, the DV-RA1000 has a couple of
DV-RA1000. Maximum total capacity is 4.7Gb channel SDIF3 format signals. Word clock In, Out and DSP processes on offer for sample rates up to 192kHz.

24 resolution July/August 2005


review

Three-band EQ and a dynamics processor can be conditions are not extreme then, following Tascam’s the playlist, editing, and writing fluid data to a UDF
inserted before the record process or on playback, pre advice and I quote ‘For best results, and to maintain formatted disc, the system must have the ability to
D-A. Apparently, the idea is to give you some idea data integrity, Tascam strongly recommends the use re-write. However, I don’t see why it couldn’t have
of what might happen on eventual premastering or of new DVD+RW discs for important recordings’ been given a further mode without these features to
indeed, actually do the premastering. should confer a reasonable level of security. produce write-once copies and it would be nice if it
Limited editing is available in the form of dividing Obviously, if you do trust it, then a range of could play two channel SACDs and DVD-As. ■
and combining files, although not for DSD recordings. recording and archiving applications are opened up.
For example to remove unwanted heads or tails you But, if the machine could make two-channel DVD-As
simply divide the file at the In or Out point and on DVD-R and DVD+R media then it would be a lot Contact
join it to the preceding or following wanted audio more attractive. The same would apply if Tascam had
TASCAM, JAPAN
file. DSD files cannot be divided. A single level of included a hard disk, with the DVD+R as backup. I
Website: www.tascam.com
Undo/Redo helps avoid those ‘Oh bugger’ moments, appreciate that because of DV-RA1000 features like
unless you’ve recorded something before realising
the edit was a bad idea. Programmed playback PROS Cheapest method of recording DSD raw from analogue or digital sources currently available; easy to
allows tracks to be played in any order and repeated learn; versatile I-O.
as desired and the playlist is not stored when the
disc is ejected. DVD-RW projects also have a playlist CONS Can only play DVD disks recorded on a DV-RA1000; do you trust the DVD+RW format for masters?; no
‘time remaining’ display.
function, which is similar except that tracks cannot
be repeated. EXTRAS Tascam’s X-48 is a 48-track hybrid hard disk workstation with the ease-of-use of a standalone recorder
The DV-RA1000 is a curious beast. It is a thoroughly and the GUI, editing features and plug-in compatibility of computer-based workstation. The X-48 boasts
competent CD-R recorder with all the usual I-O and 96kHz/24-bit recording across all tracks and 192kHz recording across 24
features. It is also probably the cheapest way of tracks. Its file interoperability and synchronisation surpasses the MX-2424
recording raw DSD and, although the convertors and it has a VGA display output, powerful editing functions and DVD+RW
backup. There’s also a built-in dynamically automated 48-channel digital mixer
are not spectacular, at present you’d have to pay a
with 6 stereo returns, 24 buses, 6 aux sends, stereo bus, dynamics and 4-
multiple of the price of this machine to get better ones
band EQ per channel and 4 VST plug-in inserts on each channel, group and
for DSD. aux return. It is controllable using the Tascam US-2400 24-fader Universal
Whether you’d wish to entrust an irreplaceable Controller.
location recording to DVD+RW is more debatable.
Perhaps I’m being over cautious but, while I use It has built-in 48-channel TDIF I-O, SPDIF I-O, two 24-channel option slots
recordable DVD as a distribution medium, I’ve had for analogue, ADAT or AES-EBU expansion cards, advanced integrated
sync and machine control including HDTV tri-level sync, time-stamped
more than enough unexplained failures with DVD
Broadcast WAVE file format, front-panel transport, track arming, project
write once and re-writable discs of various flavours
management and meter functions, built-in 80Gb drive, two FireWire and
recorded on computers and standalone recorders four USB 2.0 ports, +/-12.5% varispeed, and Gigabit Ethernet. Price is
to make me reluctant to trust this technology too expected to be US$4,999.
far. If reasonable care is taken and environmental

July/August 2005 resolution 25


review

Merging Technologies Sphynx 2


If you’re in the market for a standalone convertor box then you’re going to appreciate the widest possible
choice of format options. ROB JAMES decides that it’s versatility and performance that rings his bell.

Y
OU MIGHT BE forgiven for thinking there is
a lot of choice when it comes to convertors.
To some extent this is true, if all you want or
need is ‘conventional’ sampling rates and formats up
to 96kHz. However, once there is a requirement for
the DSD conversion necessary for SACD production
options become limited.
Sony has acknowledged a new recording and
editing format developed by Philips and Merging
Technologies called Digital eXtreme Definition (DXD).
DXD is designed to enable multitrack recording and
editing for SACD at high quality. If DSD and DXD are
on the agenda, the choice of convertors available is
vanishingly small.
Sphynx 2 is a joint development between Merging
Technologies and Digital Audio Denmark combining
the two company’s MADI, DSD/DXD and convertor
skills. A DAD version of this unit is known as the
Axion. A unique, to my knowledge, technology lies
at the heart of the Sphynx 2. Analogue audio is
initially sampled at an amazing 5-bit 128 FS (5-bit
at 5.6832MHz) resolution, provided by the A-D chip
used, and is subsequently decimated to any of the controls. In fact there is just one. The left-hand segment character of its own to the sound. However, in
standard PCM, DXD and DSD rates. of the internally illuminated Merging pyramid logo is absolute terms every convertor changes the sound
Leaving the more esoteric aspects aside for a also the soft power switch. For security, this must be in some way, just as every other recording and
moment, Sphynx 2 has a number of features pressed and held for at least three seconds before the reproduction process does. Once you get above a
that will benefit many recording and production unit enters standby. Stacked sets of indicator LEDs certain level, arguments about which convertor is
applications. In its most basic form, Sphynx 2 offers for each analogue channel show input overload, ‘best’ take on an almost theological slant.
8 channels of A-D conversion. Seven option slots signal presence and carrier and signal presence for The conditions necessary to perform objective
can be populated with one or two four-channel D-A the digital inputs to the D-A convertors. A vertical convertor evaluation and comparison are difficult
modules and a variety of digital I-O modules. These stack of 8 LEDs indicate the current sampling rate, and expensive to arrange and well beyond the
are available in AES-EBU, TDIF, Pro Tools Mixplus, three more the sync source, and a further two scope of this review. But even on first hearing it was
SDIF3 and MADI formats. This modular design signify Sync Alarm and D-A Unlocked. Sync Alarm obvious that this is a very special device. Switching
helps keep the cost down. Rather than fitting every shows when an external sync source is unavailable back to my console’s convertors was revealing. In
interface format known to man you can specify or out of range and D-A Unlocked lights when the comparisons at conventional sampling rates there
exactly what is required. selected digital input sampling rate differs from the is a natural, relaxed quality to the Sphynx 2 sound,
The basic unit is UK£4000. Digital modules are sync source. Finally, a two character alpha display reminiscent of the most satisfying analogue systems
UK£546, MADI is UK£800 and four-channel D-A shows the Unit ID with a LED below confirming serial I’ve ever heard. The same comments are equally
modules are UK£940 each (all plus VAT). MADI is communication. applicable to DXD and DSD conversion. If you need
a powerful bi-directional interface that can handle all The unit is controlled over RS422 by the DAD this technology now then Sphynx 2 is a no-brainer.
PCM sample rates up to 192kHz as well as DSD 64fs DADman Windows application. A single iteration can Even if you don’t, isn’t it comforting to know you
and 128fs and DXD (352.8kHz). Further units may control several Sphynx 2s and/or any of the other won’t need to replace your convertors to get into the
be attached in a daisy chain for more channels. Each DAD convertors. DADman enables you to set Unit SACD game? Without double blind testing I consider
MADI interface and convertor unit can be set to access IDs where multiple convertors are present and to set this to be as transparent in both directions as any
any block of 8 consecutive MADI channels. A single the coarse analogue input gain between two ranges. convertor I’ve heard. Suffice to say that in my not-
MADI link can connect 8 channels of DXD I-O or up Fine adjustment is carried out with multiturn trim pots so-humble opinion the Sphynx 2 is a worthy entrant
to 24 channels of DSD I-O on the rear of the unit and D-A modules. DADman into the rarefied atmosphere of high-end conversion
A smart sculpted alloy panel resplendent in the also controls parameters such as sync source, sample at a far from stratospheric price.
new Merging house style, matching turnkey Pyramix rate and type, etc. Analogue inputs can be muted and On PCM performance alone Sphynx 2 jumps
workstation systems, fronts the 2U rackmounting phase reversed. straight into the ‘must audition’ list for anyone in the
enclosure. The front panel is devoid of obvious It is no function of a convertor to impart any market for an 8-channel convertor solution. ■

SACD, DSD & DXD PROS


On a SACD disc, the audio is represented by a one-bit The sound; versatility; cost effective
signal sampled at 64 times the CD rate of 44.1kHz. This is bi-directional DSD.
known as DSD 64 and produces a data rate of 2.8224Mbit/s. However, this is just the delivery format. Although
CONS Control software a bit clunky; needs
original recordings can be made in this format there are snags when it comes to multitrack use due to build up RS422 so a convertor may be required.
of out-of-band noise. Also, any mixing or processing necessarily results in more bits, which must be reduced back
to one bit for delivery. The alternative of using double the sample rate (DSD 128) still suffers this drawback.
DXD recording uses a 24-bit signal sampled at 352.8kHz. The data rate is 8467.2Mb/s — i.e. three times that of
a DSD64 signal. The DXD signal can be directly edited, mixed and processed directly. One benefit is significantly Contact
lower out-of-band noise levels. Since the DXD sample rate is 8 times 44.1kHz, the signal can easily be up-sampled
to DSD and/or decimated to any existing PCM rate for consumer format release with minimal degradation. MERGING TECHNOLOGIES, SWITZERLAND:
Website: www.merging.com

26 resolution July/August 2005


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review

Drawmer DSL424
Dynamics boxes have traditionally combined gain reduction with gating but few boxes offer independent sections
and stereo operation for both processing types. ZENON SCHOEPE looks at a box that is made of two halves.

A
S THE YEARS HAVE passed I have become, peak limiter section, which has a LED to show you downwards expander. I found that if the Hard setting
on the whole, largely less tolerant of the its working. wasn’t ideal then Soft was better, presumably as
whims of equipment types with the single The observant would have clocked this description intended.
exception of dynamics. While I expect a fairly high as that of a flexible and easy to set compressor with Three LEDs tell you that the gate is closed, or open,
minimum from an EQ and am very clear about what the super protection of one of Drawmer’s exemplary with a middle LED giving an indication of the ‘hold’
I want from an outboard effects, dynamics can delight limiters sitting on the end for broadcast applications, value. This will be instantly familiar to Drawmer
me in all forms. Part of this down to an appreciation for example. Even the most explosive sudden excesses users. Unlike the compressor’s Bypass button the
that you can never have enough and that individual are pulled up beautifully by the limiter and you just gate’s bypass is on the three position toggle that also
character adds to the pool. So providing they’re quiet, can’t fool it because it sees you coming. However, selects key listen and the gated output.
have decent connectivity and do what they say they the devil’s in the misuse and the limiter can be driven I was sure I was going to object to the two-position
can, then I am fairly easy to please. That’s not to say hard in isolation with very pleasing results. The (-90 and -20dB) Range switch but in practice it didn’t
I don’t have favourites, because I do, but I can reel off compressor’s good too and I’ll answer any complaints bother me although it’s the fully variable Range and
a fairly long list of boxes that I also really like and that now about its relative lack of individual parameter Hold pots that contribute enormously to making the
occupy well deserved space in my racks. control by pointing out that most ‘classic’ compressors DS201 the wonderful gate that it is.
Drawmer has a superb reputation and track probably offer less. It’s all in the choice of constants I would have liked to have seen the inclusion of the
record in dynamics and the DSL424 combines the and it is hard to reconcile the big sound you get out of ‘Peak Punch’ feature found on the MX40 to spice up
functionality of two pretty fine boxes — the DS404 such a small little section. The bases are covered with what is a perfectly capable but not extraordinary gate.
and the DL441. As a reminder, the DS404 is a the two knee characteristics, which really amount But then the majority of gating applications are fairly
quad noise gate that is itself genetically descended to giving you two completely different processing simple and this processor does what it should.
from the venerable DS201 dual noise gate but with approaches that cover mix or individual sources. It’s undoubtedly a very strong package and the
programme adaptivity. The DL441 is a quad auto I think I’ve said this before about other Drawmer ability to patch or break out the box’s individual
compressor/limiter that is derived from the DL241 ‘compact’ dynamics, but if you were to spread out sections does add value and a level of flexibility that
auto compressor. The DSL424 is therefore a further this circuit as a mono channel in a big 2U rackmount you don’t often encounter now. The compressor is the
distillation of respected and good solid Drawmer gear box with some retro knobs and switches and a couple exceptional part of the combo. It sounds much fatter
— half a DS404 plus half a DL441. of bricks inside to add weight, I’m sure quite a few and smoother than it looks and I believe would add
Best of all you can look at it as two stereo linked people would be none the wiser. its character to any dynamics armamentarium. Two
compressors plus two stereo linked gates, a stereo The gate gets Drawmer’s usual sweepable low halves do add up to a very wholesome whole. ■
linked compressor-limiter and gate, or you can access and high frequency filters for tuning the side chain
each processor individually via the back panel and plus a Threshold (-70-+20dB) and Release (10mS-
treat it as two gates and two compressor-limiters. 5S). Flexibility is aided by the inclusion of a button Contact
Personally that really appeals to me. that switches between Hard and Soft gating — the
Each gate and compressor channel has its own former for a more traditional fast gate response, the DRAWMER, UK:
Website: www.drawmer.com
balanced XLR I-O, which means you can patch latter transforming it into a programme adaptive
between them if you wish, with the gates additionally
getting a jack key input.
The two gates are arranged as the first two control PROS Excellent flexibility through rear panel connections; superb performance; the compressor’s really great.

blocks from the left and are followed by the two CONS The gate’s not a power gate in the true sense, just a good allrounder.
compressors. Both pairs can be switched for stereo
on a button and this hands control to the left channel EXTRAS Drawmer’s S3 3-band stereo valve opto-compressor forms the basis of a new ‘Signature Series’ and
offers ‘previously unattainable control and tonality’ over each of the three frequency bands. The signal
in the pair.
path has I-O transformers, passive
Operation is simple, control layout is clear and the components and ten valves in a fully
results are good. The compressor has a Threshold balanced Class A design. The Light
pot (-40-+20dB) and you can switch between Hard Dependent Resistors in the opto-
and Soft knee character with LED illumination. Ratio compressors are temperature sensitive
sweeps from 1.2:1 to hard limiting and there’s a and the S3 houses an ‘electronic
+/-20dB Gain makeup. Metering is surprisingly good oven’ that sustains the optimum LDR
given the size of the control block with eight gain operating temperature.
reduction LEDs and five LEDs in three colours for Large scale VU meters can be switched to Peak mode and two further VU meter rescale modes are
output level. It becomes a very colourful box when available to display the unit’s ability to output levels up to +30dBm.
in full flight. Finally there’s a separate Level for the

28 resolution July/August 2005


review
review

Marek Design RS1


doubt because of the way in which it is achieved.
This is confirmed by the accompanying manual,
which although a fairly tortured English translation,
does include the frequency response plots for each
Here’s a new brand microphone from a new German manufacturer that has taken a of the settings. These show significant (up to 10dB)
peaks and troughs on some of the patterns. The
different approach to the multipattern valve mic challenge. JON THORNTON says he likes omni pattern, for example, has the fairly unusual
characteristic of a wide 10dB lift centred around
it a lot and enjoyed exploring its possibilities.
7kHz, with a gentle dip between 100Hz and 300Hz.
Position 2 (wide cardioid), exhibits the same broad
HF lift, but with a flatter mid-range response. Setting
3 provides the flattest response of all in the cardioid
settings, and as the cardioid setting is tightened up,
low frequency response gradually shelves off, coupled
with a pronounced dip around 3kHz. By the time the
fig-8 setting is reached, the response is pretty bumpy
with a pronounced peak around 1kHz.
Although on paper these measurements look almost
disconcerting, in practice it makes the microphone
incredibly versatile. The omni pattern, for example,
worked fantastically as a single overhead on a kit, getting
just the right balance of room and direct sound while
sharpening up the HF very naturally. Similarly, the fig-8
pattern produced some really gutsy sounds when used to
mic up a bass cab, with plenty of definition and attack.
But it’s on vocals where the flexibility of the
microphone becomes apparent. Moving between the
cardioid patterns enables the mic to be quickly and
easily matched to the vocalist, dialling out shrillness
on female vocals with the tighter patterns, or adding
depth and clarity to male vocals in the wider settings.
Whichever setting is used, the microphone takes EQ
very well — you can dial in almost stupid amounts of
HF shelving boost without it starting to sound brittle

M
AREK DESIGN’S RS1 is what I would The second slightly unusual feature of the RS1 or harsh. Yet another variable is how you use the gain
term a ‘boutique’ microphone. I use the becomes apparent when you unpack the control unit. structure of the microphone. Using all the available
term loosely to describe microphones that Given that the pattern selection is performed at the range of the microphone’s own preamp and running
are produced in small numbers, often to exacting microphone itself, this unit should simply provide straight into a line input generally resulted in a sound
standards, and which more often that not have some power to the mysteriously named ‘M tube’ that that was somewhat sharper, almost clinical in some
slightly unusual features or characteristics that make forms the heart of the microphone’s electronics and regards. Attenuating the microphone’s output and using
them stand out from the crowd. The moniker also provides a mic level balanced output. This it does, a Drawmer 1961 preamp took some of the harder edges
usually implies that you tend to pay handsomely for along with a useful 3-stage earth-lift switch. But the off the sound, but seemed to lose some of the attack.
the privilege, and the RS1 certainly satisfies all of additional provision of a level control coupled with a In summary, I really liked this microphone — but
these conditions (Euro5125 + VAT). 15dB attenuator switch on the control unit means that given the flexibility and variables available to the
Supplied in a rather nice solid briefcase, the RS1 further investigation is necessary. user, never really felt that I’d fully got to grips with
is a variable-pattern tube condenser microphone and Internally, the RS1 is an all-tube design, with a the true extent of its abilities. It’s a microphone that
you get the microphone, control unit, shockmount transformerless output that doesn’t rely on any solid- demands a lot of time to learn. For example, I was less
and associated cables packed neatly inside it. It’s not state electronics. Interestingly, the designers have than impressed with the results obtained with it on an
a behemoth, but compact and rather weighty — no opted to allow the amplifier stage of the microphone electric guitar cab — certainly in comparison with a
doubt in part due to the casing being machined out of to do more than simply generate a mic level output, SE Gemini it sounded a little lacklustre. But given its
a solid section of stainless steel. First impressions are instead making it capable of generating signal levels performance on other sources, I’m happy to put this
of supremely high build quality, and this extends to of up to +33dBu. This means that for applications down to not knowing it well enough. It’s not cheap,
the supplied spider type shockmount, whose locking dealing with medium to high SPLs, the microphone but given the flexibility in tonality it’s definitely worth
nut seems to be engineered to Rolls Royce levels of is capable of driving directly into a line level input. considering as an alternative to the interchangeable
smoothness and precision. Because the amplification is all achieved within capsule approach from the likes of Korby and Blue. ■
Squinting through the steel mesh surrounding the the microphone itself (the control unit is simply an
diaphragm assembly gives the first clue that this is attenuator), this has potential benefits with regard
a somewhat unusual design. You see, although a to signal to noise. Of course, if you want to, you PROS Superb build quality; tremendous
flexibility in response and application;
multipattern microphone, the RS1 is a single diaphragm can attenuate the output and use your favourite eliminates the need for a mic pre in
design featuring a 1-inch diameter diaphragm. Rather preamplifier — this just gives you more options. some applications.
than achieving different polar patterns by electrically The RS1 was set up and powered up in preparation
combining the outputs of two diaphragms, the for testing on a range of sources — and a couple of CONS Shockmount a little awkward to position
RS1 achieves this by mechanical manipulation of things are worth pointing out before commenting on sometimes; takes a lot of time to learn;
the diaphragm’s chamber and back plate. This is its sound. The first is that it seems to warm up very frequency response on some of the pick-
up patterns (omni/fig-8) might not be
accomplished by a rotating ring at the base of the quickly compared with some other tube mics, both
terrifically suitable in some applications.
microphone, which has click stops numbered from 1 vintage and new designs. The second is that the
to 6. Position 1 is an omnidirectional pattern, while design of the shockmount, although incredibly well
position 6 is a fig-8 pattern, with a series of gradually engineered, does make placement difficult in some Contact
tightening cardioid patterns in between. It’s impossible situations when odd angles are the order of the day.
to see the mechanical system that performs this task, First impressions on listening to the microphone MAREK DESIGNS, GERMANY:
Website: www.md-mics.com
but it’s certainly easier and less stressful than poking are that the differing patterns have a very significant
HE Studio Technik, Germany: +49 89 84061777
a screwdriver through the mesh and turning a screw! effect on the overall tonality of the microphone, no

30 resolution July/August 2005


review

DK-Technologies MSD100C
Although supplied with a U-shaped mounting
yoke and base-plate for free-standing operation, the
MSD100C can easily be built into a mixing console
meter bridge or other custom furniture. The case is
Often overlooked, underplayed or unappreciated, good metering nevertheless thin (36mm) with a modest border around the screen,
making best use of scarce real estate. Three keys on
has a vital role to play in any system configuration as the window on your the front are the only operational controls and have a
very positive click action. Soft labelled Pre A, B and C,
sound. ROB JAMES settles down and inspects his goniometer.
pressing a key selects one of the three preset set-ups.
On power up this defaults to Pre A. Double-clicking
point, along with the a key takes you to a list of the 11 presets currently
main metering tools, installed in the unit. The list is scrolled with the right-
bargraph PPMs with hand pair of keys and your selection is assigned with
programmable scales, the left-hand key to whichever key was originally
phasemeter, audio double-clicked.
vector oscilloscope and A single 25-pin D-sub connector deals with the
level meter. Although left and right analogue, stereo AES-EBU and power
the asking price may connections. The supplied break-out cable terminates
still seem a little steep in XLR connectors. Power uses a 4-pole version
at UK£1200 (+ VAT), it to avoid any unpleasantness. This is a much more
is worth remembering positive solution than the coaxial power connector
that a standalone fitted to the earlier MSD100 series units. The UK
single mechanical power supply included is an in-line type. Two more
stereo PPM was over D-sub connectors’ deal with VGA for connecting a
UK£900, the last time standard PC-monitor and a utility connection for
I checked. RS232 to a PC and power.
I was brought up DK continues its unbroken run of desirable products
on BBC standard PPMs with the MSD100C. The price premium over the
and I could probably monochrome units is modest and the benefits of
still line up a valve one colour tangible. Accurate metering is not an indulgent
if ever the need arose. purchase but an often overlooked essential. It is
However, times change also a good investment. In the same vein as a high-
and the mechanical class monitoring system and long after this year’s

T
HE NEED FOR ACCURATE and easy on the PPM, no matter how sophisticated the electronics, is whizz-bang workstation is being used as a doorstop,
eye metering should not be underestimated. no longer adequate for many current applications. The the MSD100C will still be a relevant and desirable
Although ears should always be the ultimate general principles still hold good though. An ideal level professional audio tool. ■
decision making tools, we all have to operate within meter will have an extremely fast rise time and a much
technical constraints best judged with the help of a slower fall time, will be simple to interpret, and will
trustworthy meter. The need for this has never been be designed not to cause fatigue when used for many
greater. Production methods are rapidly changing hours at a stretch. The MSD100C ticks all the boxes
PROS Precision metering; excellent operational
ergonomics; very pretty.
with the recognition that the conventional console and adds several extras.
is redundant in many DAW — centric applications. A maximum of four PPM bargraphs are grouped in CONS Configuration applications would benefit
External metering is set to become the next big thing pairs. One pair is sourced from the analogue inputs, from an update; no Sum and Difference
PPM metering; price invites competition.
along with the new breed of controllers combining one from the digital. Strangely, there is no Sum and
monitoring with source and destination routing. This Difference option, with one pair looking at A+B and EXTRAS
is not to say that DAW metering is inadequate, simply one at S&D. For anyone not familiar with this, it is
that it is not in the right place. Metering must be a common UK broadcast option where one meter
instantly visible and instinctive at all times and should measures the sum of the left and right signals (A+B)
be able to look at sources and destination returns in while the other measures the difference between
addition to levels inside the DAW. them (A-B). Providing the difference is lagging the
Danish company, DK-Technologies is well sum by at least 3dB the signal is reasonably mono
positioned to take advantage of the new age. MSD compatible and the left-right signals are ‘in-phase’.
stands for Master Stereo Display and DK’s first model, If the difference consistently leads the sum, then the
the MSD 550, made its debut as recently as 1994. mono compatibility is compromised and the Left and
Somehow it feels as if these meters have been around Right signals are likely to be out of phase. Although
for ages, always a sign of an appropriate and elegant the phasemeter does substantially the same job, and New software for DK’s flagship audio
technology. Today, the DK range of standalone meters the goniometer also conveys the same information in meter, the MSD600M++, is aimed at
runs from simple monochromatic stereo displays, in a different form, there is a considerable body of opinion engineers working with surround sound
the MSD100-series, all the way up to the flagship that prefers the Sum and Difference alternative. trailers and commercials for movie
theatres. The Graphical Leq(m) software
(and costly) MSD600M++ modular multichannel Metering is a very personal thing and ‘standards’
package allows users to mix to the
(up to 32) meter unit with surround sound analyser. vary wildly from country to country. DK recognises
highest score on the Leq(m) loudness
Apart from conventional metering this offers Jelly- this and provides a wide range of scales along with standard. SMPTE timecode input brings
Fish surround sound monitoring, Leq(m) loudness, a PC application, MSD-Config, to upload these to the automated Start/Stop points and gives
spectrum analysis and many other options including MSD100C. This application also allows for limited a direct readout of where the sound
SDI break-out. customisation of other parameters. Colours can be chosen material can be optimised for louder
Until now the entry-level MSD100 series has from a palette of red, blue, green, yellow, fuchsia, aqua trailers/commercials.
only offered relatively low-resolution (320 x 240) and white and various screen parameters can be varied.
monochrome screens. The originals sold in their Scales can be user defined within the DK-Scale section of
thousands and are to be found everywhere from the MSD-Load application, also included. With this, even Contact
education institutions to major broadcast facilities. The LEQ(m) scales can be defined. The applications are not
DK-TECHNOLOGIES, DENMARK:
new MSD100C brings higher resolution (640 x 480) the most user-friendly I’ve ever encountered, but you
Website: www.dk-technologies.com
and a colour display down to a more affordable price won’t be using them very often.

32 resolution July/August 2005


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review

Anthony DeMaria Labs ADL 1500


We’ve said it before; you can’t have too many compressors and variety is the spice of gain reduction. ADL is enjoying
reinvigorated exposure in Europe and GEORGE SHILLING says this box is a tasty, characterful bundle.

A
NTHONY DEMARIA LABS has been hand- Sovtek 12AX7LPS (same as 12AX7A) valves, with a big, and a great mix will sound exceptional.
building compressors for more than 17 years 12BH7A and a 6AQ5A labelled as Penta Laboratories Used on pop or rock lead vocals, the ADL adds
and has built something of a reputation as USA. Overall build quality is excellent, the hand punch, indeed the attack characteristic sometimes has
a boutique supplier to those ‘in the know’ who are wiring is neat and internal layout is uncluttered — it a tendency to make the vocal sound too aggressive
happy to pay a little more for something special. all seems to fit easily into the 2U case. Inputs and when compressed hard. This punchiness works well
DeMaria’s compressors are frequently namechecked outputs are 600ohm connections, so consideration is on real drums, taming the kit in a very appealing
by a number of great and good producers, engineers, needed in matching your source. manner — with medium-fast attack and release,
mixers and artists, particularly Stateside, including Operation could not be simpler. With only two this is not over-dramatic, but just controlling and
Michael Brauer, Joe Chiccarelli and David Frangioni. knobs, you simply set the amount of compression enhancing. And on bass guitar it sounds punchy yet
Now distributed in the UK by KMR, their prices have using the Peak Reduction knob (clockwise is more) smooth, grounding the track perfectly.
come down to a more realistic level. and then correct the output level with the Gain knob. Interestingly, DeMaria is helping develop a product
Anthony is Italian and he compares his art to that Each meter can switch independently between Gain range for Presonus, and judging by the ADL C/L 1500
of the chef, creating something with his hands is, Reduction and Output +4 level; these large clear this could be very interesting. ■
he says, ‘like cooking a great meal for your family meters are an excellent indicator of gain reduction.
and friends’. He built his reputation hand-building The other toggles select stereo linking, which joins
tube gear, copying classic circuits, and soon started the two channels’ gain reduction circuits for a stable
getting calls from big producers like Flood, Neil image, and a Power On/Off switch. The lack of a PROS Big, warm, punchy compression;
simplest possible operation.
Dorfsman and Tchad Blake. His most extraordinary hard-wire bypass — or indeed any bypass switch
product is an expensive recreation of the classic — is mildly frustrating when you want to compare CONS Vulnerable rear-mounted valves;
Fairchild 670 model. compressed and uncompressed programme. crunchier and faster than an LA-2A; fixed
The ADL C/L 1500 (UK£1660 +VAT) is a stereo There is a gradual onset of compression ratio over Attack and Release; no bypass.
version of the mono ADL C/L 1000, the circuitry of a 10dB knee, beyond which the signal is limited fairly EXTRAS
which resembles that of the classic LA-2A. It is not hard. With a fairly fast (but not inaudible) attack, an
claimed anywhere that this is designed as an exact enormous amount of gain reduction can be achieved
clone of the LA-2A, but it uses the same principles, with fairly low distortion, a trick the original LA-2A
and many details are similar, such as the optical cell excels at. However, there is noticeably more graininess
and the lack of power supply regulation. The front to the sound of the ADL 1500, especially under heavy
panel is simple and straightforward, painted plain compression. The LA-2A’s famous two-stage release
light grey with retro bakelite-style knobs. The VU isn’t really evident in the ADL, and overall the release
meters are large and clear, they look modern and are seems much faster. I gather that the 1500 has a
gently lit with a torch bulb behind each one — this faster release character than the mono 1000 model
illumination is the only indication of power. The tiny for it to be more suitable for stereo bus compression.
toggles seem slightly flimsy but work reliably. Most of It is certainly faster than I expect from an optical
the circuitry is encased, but like the LA-2A, the tubes compressor, and this does indeed work extremely well
sit outside on the back. on most programme, even if it sounds quite unlike an
With eight valves present, there is quite some heat LA-2A. The sound is big and harmonically rich — it ADL’s 670 Limited Edition Stereo Valve
generated, so careful consideration will be needed for definitely sounds like a proper big boy’s toy. Compressor follows years of testing
and research and has matched, part for
placement of the unit. DeMaria says he likes to gently On dynamic pop (An oxymoron? Ed), in most
part, the specifications and control of
remind clients to keep things cool so as to improve cases it has the effect of making the track sound like the original Fairchild 670. Featuring 14
the life of the components. These tubes operate at a record — it is sweet and comfortable sounding, transformers and 20 valves it’s housed in
very high voltage — up to 350V. It seems running naturally taming harshness and tightening up the a 6U with a separate 3U valve PSU. Price
at a suitably high voltage always helps the sound bass end. The slightly grainy quality even adds a hint is UK£10,000 (+ VAT).
quality and character of valve gear. With the valves of analogue tape or vinyl record to the proceedings.
exposed on the back, they are somewhat vulnerable You have to be careful with overly-dynamic tracks, as
to damage, especially as the XLR audio connections more than 4 or 5dB peak gain reduction can introduce Contact
for input and output are located in among them audible pumping or make things sound slightly
— you wouldn’t want to be poking around the back of ‘pinched’, depending on the tempo of the track. But ADL, US:
Website: www.anthonydemarialabs.com
a rackmounted unit with an XLR connector in hand. the ADL is good at adding excitement to a track
UK, KMR Audio: +44 208 445 2446
Each channel is equipped with two Russian without squashing its dimensions, the sound remains

34 resolution July/August 2005


review

COOL - THE NEW M4 M4 24 channel model

The awesome new M4 Tube Console is squarely aimed at DAW users


seeking the more traditional, expansive big console sound.
A sound simply not attainable using an ‘all-digital’ set-up.

Available with 16, 24 or 32 input channels, all M4’s feature a genuine TL


Audio valve pre-amp stage, classic equaliser, 4 aux sends and a Track
Direct output. Ideal for high quality track laying and stereo mixdown, the
M4 also provides a tactile and ergonomic control surface.

Prices start at just £3995 plus VAT for the 16 channel version. More
detailed information is available by visiting:

www.tlaudio.co.uk

Designed and
manufactured in England

TELEPHONE
+44 (0)1462 492090 //
EMAIL
info@tlaudio.co.uk // PASSIONATE ABOUT TUBES
review

Apogee Rosetta 200


Sharing many of the innovations introduced in other models in Apogee’s range, the 200 adds twists and
turns all of its own. ROB JAMES test drives a 2-channel, 24-bit/192kHz A-D/D-A convertor.

M
ENTION CONVERTORS IN POLITE current version just has two FireWire 400 sockets, process automatically sets calibration levels of the
company and the name Apogee is bound which keeps things relatively simple. analogue inputs and outputs. A ‘learn’ mode analyses
to crop up. The Santa Monica based firm Driver and software installation is not the simplest I’ve the input level, looking for the highest peak detected
has built an enviable reputation for designing above encountered but, meticulously following the instructions, on the analogue inputs. This level is used to adjust the
average conversion solutions at a price that, although it it worked first time. Using the X-FireWire card gives the gain such that the highest peak results in a level of
could never be described as low, is well below the more added bonus of MIDI I-O so just add a monitor controller -5dBfs at the digital outputs. To maintain unity gain
esoteric high-end stuff. A recent addition to the family and mic preamps and you have a complete solution for the analogue input and output levels are adjusted
is the Rosetta 200. A close relative of the Rosetta 800 stereo recording with a PC or Mac. reciprocally. A trim mode allows the automatic
(Resolution V3.3 — see this for Rob’s expository Apogee supplies a small applet, FireMix, which calibration value to be adjusted in 0.1dB steps.
discourse on the Rosetta stone. Ed) and AD/DA 16X sits between the DAW application and the Rosetta. Apogee consolidates its range with the Rosetta
units (Resolution V3.6), not to mention the Big Ben For the 200, FireMix allows low latency mixing and 200. It introduces a couple of useful innovations to
master clock (Resolution V2.6), the Rosetta 200 has a monitoring in the native environment with accurate the solid, high quality conversion formula, SRC and
new trick or two up its 1U sleeve. It is the first Apogee metering. the Aptomizer, which will no doubt find their way
device to feature sample rate conversion and a suite As with its sibling Rosetta 800 the front panel into future products if the user reaction is favourable.
of three ‘finishing’ processes dubbed ‘CODA’. Like controls appear deceptively simple, however, I still Meanwhile, the user interface remains a little quirky
the other X range products it also accepts a range of found myself reaching for the manual sooner than but the sound makes up for it. Apogee deservedly
interface cards including the eagerly awaited FireWire I would have wished. Pressing and holding buttons belongs in the short list of names to consider when
interface that I had for this review. gives access to another layer of settings and other looking for convertor solutions and the Rosetta 200
Physically the Rosetta 200 follows Apogee ‘house keys then modify some parameters. Like the Big dots another i and crosses another t. ■
style’ in looks, operation and sound and the unit Ben and Rosetta 800 this unit has a programmable
also makes use of Apogee’s two stage ‘Intelliclock’ power switch (via an internal jumper) that can work
technology (as employed in the Big Ben clock unit) as normal — when power is applied the unit must PROS For stereo it may be the only interface
you will need; modularity adds to
to minimise jitter. Intelliclock is really two clocks be switched on via the front panel switch — or set versatility; silent.
in one. A rapid response, but range tolerant, ‘read’ to wake up powered on but with the switch still
clock, loads a FIFO buffer, while an ultra-low-jitter operational. CONS User interface somewhat impenetrable
‘write’ clock schedules the clock ‘ticks’ out of the Four 12-segment LED bargraph meters look at the without resorting to the manual.
buffer to synchronise the convertors. Two LEDs, digital level of the current digital and analogue source EXTRAS Option cards — The X-Digi-Mix card
amusingly arranged as an exclamation mark indicate selections. They are calibrated from -50dB to OUCH interfaces directly with Pro Tools Mix
the presence and quality of lock. If the red dot is lit — 0dBfs or higher. In calibration mode the scale is Core or Farm cards and also provides
you’re safe, but if only the green stroke is lit it’s time zoomed-in to a range of -20 to -10dBfs. Each single a Superclock (FSx256) output.
to start investigating the cause. LED only lights when the level is within 0.1dB of the
Apogee house style means a pretty neutral sound specified level enabling precise adjustment. The X-HD option card allows
direct connectivity between
but with an emphasis on maximising levels with the The CODA finishing module comprises three
Pro Tools|HD systems and the
characteristic proprietary Soft Limit on the analogue processes. UV22HR dither is already familiar and X series units. The X-FireWire
inputs and UV22HR bit reduction before the outputs, considered de rigeur by many, but SRC (Sample Rate Card enables direct connection
if you want to invoke them. Conversion) is new to Apogee with the Rosetta 200, to any FireWire-equipped
The basic unit is a reasonable UK£1395 (+ VAT) as is the Aptomizer. The company claims this is the computer. Two FireWire 400
and provides analogue, Toslink and coaxial SPDIF first time it has been happy enough with the quality sockets allow further X-Series units
plus AES-EBU I-O as standard. There is also Word of SRC to include it in a product. In the absence of to be daisy-chained from a single
clock I-O with switchable termination and MIDI I-O for a major objective trial I can report that the Apogee PC or Mac connection.
updating the firmware or, when used with the optional solution is as transparent as any other real-time
X-FireWire card (UK£295 + VAT), as a MIDI interface convertor I’ve auditioned.
for the connected workstation. When I looked at the SRC is available on any one digital source to Contact
Rosetta 800 early last year, the X-FireWire interface analogue and digital outputs. A future firmware
was not available but I noted that it had the potential upgrade will add an automatic SRC option where APOGEE ELECTRONICS, US:
Website: www.apogeeelectronics.com
to significantly raise the game. Early versions of the sample rate conversion will be applied to the selected
UK, Sonic Distribution: +44 1525 840400
card had FireWire 800 and 400 connections. The digital input only when required. The Aptomizer

36 resolution July/August 2005


Gary Langan
McCartney, Michael Jackson, and more recently James,
Lisa Stansfield, and the new Magic Roundabout film
soundtrack. When Resolution tracked him down
he was two days from completing a marathon six
As controversial and busy as ever, Gary Langan has combined business ventures with long months’remixing Jeff Wayne’s epic 1970s project War
Of The Worlds at the composer’s Pro Tools/Pro Control
hours behind the desk and embraced new technologies as a matter of course. GEORGE studio, which Gary commuted to, covering 11,000
miles and requiring a new gearbox for his Jaguar.
SHILLING catches up with him during his multichannel War of Worlds remix sessions and
Following this, Gary is completing a Spandau Ballet
talks to him about the centre channel, assistants, compression and things moving on. DVD soundtrack mix.
(Photos by www.recordproduction.com)

B
EFORE HITTING HIS TEENS, Gary Langan engineering hit albums by Spandau Ballet, Buggles, What condition were the War Of
was taken to studio sessions at the BBC and Malcolm McLaren and Yes. Gary took some drum The Worlds multitracks in?
IBC by his session musician father. He hated outtakes from Yes’s 90125 sessions and turned them It was one of the first 48-track albums. We took all 70
piano lessons but loved the studio environment. into Cantata For VW Starter using the new Fairlight multitracks that were synced up with MagLink. We
Later, when his father bumped into the owners CMI. Although he professed to having no ambitions scoured the country for a MagLink and couldn’t find
of SARM (Gary Lyons and Barry Ainsworth) at a towards performance, he and his colleagues founded one that was working. None of the multitracks were
Gary Glitter party, it just so happened they were The Art Of Noise. The re-titled ‘Cantata’ became labelled properly, so we never knew what were the
looking for a new recruit. Gary tape-opped for Gary Close To The Edit, their first hit. true masters, what were copy masters (because tape
Lyons and Mike Stone, and worked on several Following this he was involved in the founding of was shedding and they needed to make copies), what
legendary Queen albums. He stayed at SARM into the remarkable Metropolis Studios complex in West were slaves, what were tapes that they made up to try
the 1980s, frequently working with Trevor Horn and London and he continued to produce and mix Paul things. So we ended up with 70 multitracks [reels of

38 resolution July/August 2005


craft

2-inch tape] that took three months to sort out. That and other core instruments that you’re going to take of Richard Burton’s narration and reverb returns are
was all put into Pro Tools at 96k, 24-bit; that took with you, because they’re in the phantom centre. fed there so that you can’t lift off Richard’s voice and
three months. It was the sort of project that I couldn’t When you move to the left of a stereo mix, you have it clean, there is always some other cloudiness
have mixed on a steam-driven console, I couldn’t still get bass, drums and everything, nothing really going on around it, just to safeguard it. What I do find
have gone back to a J Series, I needed something like changes. You might get a bit more of the tambourine is if you go into somebody’s house, they don’t know
Pro Tools because of the environment to deal with it. because it’s been panned over to that side. So it how to set up 5.1, and the centre speaker is invariably
They did want us to do it at 192, but there’s hardly doesn’t bother me when people don’t have their room out of balance. It’s usually far too loud because the
any plug-ins at 192. We argued with Sony that for an set up correctly. The other thing is, I don’t use the narration on a movie is on the centre speaker, and they
SACD, I can’t tell the difference between 96 and 192 centre speaker. have control over that so they can crank it up. Now if
to be honest. And I was saying things like, well, how I’m using the centre speaker and I’ve put vocals on it,
well do you want me to sample tape noise? Because Quadraphonic? then what’s the point in me spending two days on a
that’s what you’re going to be hearing if you’re If I’m being honest, it’s 4.1 that I really enjoy. track and getting everything delicately balanced when
talking about that sort of analysis, plus the fact that somebody can just have it out of whack and not realise
at 96k I got good plug-in support, although there are You don’t put anything in the centre speaker? it, and listen to a poor rendition of my work? So I rule
still some great plug-ins that haven’t been rewritten Very little, in War Of The Worlds there’s a small amount out use of the centre speaker.
for 96k, like the GRM stuff. Somebody needs to spank
them, because it’s great stuff, all the Doppler stuff
— it’s amazing, but I can’t use it at 96k. We did on a
couple of them, and it’s given me so many problems.

So you mixed within Pro Tools?


Yes.

I’ve noticed the Pro Control works less well


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with the latest PT software (since the Icon)…
It’s caught me out a few times. If you Undo while �����������������
you’re moving then it undoes the last move, but if
you stop it undoes the whole track, and you’ve got
to stop yourself from hitting Undo! There are a few
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things that Digi haven’t got right about automation in
terms of making music. And I always thought it was
a real shame that SSL and Digidesign didn’t somehow
get themselves into bed together. Because if you think
about what you could have come out with, with the
ergonomics that SSL understood.

Any problems with the sound of the mix bus?


No. What you miss from mixing entirely in that
environment is crosstalk. That’s what I missed, the
interaction from one channel and a whole busing
matrix of something like an SSL or a Neve or a console
designed in that manner. What you’ve got to remember
in the DigiDesign world, everything is 100 percent
discrete so nothing interacts with anything else.

Until it gets to the mix bus…


Well even then it sort of doesn’t.

So this was a surround mix?


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No, it didn’t work. I could use a lot of the EQ and a
lot of the work on restoring the sounds. Some of the
things sounded like they’d been recorded yesterday,
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40-piece string section recorded 30 years ago sounds ������������������������������������������������������������������
like a 40-piece string section recorded yesterday.
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But things like vocals, some of the electric guitar,
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percussion, drums, they needed quite a bit of help.
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Do you worry about the consumer’s �����������������������
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ability to position the speakers? ���������������������������
No, because I don’t mix with any bias front-to-back. I �������������������
have this theory that when you mix stereo, you don’t
mix with a left or right bias, it has what we know as a
phantom centre. So all your core instruments or parts
of the arrangement, I make them sit in the phantom �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������
centre of 5.1. So it doesn’t matter where you’re sitting, ���������������������������������������������������������������
because I’m giving you bass, drums and core guitars

July/August 2005 resolution 39


craft

Do you use analogue inserts?


Yes, as much as I extol all the plug-ins, I would say
there’s a sort of top-end harmonic distortion that I’m
used to as a mix engineer that I can’t get from the
wonderful cleanliness of Pro Tools. So at Jeff’s studio
I’ve been using a large rack of Amek EQs, dbx 160
compressors, Urei 1176s, Aengus graphic EQs. I’ll
just run stuff through them and just put on some
amount of top end, and I know it’s sort of distorting,
but it’s a harmonic distortion that I know works
within a record environment, but it’s something I can’t
get out of the digital domain. So it hasn’t entirely been
mixed within Pro Tools.

How do you think Pro Tools will develop?


I would think I’ll be using that sort of environment,
but I hope it would go in a circle and come back to a
control surface like the new Icon, because I’m a great
believer that I’m capable of doing more than one
thing at once. The way that I mix has been standing
at the console and being able to move around and
do lots of things at once, put a bit of EQ on here, a
bit of echo over there, and nobody’s asking me any
questions. But at the moment, I’m being interrogated
by the software all the time; ‘Right, Gary, what do you Effects come down to a delay, reverberation, EQ, and What are they doing wrong?
want to do now?’ ‘Well, Computer, I’d like to do some that’s about it really. Everything else is just those put They don’t use them enough, and they don’t
EQing.’ ‘OK, let’s go and do some EQing.’I know I’m together in different ways, phasing is nothing more make them work hard enough, because they’re
being childish about it, but that’s how it is, I can’t do than mucking about with delay. scared of them, and somebody’s going ‘That
three or four things at once. sounds over-compressed’. Boy, I can show you
So I’d like it to come back to a control facility that What about compression? hundreds of things that are over-compressed
isn’t all stacked away and hidden in layers, it’s all there Hmm, this is having a pop at the younger fraternity, that you’ll say sound fantastic. And I’ll say,
in front of me. The editing facilities that I get in Pro Tools and it’s not really their fault, but I don’t think the the reason why it sounds like that is because
are fantastic, being able to move things around, and all younger fraternity of engineers are shown how to use it is over-compressed, or it’s somebody pushing
the plug-ins — some of those are truly astonishing. a compressor and limiter correctly. something to the limit.
Universal Audio Half Page 29/6/05 9:30 AM Page 1

40 resolution July/August 2005


craft

So you compress to tape? the right mood, we’re not performing right, like an
Yes, but only because I’m confident in knowing what athlete. You have peaks and troughs, and I think a
I’m doing, because I was given one-to-one tuition. skill of mine is knowing when that person is going
There are some great courses out there, but even so, to peak. I like to think, egotistically, that when we’re
they’re still lacking this hands-on ‘Look, this is how doing vocals, I know that this take, before they’ve
you do it, watch me, listen to this, let’s use our ears even started, is going to be a great take. And I’ve said
here.’ It’s too easy to go for a plug-in and sort things that to assistants, now, right, attention! You stuff up
out. Where I was taught, when you record something on this one, and I am going to kill you! Because this
you sort out the problem at the start of the recording guy’s going to sing it brilliantly this time. And they
chain. If we’re recording acoustic instruments, let’s look look at me and go, well how do you know that? And
at where it is in the room, the microphones we’re going I say, I just know. And all I can tell you is it’s years
to use, and then look at how we’re going to deal with of experience. I have had a few assistants go through
that sound when it comes into the console. But it’s far my fingers that have gone on to do fine things, which
too easy sometimes just to go to a plug-in — Mic Mod, I think is a testimony to me! If the assistant’s great,
Amp Farm — it’s much more fun to get the real thing we can only be great, but if the assistant’s not good,
working from ground zero. And it will sound bigger. If then we’re all going down! ■
anything, I think some records sound small these days,
but I have to be careful not to be harping on about ‘that
was then, and this is now, how great it was then’, I’m
not, because I’m a great believer in things moving on.
���������������
������������������
How do you cope with the myriad
choices now available?
It’s because I’m old school, I know what I want, and I
know what it’s going to do. And I know that there are
only certain tasks that you can perform with a plug-
in, and I have my favourites, and so I tend to stick
to those. Just as, before all this came along, I had my
favourite consoles, and that would have been an SSL
E Series. When that came along, that was innovation
for me. Up until that point, I worked on a Trident B-
range and then a TSM, in the background of all that
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being constructed, SSL were working in Oxford on


this console where the ergonomics were just superior
to what anyone else had come up with. And to have
dynamics in the signal path, and great sounding
dynamics, was fantastic. The amount of aux sends,
and now I could have a button to switch them on and
off, because up until then it was just a rotary pot, and
sometimes they wouldn’t shut all the way off, and
now I could switch echo on!

What’s your best trick?


My magic trick is being able to make a console sing.
If I have a sixth sense, it’s how this works, and how
�����������������������������
this works with music. And there’s something inside �����������������������������
me that really connects with those two elements, and I ���������������������������������
can really bring them together. I also understand how ��������������������������
���������������������������������
a band works, and I really, really enjoy working with
�������������������������������
bands. And I don’t like being ‘The Producer’. I like ������������������������������
being another member of the band, that’s what I really �����������
���������������������������
enjoy, and I think that’s one of my greatest skills. ����������������������� ���������������
������������������������������
In terms of recording, I think there are very few ���� ������������� ��� ������������� ����� ��� ������ ���������
people that come close to me in terms of being able ����������� �������� ��� ����� ��� ��� �������� ������������ �����
����� ���� ��������� �������� �������� ��� ���� ��������� ��������� ���������������������������������������
to record instruments, but again it goes back to me �������������� ��� ����������� ��� �������� ������� ���� ����������� ����������������������������������������
being taught one-to-one and it being really hands-on ����� ������� ����� ��� �������� ����� �������� ������ ���� ����� ������������������������������������������
and being a craft. It’s about crafting a record, that’s ����������������������������������������������������������� �������������������������������������
�������� ���� ����������� �������������� �������� ��� ������ ������� � ���������������������������������������
what I was taught. It’s something that assistants don’t
get today because they probably won’t get to see the
project through from start to finish. And I think it’s
a real shame, because I think you’re really missing
out there. They don’t get the satisfaction of starting
with nothing, when the band turns up, even with a
bunch of demos in this world, we’ve still got to go into
that world and start recording things, it can’t all be
generated in computer world, it’s not possible. You’ve ��������� ����������� ����������
still got to have somebody perform the song for you, ���������������������� ���������������������� �����������������������
they’ve got to sing for you.
How to get the best out of people, how to recognise ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������
when there’s no point in continuing any further �����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������

today, and it would be far more expedient just to


stop, have dinner, go home, because we’re not in
UK-Install-Resol.indd 1 27/6/05 1:40:04 pm
July/August 2005 resolution 41
craft

How do you tie it all together?


Five years ago we spent quite a bit of money on a
Fibre-channel network for the Macs. Someone can
finish tracklaying at lunchtime with maybe 15 to 20Gb
of data. I can reassign the drive and be working on
it five minutes later in Studio 1. At the same time we
devised a ‘digitising station’ for video in the machine
room. Now that we’ve gone over to DV video, an
hour-long drama video file is like 13Gb and only takes
about six minutes to transfer over Fibre-channel to
the same local machine that’s running the Pro Tools.
We’ve been using 40 and 50-inch back projected LCD
TVs and they’ve been very good. The problem is all
the plasma and LCD screens have lag. I think this
is an area of major concern in audio postproduction
that we shouldn’t have to accept in this day and age.
People say, well that’s alright, just put a delay in your
monitoring, but that’s something I really don’t want to
do. When you’re laying back to Digi-Beta with a client
in the room it just isn’t satisfactory.

Where does the Icon fit in?


We’d had a ProControl running for six years and
we’d seen what that was capable of and we’d been
longing for something more professional and it finally
came along. I felt almost obliged to buy an Icon
— it’s such a logical step. The people who are sub-30
here, all they want to know is Pro Tools and mixing
on Pro Tools. The concept of having a multichannel
workstation, piping it out and mixing it on an actual
desk is not something they relate to. We had ten years
out of the OmniMix and the return on investment was

Simon Jones
just fantastic. In January we decided to pull it out even
though it was still working perfectly and still earning
its rate every day. We’d been in this building seven
and a half years and needed to do something. It’s
good for staff morale to have something new.
He’s representative of the dashing and inspired breed of postproduction entrepreneurs
Soundworks must have spent probably
and also one of the first power users of Digidesign’s Icon. ROB JAMES quizzes him on UK£600,000 on mixing desks in its 14-year history
so it was a no-brainer that we were going to have an
alternative approaches, efficiency and the upgrade cycle. Icon at 40-50 thousand.

You bought from Scrub, they’re

S
IMON JONES IS AN INNOVATOR with a Why did you move away from Dawn? a long way from Cardiff.
strong respect for traditional craft values. After It used VCAs for fading and you could hear them. You can count audio suppliers who know what
work experience in the dubbing theatres at HTV Coming from a film background I just thought ‘so they are talking about on one hand. Why Scrub?
he left school aged 16 and joined the Cardiff facilities what?’, the dubbing mixer’s supposed to do the fades Well, a long-standing relationship with Ben (Nemes).
company Eco. After five years there he did a year’s anyway. But the music people didn’t like it so we started Stephen Paine sold me the Dawn systems and later
stint in London and then freelanced. to look at Pro Tools. When we first saw it around 1992 designed our Fibre-channel network for us. He’s a
Looking at the scene, the transition to Beta SP and Pro Tools was a very weird system. It did the job but very clever guy. Anyway, he brought Ben in to Tyrell
single camera video, he identified a gaping hole in the SMPTE, as they call it, was very much an afterthought and we followed him to Scrub. He really looks after
Cardiff post market. In 1991, still only 24, he decided and it took about 20 seconds to lock up to Umatic, so we his customers.
to open his own facility, Soundworks, on the promise had to wait another couple of years. It was really when
of two hours guaranteed work a week. Soundworks TDM came out that it captured our attention. Around How do you prefer to mix these days?
began with a Soundcraft Delta, Fostex G16, Fostex the same time we were becoming really frustrated with Do you know, I cannot make up my mind, I cannot
D20 and Highband Umatic. He very quickly realised he another suite. It was good but, with a console from one decide. A couple of weeks ago I did two long days on
needed a hard disk editor and made a big investment manufacturer, synchronisers from another and recorder the Icon on a really intense load of drama inserts, a
in a Doremi Dawn system. Dawn was ahead of its from another, I found I was using 60 percent of my real ‘deep-end’ Icon training course for me. ‘Am I in
time with features like a vertically scrolling timeline, brainpower worrying about what the equipment was the right automation mode here?’ and, ‘If I do that
film dubbing chart style. The workload grew to the doing rather than what I was mixing. I saw the SSL will I overwrite all the automation I’ve already written
point where Simon was regularly doing 20-hour days, OmniMix and thought, ‘Hmmm that’s very interesting’. down the end?’ It’s definitely a case of sitting there
sleeping in the studio and his wife used to come in Integrated video, incredibly tightly locked automation staring at it and thinking, ‘what the hell am I looking
and wake him up with a bacon sandwich. Expansion that you could scroll wheel backwards/forwards in at here?’ The beauty of it is that basically, underneath
was inevitable and rapid. slow motion, with VisionTrack following and four serial it’s just Pro Tools, just like with ProControl.
Today, now situated in the glitzy Cardiff Bay area, machine control ports with a brilliant offsets page. It was
Soundworks is a thriving facility with three mix a total studio solution. ScreenSound came with it but Does Icon change your working practices?
rooms, a bunch of preparation rooms, its own cool bar, we quickly realised that was a major step backwards Not drastically, the key to successful, professional audio
the City Canteen, and big plans for the future. Studio compared with the Mac- based stuff so we just decided postproduction is applying traditional tried and tested
1 is a Dolby approved room with an 80-channel SSL to pump a Pro Tools through it. Over the years, we’ve techniques. You hear about all these companies trying
Axiom. Studio 2 has a 16-fader Digidesign Icon and just watched Pro Tools develop and I have to say that to create the ‘paradigm shift’ and ‘think outside the
Studio 3 a 16-fader Digidesign ProControl, all with Pro things like the ability to zoom in and draw out a click box’. I don’t want to really, the tried and tested way is
Tools HD systems. still impresses the pants off a client. good. Young people, when they come here and start

42 resolution July/August 2005


craft

tracklaying drama stuff, nothing’s changed — it’s still mixing desk can you use to browse the web? I’m sure
the same old crap they would have produced 25 years they are already thinking, ‘we should have done that
ago. You know, there’s a door open on FX2 at timecode differently or we should have done that better.’
two minutes for someone entering the room. So, you’re Consoles are one of the few things the UK really does
on that channel and you add a little bit of reverb and well. There are a few good American ones but nothing
there’s nothing else on track two throughout the rest can touch the UK really. Digi has done a reasonably
of the scene until at the end, the door closes and it’s good job but I didn’t drop to my knees when I walked
on track four. I mean, why? We always have a highly in the room and saw the Icon in the flesh for the first
structured track layout for dramas and they think, time like I did when I first saw the OmniMix.
‘Why do you need that with automation now?’ Well, So which is quicker? Well, the Icon we have in
because, unless you want to fry your brain? Studio 2 now has 16 faders plus one in the centre
If they want reverb on something, rather than section. I’m working on an eight-year-old Axiom here
thinking, well it’s OK because I’ve already got an and I’m loving it. On the Axiom I’ve got 41 faders
aux set up for reverb with a D-Verb on it I can share, with 24 channels in front of me at any one time.
they just whack a D-Verb straight onto that track and Given a slightly bigger spend on the Icon, like the
automate it. You can do it that way and maybe I’m other one we’re talking about having now with 32
being long-in-the-tooth by saying do it the other way, faders, who knows?
but if you’re truly going to look slick in a dubbing If I’m mixing a drama, there’s no way I want to
theatre with the clients you won’t be working that hard premix anything. I want everything to be run
way. You will have set it all up before hand and you’ll live with as many of the premixed original sources on keeping your original investment worth something
have a heavily honed template that allows you to do dedicated faders as possible so I can just zoom down over the years.
anything at the drop of a hat. But, of course, we’ve the desk and home in on that channel and change the
all got to learn. EQ or whatever. There is no way I want to go back to What are you planning for the future?
paging through, banking channels and stuff. I think Cardiff has plenty of small, windowless dubbing suites
Has Digidesign caught up with this yet? working on multilayer, 8-fader desks is missing the and Pro Tools on an office desk is the current trend so
They’ll come down and set the Icon up and point. Plus I think big desks look cool as well! we want to do the opposite. We have a large space
commission it for you but, you load the software onto on the floor below and I want it to be like a crossover
your machine and boot it up and there are no tracks What do you think of the rapid studio. 5.1, excellent projection and picture facilities,
there. Nothing, no auxes, no audio tracks, no inputs Pro Tools upgrade cycle? but very music orientated as well with a large recording
and outputs. Out of the box you’ve got to design your It’s absolutely the right way to do it. To put it all in space, a beautiful recording space. I’d love to have a
whole mixing desk. There aren’t even any templates. perspective, the Digidesign stuff costs, in relative terms, big grand piano permanently set up in there. This is a
I think maybe the one thing Digidesign are not not a lot. The fact that there is an upgrade path is the lovely building, a 1900’s bank with very high ceilings.
capitalising on with this pretty fantastic new product important bit. We’ve got systems here we’ve upgraded The mixing desk will be facing this big chimneybreast
they’ve got, is that they haven’t got people like you, from Pro Tools 3. The worst thing psychologically is to and we’re knocking the walls out either side through
Rob, and me, going around. have to de-commission something and throw it in a to what will be the recording space with floor to ceiling
skip. We bought the Axiom eight years ago. 18 months glass that disappears into the floor.
Some think a conventional console into owning it we realised it was fixed at 16-bit. When I had a call from the BBC a year ago, ‘Can you
will always be quicker? we bought it, it wasn’t a problem, not an issue. We called record a voice and grand piano?’ Er, no. ‘We can’t find
Well, I tend to agree, but Digidesign’s argument would SSL and asked, is this fixed at 16-bit? ‘Yes, yes it is.’ Is anywhere in Cardiff to do it’. It’s ridiculous, so that’s
be that the Icon is direct access. Look at all those there an upgrade? ‘No, it’s called Axiom MT’. So, can what I set out to do, a space big enough for small
knobs. Look at those dedicated EQs. I’m looking at we upgrade ours? ‘No, not really, the back-planes are all orchestras, choirs, whatever.
the SSL and its pans, colour-coded EQ section and different, blah, blah, no.’ So you’re talking about part-ex We started talking to Guy Wilson at AKA and John
dedicated aux above that. When you look at the Icon with an MT being maybe £300k and they’ll give you Flynn of Acoustics Design Group last summer. I’ve
you just have a grid of, I don’t know, 64 controllers. maybe £80k for your 18-month old Axiom. just received the final plans and it’s about ready to go
You can make the Icon look like a traditional mixing People have got all the wrong perspective on the to tender now. For once I didn’t want to build a studio
desk if that’s what you want, but they’ve offering you Digidesign upgrade thing. You don’t have to upgrade. that had to be finished by a certain date, I just want
a number of new ways of thinking really. What other What you’re being offered is the opportunity of to let it go at its own pace. ■

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July/August 2005 resolution 43


craft

Would you ever revert to working on tape?


Why?

Sonic reasons, decision-making reasons…?


I don’t think so, no.

You have a good collection of analogue


toys, how much are they employed?
It still gets used, it’s stuff that I’ve accumulated over
many years and carried with me from studio to studio.
I like having it, my clients seem to like seeing and
hearing a nice stack of analogue outboard, and I’m so
familiar with it, it’s very fast for me to get the sound I
want from it. Having 24 I-O it’s permanently available,
I can just drop it in on the track as a hardware insert, I
don’t even have to pick up a patchcord.

Do you have any issues with the sound


of the internal Pro Tools mix bus?
I think it sounds great, I really do. Mixing the
Mediaeval Baebes in particular, I couldn’t believe the
clarity and space I was hearing. I think if we’d mixed
that through an analogue board it would not sound so
crystal clear, I really believe the voices would sound
compromised.

Bob Kraushaar
For monitoring you have Mackie HR824s
and NS-10s, what are the others?
The ones in between I have had for many years, they
are Dynaudio PPM2s, and as with all good sounding
speakers, they are discontinued!
His credit list goes back to the heady days of ZTT and SARM and his
contribution has topped charts and established artists. A mixer by preference, These are all relatively small speakers, do
you not miss having an enormous pair of
Bob Kraushaar takes GEORGE SHILLING through the single day mix, studio monitors?
the benefits of having your own place and not faffing around. Not at all. It got to the stage where I was going
into traditional studios with large boards and the
big monitors wouldn’t be on all day. They can be

B
OB KRAUSHAAR’S FIRST INDUSTRY When did you start using Pro Tools? so variable, even when you think you know the
appointment was as Trevor Horn’s runner. I resisted it for quite some time, but I was working room, maybe they slip, or someone adjusts them for
He graduated to a proper tape-opping job at at the Strongroom as a freelancer quite a lot, and someone else, or a unit gets replaced — they’re not
Marcus Studios but headed back to SARM when they they were very aggressive about getting involved constant. And I would find that I get more bottom end
expanded and equipped with SSLs — mixing was in Pro Tools. They had their own rigs, and they from the Dynaudios than many large monitors.
what he craved, and there were plenty of opportunities were well-maintained, and they would work so
at SARM, especially when the associated ZTT label there was no concern about wasting time waiting And they extend deeply enough?
was outputting 12-inch singles requiring B-sides for a sub-standard rig to get set up. But what really The Mackies do, they are amazing. It took a little while, but
and alternative versions. His first chart success came got me involved with it was when I was working I’m on them most of the time, I love listening to them.
with Johnny Hates Jazz and he was soon known on an artist that the Strongroom had signed to a
as a mixing specialist having made his mark with production deal called Alex Valentine. He had some You have a few gadgets, I notice your
ZTT artists such as Propaganda, Frankie Goes To great demos recorded on 16-track that had been trackball has four buttons…
Hollywood and Art Of Noise. He went on to work with done totally free, not to a click, and we wanted I use three out of the four! They are assigned so one
Paul McCartney, Erasure and perhaps his most regular to overdub, add loops, tighten it up, and the only is a single click, one is a double-click, and one is
client, the Pet Shop Boys. More recently he has set up way I could see getting it to work was doing it Option-click, which on Pro Tools will delete a node on
his own Pro Tools HD equipped mixing studio in West in Pro Tools. So the Strongroom put us in one of the volume graph.
London, housed in a building owned by the Goldust their Pro Tools suites, we loaded Alex’s stuff in
Productions team who have three studios, with pop and I got stuck in. I learnt on the job, there was And you have a Big Knob and a Command|8,
act Liberty X also occupying a writing room there. no client breathing down my neck, and I thought presumably that gets used for fader rides…
As well as recently mixing an album for Mediaeval we were able to do quite amazing things to his It does, not as much as I thought it might — only the
Baebes, Kraushaar has used his room to mix some demos — I was shocked. Although we mixed on faders get used on it, and the Record button, but it’s
Magic Roundabout soundtrack material, a new Liberty the Neve, when we got into the Neve room I was nice to have a fader — shut your eyes, listen, and
X single (featuring Run DMC) and a single and album very impressed by how it sounded. EQing I’d done move the fader.
tracks for the first solo album by Erasure’s Andy Bell. in Pro Tools was really worthwhile having done. So
(photos by www.recordproduction.com) I thought, there’s something to this! How do you cope with the myriad options
available in Pro Tools?
Presumably SSLs were a big part of your Presumably you have taught yourself new Well you’ve still got the same objective, to get the best
learning and success? skills using Pro Tools? out of the song, get the best out of the mix, but you’re
Oh yeah, massive… Yes that’s what happens when you progress along a not limited by only having a certain amount of outboard,
career path, there are less and less people to watch, or a certain number of channels, so it’s wonderful.
But here there’s not even a console in your so just messing around with it and wondering, I want
room. What happened? to do this, so how can I do it? And nine times out of You’re not distracted by the details?
Well, Pro Tools finally came of age. It’s stable, it’s easy ten, you can, and it’s pretty easy. It’s just been a real No. For years I’ve been mixing in studios, and quite
to use, and above all, it sounds good. eye-opener. often it’s a day as that’s all people are able to afford,

44 resolution July/August 2005


craft

Do you value a second opinion?


I think it’s absolutely essential that someone turns
up. It’s unlikely I can guess exactly what they want
from a track. When people turn up we make a few
small changes and they’re happy to do that. It saves
coming back to recall it, and I think it’s important
to get it signed off in the studio, that someone in
a position of authority comes and says, ‘Yes, that’s
good, it’s finished’.

Do you use mix bus processing?


Oh yeah. I’ve become very fond of the Waves C1
Compressor, which I think is a remarkable piece of
software — it’s so versatile, it sounds great, I love it.
So a bit of gentle compression from that, and follow it
up with a bit of Sony Oxford EQ, or the Massenburg,
and then maybe a tiny touch of limiting from the
Waves L1.

What do you use for reverb?


I’m glad you asked that, I’m using Digidesign’s
ReVibe which I think is absolutely breathtaking, it
sounds gorgeous. It’s a modelling reverb and it’s very
malleable, shapeable, adjustable. Loads of depth. It’s
all over the Baebes album, heaps of it. I still have my
Ursa Major Space Station, which is unbeatable. The
so you’ve got to be pretty objective, crack on, and be Roland Dimensional Space reverb is another great
very disciplined about it. The last thing I want to do is sounding unit.
faff around. I’m not saying I rule out experimentation,
but I’ve seen people lose themselves in too many Do you use its RSS 3D phasey programs?
options, and I generally have a pretty clear objective Yeah I do sometimes, it’s nice. And from the
about where I want the mix to go. same era a chorus box [SDX330 Dimensional
Expander], it’s got a Dimension D emulation and
Do you A/B with other things you’ve done? some lovely choruses, it’s got the Boss CE-1 pedal
Constantly. I quite often have the rough mix running emulations. I was very pleased to come across
on a couple of tracks, to make sure I haven’t missed the MXR Flanger/Doubler, and the Marshall Time
any of that rough mix magic, which exists in every Modulator is a personal favourite, but these don’t
rough mix. You get a lot of information from a rough come out very often because it’s so easy to get a
mix, no matter how ropey it sounds. Or I listen to weird effect with a plug-in. I’ve got Sound Toys
DATs or CDs. PhaseMistress and that series. I love Mondo Mod,
and SciFi and LoFi.
How do you cope with complex session
multitracks? How do you set up a mix?
So far, people have been pretty organised about it, I I get a balance fairly quickly then turn it all off and
think people realise now they have to be. It’s more work with the rhythm section and the vocal, and
often the case that things are missing. Why can’t I then add things in. I have the vocal in at an early
hear this? I haven’t got it! Why not? Sure enough, it stage as it helps me to learn the song. When you
was never on the original CD. think about it, going into a commercial studio for
a day to mix a track that you’ve never heard the
Do you mix back into Pro Tools? components of before — you’ve probably heard a
I use Bounce To Disk, and put it simultaneously down to rough mix and you’ve got 60 outputs, but none of
DAT — it’s a convenient, fairly reliable medium. There them have been assigned in the Pro Tools Session
was a case on the Medieval Baebes where one track because they’ve been working on it with one stereo
wanted to be vari-sped, and the mastering engineer bus. So you have to figure out all the parts, assign
preferred DAT over any other system for vari-speeding. them all, then start mixing. It’s already after lunch,
and a very good part of the day is gone. And that
Do you ever vari-speed your multitracks? is starting to be a real hindrance to the quality of
I don’t, because I haven’t got a sync box. It was an the mixing. I feel it should be quite spontaneous
issue once, but we just decided we’d do it later. We — you hear something and go, alright, it needs to
auditioned it — put a mix down and put it through be like that, ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch! [mimes moving
Pitch ‘N’ Time, figured out it was going to be fine, so knobs!] Being able to drop in my analogue effects
it wasn’t really much of an issue. — fumbling around a strange patchbay, ‘Where’s
the assistant because I can’t find — Oh, it’s not
Do you chuck people out when you’re setting labelled like that…!’ It’s very immediate for me here,
the mix up? and I love that about it. I’m not limited by a certain
Generally people leave me alone, I don’t mind if they number of channels or outputs.
hang around but I think it must be very boring for
them. I prefer to be on my own, I think if someone’s What is your biggest skill?
in the room you feel obliged to listen more than you I think I’m best at getting the essence of the song out.
should. You should take more breaks while you’re I’m not here to recreate my version with my favourite
mixing — make a phone call, twiddle your thumbs, drum sounds of your song, I’m here to bring out the
rest your ears and it’s obvious what the next move is. essence of what you’ve recorded. ■

July/August 2005 resolution


sweet spot

Too many standards W


HILE THE CINEMA world largely controls
its own environments for mixing and
public reproduction, the reality of what
happens in people’s ‘home cinemas’ is largely out of
The Figure shows an assortment of layouts for various surround-sound formats. These are their control. The cinema formats of surround sound
are necessarily using diffuse surround sources,
all formats that have some claims to reasoned existence — they are not ‘crank’ ideas. A because there is no other way to avoid huge level
quick glance over the layouts will lead to the obvious conclusion that sonic compatibility differences between different seats in a public theatre
if only single sources were used for each channel.
between most of the systems is not to be expected. They variously have their origins Clearly though, such systems are not appropriate
for discrete, 5-channel music mixes because the
in the worlds of music, cinema, television and video. Between these worlds there has timbral differences between the front and rear
been pitifully little co-operation, and finding domestic compromises has not been very channels can be considerable. The option of the
dipole loudspeakers for the surrounds (Figure g),
successful either. PHILIP NEWELL although giving good diffusion in an appropriate
room, would be entirely inappropriate in a room
with an absorbent rear wall or in any relatively
dead room. To be fair, this system was proposed by
Tom Holman as far back as the 1970s for domestic
use — not professional use — but it could never be
expected to give workable results from a 5-channel
discrete (symmetrical surround) mix: it is clearly
intended for ambient surround only.
Nevertheless, many people do use their home
cinema systems for music-only surround simply
because they will not want to have 10 or 12 different
loudspeakers in their lounges — which is what they
would need if they wished to have optimum systems
for the cinema and discrete music styles of surround.
Not only would it not be practical from a space point
of view but it would also mean that some of the
loudspeakers for each system would be required to
occupy the same positions, which they clearly could
not do. Furthermore, there may be level differences
in the rear channel set ups required for home cinema
and music-only surround. Almost certainly, in the
majority of cases, people would not re-adjust these
levels according to what they were listening to and
experience has shown that most home systems are
not correctly set up for any type of reproduction.
However, can the general public really be criticised
for incorrectly setting up its systems when so much
music is being mixed with a flagrant disregard for
tightly following any accepted surround monitoring
standards? Just what is the public to make of
this free for all? And what are the manufacturers
to make of this free for all? Unfortunately, the
manufacturers seem to be able to make almost
whatever they like and to sell to a general public
that is lost in confusion. So we must ask ourselves
the question ‘Is surround supposed to be a high-
fidelity concept, or is it not?’ From the evidence
presented, and the situations that one encounters
so frequently in recording studios, the answer
would seem to be a resounding ‘No!’
This point was highlighted by a pair of articles
in the January/February 2004 edition of Resolution
(V3.1). Christophe Anet of Genelec argued the
case for flush-mounted, full-range, low distortion
loudspeakers. He also offered the alternative of
following an ITU recommendation in the placement
of the loudspeakers at 1.2 metres from the ground,
at least 1.1 metres from any wall, and in a well
damped room. In the same issue of the magazine,
George Shilling had been interviewing Greg Penny,
who had just been re-mixing some of Elton John’s
work in surround. Penny said that he did not want
to monitor on anything that was too ‘high-end’,
because for him, the high-end was not reality. Were
that statement true, then the question would beg to be
asked ‘In that case, what is reality? Mid-fi?’ He was
also monitoring in a small room, which did not meet

46 resolution July/August 2005


sweet spot

the ITU/BS recommendations, and was then asked common sources increases, the complexity of the size fits all’ solution can hardly be expected to be
what his recommendations would be to a novice at interference fields increases rapidly, but so many high fidelity in its traditional sense, and probably fits
5.1 mixing. His reply was ‘I think you’ve just got to music mixers seem neither to know nor care about nothing exactly.
find your own way, everybody’s got their own way this. Of course, once the real-world variables of There is a real chance of good compatibility
of doing it. There are no rules…’ and this was from a different subwoofer, crossover frequencies and bass- between music surround using ambient rear
professionally respected producer! management systems are added to the equation, any channels, home videos, and home cinema
Well, with luck, as Greg Penny is a very experienced hope of fidelity of reproduction becomes a question reproduction. A system that was optimised for such
music mixer, and the multitrack recordings of Elton of nothing more than luck. Spurred on by a music use would also readily lend itself to high quality
John are usually excellent, it will probably largely be industry that looks for even more new sensations, two-channel stereo reproduction. In this way, a
a question of balancing the levels of the instruments, the music mixers are also under pressure to produce good sensation of ambience can be achieved, along
but this is surely no way to approach surround sound the goods, whether they are accurately reproducible with a reliably reproducible frontal sound stage.
mixing in general. or not. However, the record companies, in their endless
It would seem that the idea of music-only surround A further complication arises with the compatibility search for the re-use of old material, have deemed
sound has been almost force-fed to a public that was of the LFE concept. It originally came into being that surround mixes with an ambient stereo format
not particularly asking for it, and the professional side as a Low Frequency Extension, adding around an are not ‘sexy’ enough to stimulate a mass market
of the industry often seems to be playing catch-up with octave below the old ‘standard’ cinema loudspeaker into renewing much of its music collection. The
the domestic equipment trends. In fact, the professional systems in the all-analogue days. Supplying extra, record companies have, in isolation, opted to go
studios, almost as much as the consumers, are low frequency capacity to the three front channels for a discrete, 5-channel music mixing regime that
having to deal with the confusion resulting from the was cheaper than replacing them all in the days when makes not only its own impossible demands on an
marketing wars that have themselves resulted from low frequency horns were the norm. Modern main- otherwise compatible world of surround, but also
the surround concept being driven into a reluctant channel loudspeakers have better low frequency makes demands that are not even compatible with
marketplace. Few people, either professionals or performance, but extreme low frequency signals the concept of high fidelity reproduction; at least
domestic users, are keen to commit themselves to big need special processing when derived from optical not in any way that could be realised in practical
expenditure on systems that show no sign of having soundtracks. The low frequency feeds are therefore circumstances. The fact remains that the 5-channel,
a significant life-span before the marketing people derived from the processors as a common feed, but fully discrete surround concept, if optimised, will
decide that the whole thing is redundant. are not discretely recorded channels. compromise the achievable quality of the left/right/
NARAS, the organisation that gives the Grammy In the case of digital soundtracks, the so-called frontal stereo sound quality, because the best stereo
awards, is discussing a modification to the ITU 775 ‘.1’ channel is a separately recorded track. This room acoustics are not compatible with the best
recommendation to push the rear loudspeaker back is also the case for analogue magnetic 70mm compromise discrete surround acoustics.
to 135 degrees from the centre front, for music soundtracks, but the digital low frequency levels It appears that 5-channel, fully discrete, high-
mixing. The fact that things are still being changed are potentially much higher. This is often referred fidelity, surround-sound music mixing is an
suggests that the entire concept of surround sound to as the Low Frequency Effects channel. These unattainable goal, primarily because of the difficulty
for music appears to have been badly conceived discrete, low frequency tracks do not all have of interfacing it with real rooms, but also because
and badly implemented. In the previously referred the same bandwidth in the studios, where the of its incompatibility with other domestic surround
to Greg Penny interview, he concedes that much LF channels have often had frequency responses requirements. In many ways, the concept of discrete
rock music works better with a frontal sound stage, limited only by the subwoofer responses. 5-channel surround is blocking the development
then explains how he put the bass guitar in the However, in the digital television world there of the better implementation of professional and
front, rear and sub channels. (And all of this was is the concept of Low Frequency Enhancement domestic systems. The problems involved in 5-
done on a non-standard monitor system in an but with the strong recommendation not to record channel, discrete, symmetrical surround mixing
untreated room.) essential sound content in that channel because not are not realistically solvable, and the compromises
With so many sources of the same low frequency all domestic systems will be able to reproduce it. So, that must be made to its reproduction lead to a
signal, the response could never be expected to be with LFE standing for Low Frequency Extension, reality that can hardly be considered to be high-
consistent from room to room. In fact the standing Effects, or Enhancement, what is the domestic fidelity. A standardisation on 3-channel frontal
wave field differences of the direct signals would be decoder to make of it and what happens when stereo plus ambient surround would solve most of
dependent on the distances between the loudspeakers reproducing music, especially when much music is the problems. For classical music, it is already in
even in an anechoic chamber. As the number of not mixed with a separate mono subwoofer? A ‘one widespread use. ■

July/August 2005 resolution 47


know how

Your PC video display


Computers are increasingly being pressed into service as the main picture source in post and film work. This should be
no surprise since the majority of picture and sound editing happens inside a PC or Mac. Whatever the display device
— projector, LCD, plasma or good old CRT — there are a number of ways of getting pictures out of the PC and into the
display. ROB JAMES says that if you think that audio ‘standards’ are a nightmare you ain’t seen nothing yet.

P
ICTURES MANIPULATED BY a PC or Mac
are by definition digital. LCD, plasma and
DLP displays, whether flat-screen or projector,
are also digital — the display device has a native
resolution defined by the number of picture elements
or pixels used to reconstruct an image. Despite this,
until recently, all connections between PC and display
were analogue — the digital image was converted to
analogue and converted back to digital for display.
Displays themselves can be divided
approximately into two groups, those
intended for use as computer monitors
and those optimised for displaying
moving images (hereafter referred
to as monitors and video displays).
A monitor used for office and design
tasks (or for a DAW) does not need a rapid
response time. Similarly, wide contrast range and the
number of colours it can resolve are generally less
critical than in a video display. The presence of ‘video’
interfaces, composite, S-Video,27/6/05
Res_horizontal_07.05 Component5:39
and RGB
pm Page 1

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in the heart of soho
- it’s your choice. systems specialists for music & audio post production

AV Pro Dealer

Audio PCs & Drives 020 7692 6611


available for a wide range of applications www.mediatools.co.uk
including Digidesign approved ProTools HD. info@mediatools.co.uk

48 resolution July/August 2005


know how

are no guarantee that the display is particularly suited means an end to tedious transfers. The pain can be of specialist knowledge (which I don’t possess), a
to displaying moving pictures. The good news with minimised by careful choice of graphics card and degree of luck (which I don’t rely on), or a fair bit of
modern video displays and multi-head computer doing a little homework. You are looking for a card forum browsing. AV Forums, although a consumer
graphics cards is that there is no longer a pressing that can accommodate one or more PC monitors at orientated site is a useful source of information and
need for these interfaces. Most current video projectors, the appropriate refresh rate and resolutions while will lead you to others.
LCD and Plasma video screens have a ‘VGA’ socket in at the same time outputting the signal you need If all this seems too daunting to attempt on your
addition to the familiar video interfaces. They may to drive the main video display. Fortunately, once own there are plenty of system integrators who will
well also have one or other of a couple of digital set up for all the resolutions and frame rates you be only too delighted to solve your problems — at a
interface ‘standards’ that have floated to the surface of need, that’s it. The system should work reliably price. It could be worth every penny. ■
an otherwise murky brew, DVI and HDMI. from then on.
DVI (Digital Video Interface) is a set of connection I’ve had success with graphics cards from several
standards using a single form factor connector with manufacturers including Matrox, ATI and N-Vidia RESOURCES
six possible pin configurations. The most common but you do need to be very careful about the
Powerstrip: www.entechtaiwan.net/util/ps.shtm
variant found on computer graphics cards and display specifics. Powerstrip has extracted me from the mire
AV Forums: www.avforums.com
devices also incorporates support for so-called VGA on several occasions but it does need a great deal
analogue. Unlike analogue VGA, which is good
for at least 25m without a repeater with suitable
cables, DVI currently maxes out at around 10m.
HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) has the
more consumer-orientated set of standards. It can
incorporate DRM (Digital Rights Management)
i.e. copy protection elements, most commonly
HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content
Protection) developed by Intel for use in
conjunction with HDMI.
Rory Kaplan Ian Nelson Dave Bracey John Pellowe
A single HDMI interconnect can carry SD
Brazilian Bossa Placebo Robbie Williams Pavarotti
or HDTV at up to 1080p — 1920 x 1080 pixel
Brazilian The Cure
progressive scan plus 8-channels of up to 192kHz, Romance
24-bit audio not to mention the usual Dolby and DTS David Alan
compressed streams. HDMI is compatible in at least a
limited way with DVI but already offers longer cable
runs without repeaters (currently 15m).
You might conclude that, without unnecessary
conversions, digital interfacing is the ‘gold standard’
and you’d be correct. But these interfaces are very
young and there are some exciting incompatibility
Simon Osborne Jim Ebdon Dave Roden ‘Big’ Mick Hughes
problems. If you want to go this way, write your
Sting Sting Stereophonics Metallica
supplier contracts carefully. Whether you elect to Annie Lennox Slipknot
use DVI, HDMI or VGA with the extra D-A/A-D Aerosmith
conversion stages, the first critical things to watch
out for are resolution and refresh rate. Does your
chosen graphics card allow different resolutions and
world class engineers...
refresh rates on each output? Even assuming it
does, does it support the native resolution of the
display? If not there may be a solution. An excellent,
although fiendishly complicated, piece of shareware,
Powerstrip, from Taiwan based Entech can persuade
graphics cards to support useful resolutions that the
graphics card manufacturers may have omitted to Nathaniel Kunkel Chuck Ainley Moray J. McMillin
include in their drivers. Sting Mark Knopfler Deep Purple
Now that HD (High Definition) is becoming Crosby & George Strait
Graham Nash Vince Gill
the technology of the moment it is worth looking
Lyle Lovett Trisha Yearwood
for display devices with a native resolution of Fuel
1920 x 1080 or more. Note the word ‘native’. Most
displays incorporate image scalers capable of up
. . . who chose to specify audio-technica microphones
or down scaling images input at other than their
native resolution. But, just as with digital audio rate when working with world class artists. Why not
conversion, scaling down is generally preferable to create your own world class performance by joining
scaling up. Internal scalers vary widely in quality and the ever increasing number of A-T users creating
capability and you may well find that a display with a professional sound?
native resolution of, say, 1360 x 768 will not accept
a VGA input at this resolution. Sounds crazy but that’s
the way it currently is. Once again, Powerstrip to the
rescue. The alternative is a hardware/software scaler,
world class microphones
which will accept what the PC is outputting and scale
it to suit whatever the display requires. These devices
vary in cost from a few hundred pounds to several
thousand. As ever, up to a point, you get what you
pay for. Technica House, Royal London Industrial Estate, Old Lane, Leeds LS11 8AG
The grief involved with getting a decent video Tel: +44 (0)113 277 1441 Fax: +44 (0)113 270 4836
picture out of a PC can be painful but the results e-mail: sales@audio-technica.co.uk Web: www.audio-technica.co.uk
are more than worth the effort. Potentially, this

July/August 2005 resolution 49


business

The European TV channel count rise


Europe’s TV channels have multiplied from 241 in 1995 to 1,132 today. Now a massive upgrade cycle is set to begin with the introduction
of DTT and HDTV. NIGEL JOPSON wades through the information and trends and asks if ‘There’s 1,132 channels and nothin’ on.’

T
HE TV LANDSCAPE has changed dramatically French satellite TV service TPS recently indicated
in Europe over the last decade — from a viewing MPEG-4 would be used for its HD channels, at least
space dominated by public broadcasting to a one of which is due to be live this summer. French
market worth over US$25 billion annually in satellite, terrestrial broadcaster (and TPS main shareholder)
cable and pay-per-view subscription revenue. It’s a TF1 is also expected to use MPEG-4. Key early
money machine that’s expected to grow by nearly adopters will drive down the relative cost of MPEG-4
45% over the next 5 years. Television commercials broadcast and consumer equipment and set valuable
passed print advertising in 2003 to become Europe’s precedent for the ISO/IEC open-source format.
largest advertising medium. Research firm Datamonitor Tandberg Television announced in June that its
forecasts there will be 4.6 million European HDTV high definition MPEG-4 AVC video encoding and
households by 2008, up from 50,000 at the end distribution system had been chosen by DPC Digital
of 2003. ‘Momentum for HDTV is now building. Playout Centre for the launch of HDTV in Germany.
Broadcasters have announced definite deployment DPC, owned by SES Astra, is preparing to launch HD
plans. The consumer electronics industry is a-buzz services in Europe’s largest potential TV marketplace.
over this new — and profitable — market,’ says James DPC playout customer Premiere AG has already
Healey, senior media and broadcasting technologies announced it will start broadcasting its first HD
analyst for Datamonitor. service in November 2005. The Munich-based pay-
Already broadcast in the US, Australia, Japan, TV operator will transmit three dedicated channels for
Canada and South Korea, EU viewers will benefit from sport, film and documentaries via the Astra satellite.
EU TV channels 1993. HDTV’s improved picture clarity and 5.1 surround Major broadcasters across France, Germany and
sound. European TVs today display 625 lines, but HD the UK have recently unveiled, or are preparing to
video increases this line count, thus improving picture announce, HDTV plans. Euro1080, the Belgian-based
quality, to either 720 or 1080 (720p and 1080i). HD satellite network that was first to transmit HDTV in
files are larger and require six times the bandwidth of Europe, recently added simultaneous MPEG-4 streams
today’s standard-definition (SD) content. To broadcast to its existing MPEG-2 channels HD1 and HD2. To
entire menus of HD content, operators will need receive Euro1080 broadcasts a dedicated 80cm dish,
to adopt a new compression technology — either set-top-box (STB) and Conditional Access viewing
MPEG-4 part 10 AVC/H.264 or Windows Media 9/10. card are required. HD1 has around 120 hours of fresh
The analysts expect MPEG-4 to dominate, despite content per month, and offers both 1080i and 720p
Microsoft’s considerable efforts to persuade content resolution, with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound.
producers otherwise. BSkyB will be first to transmit in the UK with an
The first deployments of HDTV around the world HDTV service primed for launch in early 2006, and
have been with MPEG-2 and Datamonitor expects aims to boost its current 7.8 million subscriber base
MPEG-4 to win 70% of the market. The CEO of to 10 million by 2010. Thompson will manufacture

EU TV channels 1993-2003.

EU TV channels 2003. EU DTV homes by nation.

50 resolution July/August 2005


business

on-demand (VOD) service in HDTV this February,


and hopes to have 1 million customers by early next
year. Barry Elson, Telewest’s chief executive, told
analysts: ‘This should give us a competitive edge vs
Sky and Freeview and should improve both customer
acquisition and loyalty.’
HDTV is not the only digital act in town. Digital
terrestrial television (DTT), like Freeview, uses the
existing analogue TV infrastructure to deliver more
services, including some interactive (red button)
elements, using less spectrum and with less atmospheric
interference. Typically 4 to 6 channels, plus radio
and text services, can be broadcast using MPEG-2
compression over a single frequency channel (a Digital
Multiplex or MUX). Sweden launched a DTT service
in 2002 and saw 88% growth in subscribers last year.
In March this year, France switched on its Télévision
Numérique Terrestre (TNT), with plans to cover 85%
of the country by 2007. British DTT services are
currently broadcast on 6 national multiplexes. Despite
the expensive and humiliating 2002 collapse of UK
broadcaster ITV Digital’s UK£6.99 per month service,
new DTT services such as Freeview and TNT will
attract 16.5 million European households by 2008,
up from 6.3 million now, according to researcher
Informa Media Group. Freeview is a free-to-air service
owned by the BBC, BSkyB and transmission company
Crown Castle International. With the Freeview STBs
as cheap as UK£35 from Wal-Mart owned British
EU DTV home subscription revenue. chain-store Asda, 35 TV channels and 24 Radios, it’s
hardly surprising there are already nearly 4.5 million
Sky’s HD STBs, which will use MPEG-4 compression, Sony is constructing a new HDTV studio at BSkyB’s households watching Freeview.
support 720p and 1080i, and feature an HDCP- London HQ. Alec Shapiro, senior vice president of Broadcasters and premium content providers
compliant HDMI output and a standard component Sony Broadcast and Production Systems Division, can offer pay-per-view programming relatively
video out. The provision of component video is so described the opportunities presented: ‘The month of inexpensively on DTT without having to piggyback
owners of older big-screen TVs (provided they support March, prior to NAB, was a record-setting month for on costly proprietary satellite systems. A million Italian
720 lines) will be able to use the service. Its inclusion Sony Broadcast. Our sales were up about 20% over viewers now get over-the-air digital TV. In January
highlights a lesson learnt from HDTV deployment the best March we’ve ever had previously...I attribute 2005, leading Italian media companies Mediaset and
in the US, where one of the major stumbling blocks it to the HD transition.’ Telecom Italia Media, launched pay-per-view services
was customer uncertainty concerning the capabilities CE manufacturers are already selling significant that allow customers to watch a sporting event or
of their own sets. The US Federal Communications quantities of HD sets — Sony has large displays in reality show for a one-time fee, charged against
Commission has now mandated inclusion of digital 180 retail stores across Europe promoting the superior their prepaid smart card. This simple model requires
tuners in all TVs larger than 13-inches by 2007. picture quality and broadcasters are beginning to minimal billing and customer service, so shows can be
Sky’s new HD service is expected to draw on content record content in HD. The BBC has already filmed supplied at a relatively low price to consumers.
already available in the US: Desperate Housewives, programmes, such as The Blue Planet in HD, and Conventional broadcasters are particularly keen
The Simpsons and 24 are available in 720p quality, plans to produce most of its content in Hi-Def by on DTT: although their channels are already carried
NX-6A
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July/August 2005 resolution 51
business

broaden their audience and sell more ads. ‘We want


to diversify our channels, and, of course, make more
money,’ says Philippe Holl, spokesman for French
channel M6, which is launching a new music-and-
movie station on TNT called W9.
DTT could steal viewers, or prevent viewers
upgrading to subscription platforms. Britain’s BSkyB
has quietly rolled out a free, bare-bones satellite TV
service to fend off Freeview, hoping users will trade
up to pay-TV. But there is a certain profile of viewer
for whom subscription will never be an option, and for
them DTT is a convenient replacement for analogue.
It seems likely the market will segment, but this may
help to target advertising campaigns. Datamonitor
reports that while high prices in the beginning will
hinder HDTV sales, those who do buy will be in the
top tier of the elusive ABC1 advertising supergroup,
with large disposable incomes. Consumers watching
Freeview will more likely shop at...Asda.
The breakneck increase in channel count and
market segments has meant broadcasters have had
to frequently review their content strategies. In the
period 1996 to 2001, European networks significantly
increased the number of reality/game shows
in their schedules and these programmes have
had major audience successes, especially in their
first runs. Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? is the
most successful of the genre and has run in some Global TV production by national origin.
80 countries. There is a considerable amount of US
drama on European screens, Europe’s deficit in the the cool subwoofers and they will damn well want TV aspect to HD, but it takes time to understand the
balance of audio-visual trade with North America sound to use it, eventually! human impact of a new technology sufficiently to be
was US$8.2 billion in 2000. The total amount of From an artistic point of view, there is a huge learning able to skilfully manipulate it within budget.
fiction and film programming imported and broadcast curve ahead for HDTV production teams. The 2000 US ‘Well now home entertainment was my baby’s wish
by Western European television channels in 2001 MTV Video awards were shot in ‘groundbreaking’ HD So I hopped into town for a satellite dish
reached 320,239 hours, a 3% increase on the 2000 — the usual cinematic techniques were used — dolly I tied it to the top of my Japanese car
level. Although the volume of imports has now shots, steadycams, close-ups. The high-def detail I came home and I pointed it out into the stars
diminished for the third year in succession, American revealed shaking thigh muscles, smudged makeup, A message came back from the great beyond
initiated programming continues to dominate, due to perspiration beads thrown off dancers. The critical There’s fifty-seven channels and nothin’ on ...’
growth in the number of US co-productions. In content reaction was caustic: too real, not theatrical enough! As far as high culture goes, Bruce Springsteen’s lyrics
distribution industries there are significant economies Film is detailed, but movie budgets for artistic lighting, from 1992 may still be spot on, but the 23-year gap
of scale, and the USA is in the fortunate position of makeup and careful editing and re-shoots are infinitely has rendered some technical production techniques
having a large homogeneous home market. larger. Film’s image is softened by the cinema projection — as well as Bruce’s 23-year-old channel count
Nevertheless, there is a substantial and growing process. Producers have become aware of this visceral — positively antediluvian! ■
European domestic component, especially in prime
viewing hours. First-run domestic fiction programming
recently reached its highest level since 1996. In
countries such as the UK, France and Germany over
50% of prime time drama is now of domestic origin,
and some estimates value this production output at
more than US$2 billion. European countries differ
with regard to the formats preferred: drama series were
the most prevalent category in the UK and Spain, Italy
relied heavily on mini-series, while in Germany and
France made-for-TV movies dominated. Free TV is still
the most valuable window for the sale of feature film
rights in most European countries, and broadcasters
are an important source of funding for European films
in some countries. Canal Plus in France invests 9%
of its annual sales in French-language films, while
broadcasters in Spain must allocate 5% of prior year
turnover in film production.
From the professional media-hardware point of
view, all this hi-def activity is great news — entire
studios are being re-equipped! From an audio
production viewpoint, the pipeline will slowly start to
flow as HDTV productions seek to add sparkle with
5.1 sound. As we found when visiting Australia’s
ABC TV in Resolution V3.3, this will not be an
immediate gush, but more of a trickle-down process
as producers come to grips with the new technology,
and seek to add value. Those premium ad-target
consumers bought their Home Theatre systems with US-EU TV export deficit.

52 resolution July/August 2005


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steinberg top tips

Multichannel drum timing


correction in Nuendo 3
Drum timing correction has always been a pretty arduous affair, whatever platform
you’re on. The massive time savings seen with other editing tasks in recent years
have not been seen when it comes to timing corrections on multitracked drums.
Steinberg’s ANGUS BAIGNET lets you in on a smart and fast way to do it.

A
LTHOUGH THERE ARE ALREADY very we do this by bouncing the individual tracks into one
accurate procedures for drum timing correction 7-channel audio file which is then reimported into the
in Nuendo (see forum.nuendo.com for a project ready for some timing correction. All the drum
thorough description), there is now another, much tracks should be in one folder for ease of use.
faster alternative to the traditional method of cutting Before exporting the tracks, each one has to
and crossfading. This method uses the new Audio be routed to one channel of an output bus with
Warp real-time timestretching functionality that was the appropriate number of channels. In the VST
introduced in Nuendo 3. Connections window, create an output bus with the
The big helper here is the Nuendo surround required number of channels (see Screen 1). Here,
implementation. Because all channels are up to I’ve created a 7.0 surround output bus because the
12 channels wide (to allow full 10.2 productions), drum kit in this example used seven mono channels.
Nuendo also supports files with 12 channels. Most Then route each of the single drum tracks to one
people will be multitracking drums to mono files, each of the output channels in the surround bus
and Nuendo will allow up to 12 mono drum mics you’ve just created. It’s important to route to the
to be combined into one 12-channel file. This file individual channel and not to the whole bus as this Screen 2. Don’t forget to route each track to a
can then be opened in the Nuendo Sample Editor bypasses the channel panner settings (see Screen 2). different channel inside the surround bus you’ve
created, rather than to the bus as a whole.
where the Audio Warp timestretching functions The bus also has to be routed to individual outputs,
can be used on all channels (and therefore drum so in the VST Connections Window give each output option in the Channels drop down box (see Screen
instruments) at once. of the bus its own physical output from your audio 3). Outputs should be set to the surround output bus
card. Now solo the drums folder, position the locators you’ve created for this purpose. The Import to Audio
DRUMS: FILE UNDER MULTICHANNEL — First to include all the drum tracks you’re including in the Track box should be checked. Click on OK, and a
off, we need to consolidate the mono drum tracks file and you’re ready for export. new, multichannel file will be bounced to a new
into one multichannel file. I’m using the example of Go to File, then Export and then Audio Mixdown track with each recorded drum track on an individual
aRes_MTvertical_06-04
small kit here with seven tracks, but up1:37
20/4/04 to twelve
pm to open
Page 1 the export dialog box. After entering the channel within the same file.
can be used in exactly the same way. In Nuendo 3, desired file name, select the N. Chann. Interleaved In Nuendo 3, the playback-timestretching

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Screen 1. Create a multichannel output bus in the VST Connections window which is opened by pressing F4.

54 resolution July/August 2005


steinberg top tips

at the drum transients. The Warp Tabs are the Nuendo to do this automatically by right clicking
stretching markers that divide the individual areas on the file (Ctrl-Click on the Mac) and selecting
of the drum file into the portions we want to correct. Realtime Processing and then Audio Quantize in
The most time effective way to achieve this is to use the resulting menu; this will use the settings in the
the built-in Hitpoints feature to mark transients and Quantize Settings dialog in the main MIDI menu.
to convert them to Warp Tabs, adding individual Alternatively, you do it yourself if you really want to
Warp Tabs as needed. get into the details.
Open the multichannel drum file in the Sample The amount of correction you’ll want to do will
Editor by double clicking it. Now click on the depend on how ‘tight’ the drummer really has to
Hitpoint Edit button in the Sample Editor’s button be (or how sloppy his timing was). Listening to
bar to open the Hitpoint detection dialog. I’ve used the whole track with a metronome activated first
settings here that put a Hitpoint marker at almost is a good idea to get a rough idea of the areas that
all important transients for the kick and snare, require the most attention. The elegance of this way
namely a Sensitivity setting of 90, and a Threshold of correcting drum timing is that all you have to do
setting of 8. It can pay off here to experiment with is click on each Warp Tab and move it to its ‘right’
the settings to get the density of Hitpoints (by the place. In the screenshot you can clearly see that at
way, the upcoming Nuendo 3.1 update will include the 60th bar the drummer is a fraction too late on
improved Hitpoint detection functionality — you the first beat, as I’ve set the dark Project Position
heard it here first). The Sensitivity slider in the top Pointer to the 60th bar, i.e. where the beat should
right-hand side corner of the Sample Editor can be have been. All I have to do is click and drag the
used to change the sensitivity after the Hitpoints Warp Tab on that transient slightly to the left until
have been calculated. it’s lined up with the first beat of the 60th bar. Repeat
for any other beats that come too late or early. It
HIT THE HOME STRETCH — When you’re happy really is that simple. If you want the drummer to
with the Hitpoints and have got them covering most really sound robot-like in his ‘perfection’, you can
of the important transients, convert the Hitpoints to use the Quantize settings box to snap the Warp Tab
Warp Tabs by right-clicking or Ctrl-Click (on the Mac) to the beat value of your choice. It really couldn’t
the drum file. Then select Realtime Processing, and be simpler.
then the option Create Warp Tabs from Hitpoints. Er, that’s it. You might notice an artefact here or
Switch the Sample Editor to Warp Samples mode by there, but don’t worry: this will not end up in the
selecting the Warp Samples option in the right click drum audio after off-line processing. Another thing
Screen 3. The Export dialog setup with the options (or Ctrl-Click on Mac) menu or selecting it in the you might be worrying about is that stretching drum
set for merging your soloed drum tracks to one top left hand side of the Window; the Warp Samples material is going to introduce phase problems. Don’t.
multichannel file.
button has a small clock symbol in it. Because you’re stretching all the drum tracks at
is calculated in real-time using a highly CPU- Now all the Warp Tabs will show up in the time once and by exactly the same amount with sample
efficient algorithm. While heavy use can cause some strip as orange triangles, and you’re almost ready accuracy, all the material will stay in phase.
audible alterations of the source material, the actual to go. In the Warp Settings dropdown box in the Before exporting the corrected drum tracks, ensure
stretching can be done as an off-line process using top right hand side of the Sample Editor, select first of all that the top quality MPEX algorithm is
a much higher quality. Because the whole audio the Drums option; this optimises the real-time selected as your timestretch tool by going to File,
file is processed at the same time, the amount of timestretching algorithm for drum material. then Preferences and clicking on the Audio entry in
timestretching has no effect on the CPU load. Now it’s time to get those drum hits where the list on the left hand side. Then on the right hand
Now we need to create so-called Warp Tabs they’re supposed to be (see Screen 4). You can get side select MPEX 2 as your Timestretch tool, and
select quality level 4 for polyphonic material. This
will work for drum files with up to 8 channels/tracks.
If you have between 8 and 12, use the Realtime
algorithm with Drums mode selected.

FINISHING UP — All you have to do now is process


the file with your corrections and reimport this file
into the project. Right click or (on the Mac) Ctrl-click
on the file and select Realtime Processing and then
the Freeze Timestretching option. The file will now be
‘frozen’ with all timing corrections processed into a
new file using the algorithm you’ve set in the Nuendo
preferences. All that’s required now is to export this
multichannel file back into your project as individual
tracks ready for mixing.
Solo the multichannel drum track and set the
locators to cover the entire length of the track.
Then open the Export dialog and this time select
as Channels the N. Chann. Split option. The Import
to Audio Track option should be checked. After the
file has been processed, you should select the Split
Multichannel Files box in the Import Options dialog.
The drums are then reimported as single tracks,
ready for mixing. Now you just have to explain to
the rest of the band that their drummer can play a
lot tighter than they always thought...
Screen 4. Warp Tabs are set, ready for stretching. The transient is marked and is clearly late, being some Next time we’ll be applying this technology to FX
way behind the first beat in bar 60 where the drummer meant to place it. Just grab the Warp Tab and slide editing for post with the unique Nuendo Warp Audio
it to the left to where it should be. Note that Drums mode is selected for the real-time Warp processing in to Picture functions and how Audio Warp can be
the drop down box at the top right. indispensable in ADR work. ■

July/August 2005 resolution 55


meet your maker

Tino Fibaek
levels. We allow the operator to define the bus formats
to the session at hand (e.g. stereo mixdown or
multiformat mixdown or maybe ADR), and then save
these setups as templates for future sessions.
The man behind the technology of Fairlight has done time at Steinberg and, most At the other end of the scale, we have a complete
programming language built in, with a comprehensive
significantly, Amek. He discusses workflow, asset management, server based media and triggering and mapping system. Typically done during
how to design a worksurface. ZENON SCHOEPE installation and commissioning, this system allows
functions on the surface to be remapped or duplicated,
according to the operator’s preferences. Furthermore,
completely new functionality can be created, triggered

B
ORN IN DENMARK and introduced to directly from the control surface, and integrated
travelling by his parents who were volunteer completely with the mixer.
teachers in various parts of the world, Tino Examples of this include one facility where a
Fibaek spent his teenage years in the company very comprehensive talkback system was designed,
of ZX81 and ZX Spectrum computers. He studied complete with remote talkback trigger via GPIs,
computer science and electronics during the day visual feedback via LEDs driven from GPOs, and
in Aarhus and worked as a club-DJ at nights, programmable talkback groups. Another facility
then went to work for Steinberg in Germany. In features very tight integration of a Dolby encoder/
the late 1980s he started working for Amek in decoder system, with single-key configuration from
Manchester originally as a software engineer, then the control surface for a variety of operational modes,
chief software engineer, R&D manager, and finally including external machine setups, busing structure
on the company’s management team. During the ten and formats, and monitor formats and modes.
years there he helped develop Supertrue automation,
Virtual Dynamics, Showtime automation, the DMS How have attitudes towards controller/
digital console, and, in collaboration with Fairlight, desk surfaces changed in the time you
the Fame and Prodigy Mixer/Editor systems. have been working on them and to
He moved to Australia and to Fairlight in 1999 what do you attribute this change?
as team leader, Dream mixer/editor products and is Initially, there was a very strong demand for digital
now chief technical officer with recent contributions technology to be controlled in a familiar ‘knob-per-
including the Pyxis NLV system, version 19.1 function’ way with one control channel per audio
software for the Fairlight editing platform, and version channel. This early model left the user feeling at
4.0 software for the mixing platform. He describes it ease through the transition into digital audio, with
as ‘working with a great bunch of people, doing a job the digital desk largely looking and behaving like its
that I absolutely love’. analogue counterpart. However, most manufacturers
Out of hours, he spends time with his wife, offered new assignable style control surfaces and were
listens to a wide range of music on his homemade asking operators to leap outside their comfort zone.
KEF-based active speakers, sails, cooks and repairs/ As time went by, operators became familiar with the
restores/extends their cottage in northern Sydney. new digital technology and wanted a control paradigm
that allowed them to exploit more of the power offered
What is special about Fairlight products? by digital processing with less of the costs associated
They’re fast — the editing-model is probably the with large format knob-per-function designs. Control
fastest and most intuitive in the industry, and our surfaces then started to get ‘softer’, and the first designs
mixing and automation compliments it well with employing a mixture of tactile controls and touch-
a really solid set of sensible and useful tools. They enabled displays began appearing.
just sound good — superb convertors coupled to Similarly, two levels of assignability (assignable
40-bit floating-point DSP algorithms. They are solid channel strips, with assignable controls) began
and reliable. They are a safe investment, with a gaining acceptance, allowing a more compact surface
historically proven hardware and software upgrade to control a larger number of channels, each with a
path. They are innovative yet very functional, giving larger number of parameters.
the operators tools to allow them to concentrate on However, this higher degree of assignability did
and expand their creative function. They represent an not suit all user types, and a number of current
unmatched price/performance ratio. designs offer the best of both worlds, i.e. a number
of assignable knobs per channel strip, and a full,
What is different in your all-in-one dedicated channel control panel. This is the approach
production system approach we favour at Fairlight and you can see how this is
compared to other designs? implemented when you look at Constellation-XT.
A Fairlight production system is not a Most recently, I think that operators are beginning
closed product; yes, it does a lot out of to really appreciate the value that touch-sensitive
the box, but so much more power can controls can add to a good automation system. Many
be leveraged from the high degree operations that previously required complex key-press
of customisation that can be done sequences now flow naturally. This development is
on-site. It is this customisation still ongoing. Processing systems are becoming even
that allows the system to truly fit more and more configurable, with a corresponding
into the customer’s workflow, and increase in flexibility and variety in their control.
be the tool that they need, rather than
just the tool that we thought they wanted. What is different in the approach you
This customisation comes at a variety of levels. adopt when designing a mixing console
At the most basic level, for instance, we surface and a DAW control surface?
accommodate many user-defined monitor sources Good question — I think it is a combination of many
and destinations, each of any format up to 7.1, either things. The key to it all is to listen to the operators —
digital or analogue formats, and preprogrammed these are the people who actually know what tools they

resolution July/August 2005


meet your maker

need and who will ultimately end up using the designs.


It’s so important to listen to them and understand as
thoroughly as possible what they do, why they do it,
and the processes they carry out to achieve these aims.
Once we have gathered as much of this information as
we possibly can, we then start looking for ways to make
their jobs easier for them. We achieve this by carefully
analysing what they’ve told us to find out what the key
operations are and which ones are most frequently used
— these then become the operations that we optimise
the design to accomplish.
Based on this research, we generally end up with
a very long list of what we think we would like to
do. We then rework and refine this list, trying to
bring it back into line with technical, ergonomic and
commercial realities.
Once we feel that we have captured the basics, the
fun really starts. We happily spend hours evaluating
cardboard models, complete with photo-realistic faceplate
printouts. Where possible, we create early working
mock-ups for key concepts or technologies. And again,
we include operator feedback wherever possible.
Generally, this process goes through a number of
iterations, before the real hardware design finally starts.
Is the design approach we take vastly different
between a mixing console and a DAW control surface?
No, I don’t think so. Most of our designs implement
support for both disciplines anyway; some are biased
more towards editing, while others are biased more This would isolate the operators from the tedious editing and mixing, and are therefore more suited
towards mixing. One of the strengths of Fairlight is issues of moving files from A to B, would ensure to production environments where throughput and
that we offer an integrated DAW and mixing surface that backups are done, that the correct final is efficiency are more important. Other systems place
design and so by default we are considerate of the sent to the correct client for approval (in the right more emphasis on flexibility and variety, offering the
way these two parts work together. Our designs have format), and that the relevant entries are logged user more choice, which is a real plus in situations
evolved to optimise all aspects of what you can now in the accounting system. Included in here should where there is less commercial pressure.
see as a ‘system’ surface rather than a discrete mixing be a version-control system (similar to what has In addition, some systems entice the operator
or DAW surface. From the one surface you can now been used in the software development process for to put everything into the one box, whereas other
accomplish most aspects of the production process many years), which would allow an operator to tag systems invite collaboration and integration with
including recording, editing, mixing and video control a production at any stage, and which would allow other equipment.
as well as controlling the movement of digital content them at a later day to completely revert back to
around audio and video networks. that state — complete with all plug-ins, the current What defines the word ‘professional’ when
automation pass, all patching information. used in the context of DAWs?
Are you restricted by the availability of Asset management? Yes please, but maybe more Any DAW that earns its operator an income. We
different controls in your designs and are than just media. Virtually all facilities today have all know that it’s possible to produce a hit record
users ready for more radical methods a large amount of often under-used or redundant in a bedroom with shareware and a CD burner so
of control? equipment, such as I-O, voice booths, video recorders, even that basic use of DAWs could be classed as
Fairlight has often pioneered unique or non-standard and DSP power, to name a few. I would like to think professional. However, that’s the exception. For most
approaches to tactile user interfaces; just think about that, based on some of the emerging technology, we people the path to commercial success in employing
the light-pen used on the early samplers! This trend can in the future find a way to share these resources DAWs is a combination of many things not least the
is still upheld today, with the Dream product range effectively. To be really beneficial to the end-user, this ability to extract the maximum benefits from the
featuring custom-designed switches and motorised should be a vendor-independent system, and should technology that is available.
knobs, as we could not source off-the-shelf technology cover physical and virtual assets. For example, I
that satisfied our requirements. would be able to buy one hundred hours of plug-in X, Where are the current technological
Although all systems use controls in different and then use them on-demand in studios around the bottlenecks in DAWs?
ways, fundamentally they are all built around some facility as and when needed. There are a number of very capable systems available,
combination of the same key components: linear faders, Server-based media. We’re not quite there yet, but but once you start configuring them for serious
rotary controls, pushbutton switches, touchscreens and with the pricing and performance direction that disk multiformat work, the cost can be prohibitive, especially
LED indicators. There has certainly been evolution in the drive, Raid controller, and networking technology for smaller facilities. It’s not that the technology is a
controller technology, but not really much revolution. have taken, I don’t think we’re that far away from bottleneck, it’s just expensive to build.
I think that the changes that have taken place in being able move even large and complex productions Audio processing has evolved at an amazing pace.
the audio production world, and the wide acceptance from the local drives back onto server-based storage We have more channels than ever before; each with
of the DAW in general, clearly show that the operators instead. This in turn speeds up the workflow, and more parameters than ever before. There are fantastic
will happily adapt to new ideas. The important thing makes asset management simpler. The challenge plug-ins available for any task you can think of,
is that the change must be a real improvement, rather here is to deliver the functionality at a commercially yet again with large numbers of controls. However,
than a gimmick backed by clever marketing. acceptable price point. control surfaces have not developed at the same pace,
with most controllers today employing technology
Working methods dictate the shape of tools, Given that processing power and performance similar to that of many years ago.
what change in operational methods can in general terms is similar across the leading There is only very limited support for collaborative
take advantage of available technology? DAW brands, what differentiates them? productions. The application here would be large
Workflow. I think we need more than just asset I think performance is very subjective when you talk format, hierarchical productions for film and the larger
management. With the IT technology that is about DAWs and this is reflected in how manufacturers TV projects. There are some early attempts being
available now, it ought to easily be possible to differentiate their products. For example, some made at this, however, I think this is an area where
implement a customised facility-wide workflow. systems focus more on the hardcore daily tasks, i.e. much more can be achieved. ■

July/August 2005 resolution 57


review
katz’s column

The Fear of All Sums (Part II)


Starring BOB KATZ as Bob Spade, Private Ear and audio investigator. In the last issue, Becky had approached Bob with her
mixes sounding flat and uninteresting and she believed things had got worse since she got rid of her analogue desk — now she
suspected the culprit was digital summing. Bob instructed his assistant Slim (AKA Fred) to bring her console back up to spec
and run out some test mix files. File #1 was an all digital mix inside the DAW at 24-bit; File #2 was the same digital mix fed out
of the stereo into two channels of her D-ACs and back into two channels of her A-DCs; File #3 was the same but adding two
channels of the analogue console in between; File #4 used all 24 D-ACs for a full blown analogue mix at identical matched gain and
panning to the digital mix. On listening, File #1 sounded flat and lacked depth and stereo space and File #2 sounded worse…

‘B
UT I KNOW THE sound through the
analogue console is better than my all-
digital mix!” exclaimed Becky.
‘Is it?’ I replied. We were in my sanctum sanctorum,
the Mastering Room, where the acoustics are perfect
and the loudspeakers are audio microscopes. ‘Let’s
listen to test file #3.’ I knew the third file would be
the Rosetta stone, the proof of the pudding, to mix
metaphors. The only difference between this file
and the all-digital mix was that the sound passed
through a pair of convertors and two modules
of her analogue console. No analogue mix was
being done, but this way we could prove what her
console sounded like without bringing in the issue of
analogue summing.
When we played test file #3 Becky’s heart
obviously skipped a beat. Slim’s heart was also
skipping beats, but I could tell that from the stars in
his eyes as he looked at Becky, but I digress.
‘The sound is better, it’s more open, it’s wider!’
she exclaimed.
‘Interesting, eh?’ I said, ‘and no analogue mix is the full-blown analogue console sounded better or ‘Use this knowledge to your advantage,’
being done.’ worse than using just two of its modules. I continued. ‘I have seen situations where the
‘How can that be? I heard the sound go objectively ‘I surmise,’ I pontificated, ‘that what we’re dealing analogue console, or the dedicated summing box,
downhill in file #2, which was convertor to convertor. with here is diminishing returns. Objectively, the makes things sound worse than the all-digital mix.
How can it get better when you add something to a noise floor of all these noisy analogue modules When you perform the objective tests at matched
degraded chain?’ added together is 15dB hotter than just using two gain and panning like you have done, it all becomes
‘What we’re dealing with, guys, is a true case of modules alone. That doesn’t happen in an all- clear what’s really making the sound better and
compromise. Objective degradation versus subjective digital mix; the noise floor of an all-digital mix what’s taking it downhill. And there’s one more
improvement. The sound is still going downhill due will be 70dB quieter than your analogue mix. thing, Becky and Slim, your digital mix really does
to the use of low-class convertors, but your newly- Furthermore, there’s objective crosstalk and loss of sound flat. The reason, it should now be clear, is
restored analogue console is adding something stereo separation in the analogue summing modules because the digital mixer is technically perfect; it
mysteriously attractive to the sound. Objectively, of your console. It’s hard to predict if this crosstalk does not add any distortion, crosstalk, and its noise
stereo separation can never get better when you add is going to be euphonic or take the subjective floor is insignificant. But I’ve heard — and made
analogue stages, it always gets objectively worse, sound quality downhill. There’s crosstalk and there’s — all-digital mixes that are fantastic, with depth,
especially when you add convertors in between. But crosstalk. In the digital domain, crosstalk is absolutely space, all the virtues you can imagine, and that beat
I feel that’s the particular kind of distortion added perfect, it’s also a perfect summer with infinite the sound you got with any of the tools you’ve used
by the transformers and class-A op amps of the separation between channels so there’s nothing to so far. Wouldn’t you like to learn some techniques
mixer. That’s the subjective improvement, and it’s fear there. Or is there? But in the analogue console, to improve flat mixes, working entirely in the digital
even large enough to overcome the losses of the crosstalk can be in phase or out of phase, it can be domain?’
convertors. Not all consoles have this “magic”, by restricted to high frequencies; it’s hard to predict. Six months after that day, Slim moved in with
the way.’ And sometimes that very imperfection, the non- Becky and started working with her. I had mixed
‘You mean, it’s not the summing that’s doing it, linearities in the analogue console, help to create the feelings, but I soon realised that I wasn’t losing an
but the colouration of my console itself?’ “magic” you hear. Perhaps in the analogue domain assistant, I was gaining a client. The only thing
‘That’s right, Becky, you’re not improving on some high frequency crosstalk as well as a hair of I couldn’t get used to was calling Slim Fred, as
the digital mixer, but adding euphonic colouration harmonic distortion objectively reduces separation, Becky insisted. Go figure. Some things just don’t
to it. But we’ve only discovered the tip of the but subjectively brightens up the sound in opposite add up. ■
iceberg. Let’s listen to the fourth file, where you channels to tickle the ear.
perform the entire analogue mix using all your ‘My diagnosis from what we see here, is that you Information
convertors going through the analogue console, need to get a set of better convertors with better stereo Resolution recommends Bob Katz’s book
then capture back into stereo from the console’s separation and less colouration. Sell your console and Mastering Audio — The Art and the Science
analogue summing bus. And this time I can’t buy a pair of modules for their colouration. Perhaps as an essential source of information for
predict what’s going to happen.’ you will only feed a portion of the mix through those every pro audio enthusiast who cares
The sonic result of the fourth file was decidedly modules, because their colouration may not lend about sound. You can buy it on line at
www.digido.com
ambiguous. Compared to file #3, we weren’t sure if something to every instrument or voice.

58 resolution July/August 2005


ten
your business

Things that really should go THIS YEAR’S MODEL (SOFTWARE) — You go to


As professionals we know what works and what doesn’t and surely this means we have to the trade show and there is a new version of a product
you bought six months ago. What’s the difference? It
complain when something is creating problems. However, most of us just focus on the big does a dozen new things you don’t need and costs
more. While you’d like to feel smug and walk on you
issues believing that the smaller annoyances will just go away. KEITH SPENCER-ALLEN
hear that all future upgrades will built on this new
(AKA Victor Meldrew) selects ten things that should have, but haven’t, become history. version...

THE BUG FIX — You


patiently wait for a fix for
THE PHONO PLUG TV AD SOUND the software you bought into
— No component LEVELS — You know so that it doesn’t misbehave,
should appear the situation — you’re only to find that it still doesn’t
on professional involved in a thought- enable you to do what you
equipment whose provoking programme on commercial TV when originally purchased it to do.
sole advantage is it goes to the ad break. Suddenly a dynamically The problem is the phrase
that it’s very cheap restricted voice bursts into the room, sending ‘It will’ that has entered
if in every other you scurrying for the remote to turn the volume the English language from
way it’s a problem. down. We sit through the ads at an acceptable multiple origins, all with
Originally used for level and then raise the volume for the restart of slightly different emphasis
high impedance unbalanced consumer applications, the programme. I know the arguments about the including the conveniently
such as connecting vinyl record pickup arms to techniques used to create the punchy dynamically interchangeable meanings ‘It
preamplifiers (hence the name, which in the US restricted soundtrack give a perceived loudness that does (now)’ and ‘It has the
is usually prefixed with RCA as the apparent first doesn’t equate to traditional audio measurement. potentiality to do so’!
user). However, it has a limited life, it’s difficult to I’ve read the tech papers and seen the new tools
wire reliably (Although doing so will reliably burn that might solve this but have they? Surely this
your fingers. Ed), and intermittent or noisy after a is a simple question of balancing, like mixers do
few months. Superior ‘pro’ versions are available everyday, subjectively matching different audio
with improved performance and even gold contacts signals to create a harmonious structure. As ads
but they still mate to the same dubious quality panel are loaded to the server the audio track should be
sockets with uncertain high level signal contact. And adjusted to a more uniform perceived level. Or has
don’t even think about using the too-short leads deskilling at the broadcasters removed anyone with
supplied in the box... be gone! ears capable of doing this? HOT CD/DVD — The argument for recording your
media hot really disappeared with the vinyl disc so
SUPER SHRINK-WRAPPED MEDIA — I’m calling MYSTERIES OF why are so many CDs now having the level laid
it ‘shrink-wrapped’ THE POINT ONE on so thick? With multiband compression across
because I don’t know — I’d thought almost all broadcast outputs, all you are doing is
any better but you that by now leaving Mr Optimod to remix your track for you. In
recognise the situation; we would have contrast, I’m experiencing a lot of under modulation
you’re trying to open understood what on DVDs. Perhaps there could be an exchange of life
a DAT, CD-R, MD... in to do with the .1 goals here.
fact any media that comes in a case. The manufacturer in surround music
has spent years perfecting the ability to tightly wrap but I sense there
its smooth surfaces and angular edges in fine plastic of is still confusion.
immense strength and no discernible end. While they Excusable perhaps
place an arrow on the wrapping meant to indicate the when you take a brace of surround formats developed
means of opening, that is just a diversion because for the movie world, with strict guidelines for audio
you’re soon reaching for a razor blade to slit it open, content and replay, and unexpectedly let them lose on
scoring the plastic casing and often drawing blood in the anarchic music industry without an understanding
the process. The vilified tobacco industry can at least of how they might transfer. I still run into confusion
get its pack wrapping openable by fingers. about the centre channel but the .1 is easy to deal
with. Unless your music has need of low frequency
NOISY FANS — The digital headroom extension that the response of five or more
revolution ushered in imperceptible full range channels cannot handle, ignore it!
noise floors and the means to
mask it so in practice you never THIS YEAR’S
know what you have! If you M O D E L
squeeze impossibly large amounts (HARDWARE) —
of digital electronics in a confined You go to the trade THE REMOTES — I’m running out of space around
space it creates a lot of heat and the simple solution show and there the console for all the remote controls — wired and
is a fan, and most commonly, a cheap and noisy is a new version infrared — that need to be kept within reach. The wired
one. The issue isn’t so much the big console power of a product you remotes have overrun the allotted space on the console
supplies or the digital processor racks, which have to be bought six months and get in the way of the channels. The infrareds sit is
somewhere else, but the smaller units, the computers, ago. What’s the a large bowl with colour coded ends to aid recognition
the hired processors that gradually appear. As a user, difference? A new among their uniform grey plasticness, and even then it
solving this is expensive, so we need more help from front panel, a very is almost quicker to approach the machine rather than
the makers. Apple has shown some initiative with the slight improvement in spec, and a drop in price. By find the remote. Short of a voice-activated touchscreen
G5, nine fans and an airflow management system, but just being seen to be active, the manufacturer has master remote control, I don’t know the answer but I’d
more (or is it less?) of this please. obsoleted its customers. like it to go away, please. ■

July/August 2005 resolution 59


technology

Audio Processing Accelerators


At the Frankfurt Musik Messe, Waves gave Resolution an advance look at its new Audio Processing Accelerator hardware units, designed to
allow users to run multiple instantiations of Waves’ most CPU-hungry plug-ins. Released at the Barcelona AES, the Accelerators offer the ability
to combine units for extra power and to share resources among multiple units in a manner that has interesting implications for the future of
DAW work. Waves’ GARRETT SODEN gives an insight into how the products were developed and outlines the benefits to end users.

A
MONG MANUFACTURERS OF audio seemed like an obvious choice (and one recently share the resources among several users, and use
plug-ins, Waves have long been known as a developed by Apple), but that approach brought its long cable runs if needed. At that point the conceptual
developer of several industry-standard tools, own challenges. The first was that dedicating another components of the Audio Processing Accelerator, or
and was the first developer of third-party plug-ins for computer entirely to audio duties is an expensive and APA, were in place.
Digidesign products back in 1992. So the company inelegant solution. This could be overcome easily This was all very well in theory, but the devil is
is no stranger to the effort required to produce enough by creating a product that contained a CPU always in the details. The challenge facing Waves was to
powerful audio software that fits within the confines and just the hardware necessary to handle the job. develop software that could ship audio to and from the
of a specific DSP chip or CPU. However, advanced The second problem was more daunting: how to get APA without undue latency and that would work with
plug-ins, such as Waves IR-1 Parametric Convolution the signal to and from the box efficiently. the myriad requirements of the host DAWs that Waves
Reverb and L3 Multimaximizer, have begun driving Again, the Waves team looked at the available has traditionally supported. And that raised questions.
hardware right to the edge of its capability. The solutions: a PCI-card inside the host computer, a Should the software be a driver installed separately from
situation is frustrating not only for users, but also for FireWire connection, or a USB connection. The PCI- the plug-ins on the host computer? Should it require
Waves engineers, who yearn to build radical plug- card approach was rejected as the least desirable as separate authorisation? Should the software employ the
ins (think multiband tools covering dozens of bands it takes up valuable real estate inside the computer ‘giant dongle’ approach that requires the hardware to be
instead of just five) if they can only access system and is trickier for users to install. But the newer present before the software will work?
resources that are up to the demand. FireWire and USB methods also didn’t thrill the ‘We rejected all of these options because they
More than two years ago the company foresaw the engineers at Waves; once again, these standards would negate the flexibility of Ethernet connectivity,’
looming system crunch and began research to address had not kept up. ‘We finally realised that there was states Shaashua. Without going into the details,
the problem. The obvious approach was to build an already a standard out there which had surpassed Waves engineers found a clever way to turn Ethernet
outboard box similar to those already marketed by FireWire and USB in terms of speed, efficiency, cost- to their own ends, sending the audio over the wire
other plug-in manufacturers containing a dedicated effectiveness and flexibility,’ Shaashua comments, using a proprietary method.
DSP chip programmed to handle the extra load. But ‘and that was Ethernet.’ The resulting software was dubbed Netshell, in
given the exponential growth of software power, The advantage of using stock CPUs and Ethernet keeping with the Waveshell tag familiar to Waves
Waves engineers doubted that this solution could components meant that the envisioned Waves users. Like the Waveshell, Netshell is a utility that
keep up with future developments. ‘Over the last hardware box could easily keep pace with DAW is all but invisible to the user; it is installed along
few years DSP chips haven’t advanced very quickly evolution because it would be based on industry with the plug-ins themselves and takes care of the
compared to CPU power,’ notes Meir Shaashua, co- standards that are constantly being upgraded. Waves details required to make an APA unit work with the
founder and chief technology officer of Waves. ‘The could therefore upgrade its box anytime by employing various DAW platforms on Mac or PC. Because neither
power of a typical DSP chip has gone from 20MHz to more powerful CPU and Ethernet components Netshell nor the APA units require authorisation, a
200MHz, while over that same time CPUs have gone whenever they became available. Moreover, using user is free to connect an APA to any computer that
from 12MHz to 4GHz.’ Ethernet meant that standard Ethernet switches could contains authorised Waves plug-ins.
Harnessing the power of a second CPU, then, be used to combine the power of multiple boxes, The last hurdle was to rewrite the code of the

60 resolution July/August 2005


technology

Waves plug-ins to be compatible with Netshell. To


bring APA to market as soon as possible, the team
decided to focus on the most CPU-intensive plug-ins
for the initial release and to bring others in later. For
the less CPU-hungry plug-ins, Waves is planning
to release a plug-in ‘chainer’ that will allow several
plug-ins to share the audio shipping overhead, so that
running them on the APA will be more efficient than
running them on the host.
There are two flavours of APA: the APA32 (MSP
US$1600) and the APA44-M (MSP US$2400). The
APA32 is a 1U rackmount designed for use away from
a recording environment, such as in a machine room.
As an example of its power, the APA32 can run six
IR-1 Convolution Reverbs, or six L3 Multimaximizers,
or 11 Linear Phase Equalisers, or 14 C4 Multiband
Processors at 44.1kHz.
The APA44-M is a half-rack unit that that features
up to 30% more processing power and nearly silent
operation; it is ideal for mobile use. A kit enables two
APA44-M units to be mounted in a 1U space.
APA units are connected to the host computer via a
standard Ethernet port. To increase power, up to eight
units can be used together with an Ethernet switch.
The units can also be shared among several DAW
workstations via a suitable V-LAN configuration, with
each workstation accessing up to eight APA units.
While it is physically possible to connect an APA
on the same network as an Internet connection, this
defeats the effort that has gone into the software
to make the APA work as fast as it does; therefore,
Waves strongly recommends that an Ethernet card
be dedicated solely to the APA. It is also possible to
use a 100mps Ethernet card, but again, a 1000mps
Ethernet card is recommended for full functionality,
and is required for multiple APAs or multiple users
sharing APAs.
With the advent of the APA units, Waves’ engineers
now have the processing muscle needed to realise
some of the more elaborate audio tools that have
danced in their heads over the years. The first is the
upcoming Waves L4, which builds on technology
introduced in the company’s L3 Multimaximizer,
released in August last year.
The L3 is a 5-band linear phase equaliser and
limiter combination with a new twist: the processor
intelligently and automatically determines how much
attenuation to apply to each band, allowing it to use
all the headroom available to dramatically increase
loudness without artefacts or overshoot. Release
behaviour can be customised for different tonal
characteristics, while the ‘priority’ and ‘separation’
controls allow for very fine adjustment of the limiting
applied to each band. The magic behind the L3 is and services will be opportunities for growth.’
Waves’ patented Peak Limiter Mixer, or PLM. Keren sees the company’s Netshell products as a
While the L3 used the PLM to intelligently control strategic move in that direction and he envisions that
bands, the L4 will do the same for audio tracks. This there will be a need for much more. ‘I think we’ll see
new plug-in concept allows for mixing 64 tracks of servers dedicated to audio and that can serve multiple
audio based on level, priority and global limiting. The clients simultaneously, providing services such as
L4 will decide, depending on user defined priority, mixing, project management, format conversion, data
when and which tracks to limit, based on the overall compression, backup and archiving, and much more.
output level desired. This plug-in will perform such It will be a paradigm shift for the way we think and
complex calculations that it will almost certainly need work with audio.’
the Netshell technology to handle a large mix. For Waves, then, the years of work put into the APA
As for networking, while today’s APA is designed and Netshell was not just toward the development of
to increase processing capacity, subsequent Netshell a single product or even a line of products, but rather a
releases will build on the technology’s capabilities to large wager that the future of audio will be in powerful,
dynamically share and allocate resources. ‘Networking flexible, and shared resources. Only time will tell if the
is the next big thing,’ states Gilad Keren, co-founder wager will pay off, but in the meantime Waves has
and CEO of Waves. ‘Networking both in an intranet taken the familiar DSP box and refashioned it into
sense and in a wide area sense, such as citywide, a new kind of beast soon to be on the prowl along
countrywide and worldwide. Both backbone products network paths near you. ■

July/August 2005 resolution


slaying dragons

What’s arractive about magnetism?


Almost all aspects of audio production rely on some aspect of magnetism, yet it’s a Cinderella subject. JOHN WATKINSON believes a
wider appreciation of the principles can only lead to better products and, ultimately, better sound and he’s drawing you in to understand.

or storage purposes and for permanent magnets, we


prefer materials that are magnetically hard. In these
john watkinson

the domain walls take a lot of shifting so the material


tends to stay in the state in which we put it. This is
the phenomenon of hysteresis. Without hysteresis
there would be no magnetic recording as the tape
would go back to zero magnetisation as soon as it left
the record head.
Herein lies the great paradox of analogue tape
recording. Without hysteresis we can’t record, but
hysteresis makes the transfer function non-linear
and that results in distortion. The solution was the
invention of high frequency bias: a signal added to
the record waveform. As the tape moves away from
the trailing pole of the record head, the strength of
the bias field decays rapidly while the audio signal
is undiminished. Thus the tape sees the applied field
oscillate around the average value set by the audio
waveform. Effectively the tape particles are taken
round a series of diminishing hysteresis loops and end
‘Without hysteresis there up at the magnetism set by the audio level.
Fundamentally, analogue magnetic recording is
would be no magnetic
not infinitely variable. The signal can only exist
recording as the tape at one of a series of discrete positions where the
would go back to zero domain walls are stable. In professional analogue
magnetisation as soon as recorders having high tape speed and wide tracks,
the amount of magnetic material is extremely large
it left the record head.’
and so the signal resolution is high. However, in
‘Ferrite is a miserable the Compact Cassette the combination of narrow
tracks and slow tape speed means that the resolution
material for permanent simply isn’t good enough.
magnets. If it were food, For similar reasons, audio transformer design is
it would be a fish finger.’ quite difficult. To minimise distortion due to hysteresis,
the levels in the transformer must be kept very low and
the magnetic volume must be kept high to maintain
resolution. It all adds to the cost. Transformers

M
AGNETISM IS SO UTTERLY central to to be randomly oriented so the net result is zero. In traditionally provided the solution to noise induced
audio technology that it’s almost impossible a similar way, a variable degree of magnetisation can in microphone cables and give true isolation between
to list the places where it is used. Instead only be obtained with a large number of particles primary and secondary. Today we can put an A-DC at
we can try to break down the uses into categories. where the randomness has been replaced by a degree the microphone and run the signal in an optical fibre.
We might start with power. Magnetism is employed of order. When the randomness has been eliminated On the widespread introduction of digital audio
in power generation, in transformers, motors and and all the particles are aligned, clearly no greater tape formats in the 1980s, there was a great hue
solenoids. A moving coil loudspeaker contains a field strength can be obtained and the material is said and cry from the Luddites because of quantisation in
kind of electric motor, based on a magnet. In lower- to be saturated. digital audio. This couldn’t be any good, because the
powered applications, the magnetic fields may carry Particles of identical spin orientation clump together real world is linear and so analogue must be better.
information instead of delivering power. In the audio in volumes called domains. Spin orientation changes It struck me then as hilarious that such remarks
transformer and the analogue tape head, the strength at domain walls. Changing the magnetisation of displayed a total ignorance of how analogue tape
of the magnetic field is an analogue of the audio a material must result in some domains getting actually works. Such views continue to emerge from
waveform and so we need a high degree of accuracy larger and some getting smaller. Moving a domain time to time to provide entertainment that stops short
for good sound quality. Magnetism can also be used wall requires energy that is lost as heat, which is of enlightenment, but then that is part of what the
to store information. Analogue and digital tapes, hard why analogue erase heads get hot. If insufficient audio industry is about.
and floppy disks, credit cards and metro tickets. energy is available, the wall doesn’t move. Thus Once it is appreciated that all magnetic recording
Magnetism is thought to be due to orbiting electrons. what appears on a macroscopic scale to be a gradual is discrete, it becomes clear that it must be more
In most materials, there is an even number of electrons increase in magnetic field strength is actually the efficient to record discrete data on magnetic media.
and they always orbit in opposite directions thereby result of a large number of discrete steps in domain The two states of binary sit together naturally with
cancelling out any magnetic effect. However, in a wall positions. These jumps produce what is known the two directions N-S and S-N in which it is easy to
small number of materials, there are an odd number as Barkhausen noise. It’s the magnetic equivalent of magnetise a medium with a head. Given that digital
of electrons, and the odd one out produces a net quantising noise. media can have multiplexing, error correction and
magnetic field. One of the things to appreciate about Materials vary in their resistance to domain wall timebase correction, it seems odd that anyone would
magnetic materials is that at molecular level they movement. For items such as audio transformers and want to use analogue media suffering from wow
are always fully magnetised. The only way we can tape heads, we want materials where the movement and flutter, dropout, modulation noise and crosstalk
apparently demagnetise such a material is to arrange is easy, so the magnetism follows the waveform. Such between channels and needing regular maintenance.
for the electron spins of a large number of particles a material is called magnetically soft. For recording I suppose if you can’t afford a limiter then tape

62 resolution July/August 2005


slaying dragons showcase

saturation sounds better than digital clipping.


Loudspeakers depend heavily on permanent
magnets. What we want is a magnetic field in the gap
where the coil operates. Unfortunately while we can
use soft magnetic materials, such as steel, to guide the
field from the magnet proper, there are no magnetic
insulators (apart from superconductors) so we cannot
prevent flux going where we don’t want it. Thus the
best magnetic circuit design follows where the flux
would naturally want to go. As lines of force mutually
repel, the logical place to put the magnet is inside the
coil so the diverging field naturally heads for the coil.
This used to be how loudspeakers were made using
cobalt-based magnets such as Alnico. However,
third-world politics made the price of cobalt soar, and
manufacturers turned to ferrite. Ferrite is a miserable
material for permanent magnets. If it were food, it
would be a fish finger. Its magnetic strength is so poor
that huge quantities of the stuff are needed; too much
to put inside the coil. Thus the ferrite magnet goes
outside the coil and the magnetic circuit is unnatural
so the result is a huge amount of leakage, solved by
making the magnet bigger still, with equally massive
showcase
pole pieces to collect weak flux from a large area and
focus it on the gap.
Today’s woofers with ferrite magnets are massively
and unnecessarily heavy. However, there has been Resolution
rapid progress in new hard magnetic materials based
on Neodymium. The energy density of these is such
that the same loudspeaker can use one tenth the
classified section
magnet volume, typically weigh half as much and
have negligible leakage. As more people become To advertise here
aware of the advantages of Neodymium magnets, the call: +44 (0)1273 236681
cost is falling dramatically.
In a loudspeaker motor, the coil moving through
the magnetic field produces a back EMF that subtracts
from the drive voltage. With a conventional zero-
output-impedance amplifier, the back EMF generates
into a circuit whose only resistance is that of the
coil. We would like to use a stronger magnet to
make the drive unit more efficient, but if we do,
the damping becomes too great and the woofer
frequency response rolls off prematurely. This is
only a problem in passive loudspeakers. In active
designs it is possible to equalise electronically. In this
case a magnet that would be oversized in a passive
speaker can be used to raise efficiency. In a powerful
loudspeaker, a large amplifier and power supply are
needed. If the efficiency of the drive unit can be
doubled, the power supply and amplifier become half
as big for the same SPL. That saving more than pays
for the bigger magnet.
Perhaps one day we will have room temperature
superconductors. A loudspeaker with a zero-
resistance coil would be incredibly efficient but would
not respond in the same way as a conventional
unit. However, in an active system that wouldn’t
be a problem. ■

• Magnetism is hysteretic and fundamentally non-


linear. Thus analogue tape is not automatically
better than digital; it’s the other way round.
• New high-energy magnetic materials will reduce
the weight and power consumption of future
audio equipment.
• Good audio transformers are expensive and
alternative approaches such as optical fibres
may be considered.
• W i t h o u t m a g n e t i s m i t ’s b a c k t o t h e
phonograph.

July/August 2005 resolution 63


your business

Professor Kenilworth
dan daley

dissects the producer


The music production process may have its own peculiar and changing dynamic but it
doesn’t lend itself particularly well to scrutiny and analysis by outsiders, particularly not
by academia. DAN DALEY lies down on the couch and, unsurprisingly, tells us everything.

since the magazine was completely rude to women substance abuse from VH-1’s Behind the Music, another
(but in a nice sort of way that helped avoid litigation). thing altogether when Professor Kenilworth posits it as
There was one feature every month that I got a Neo-Freudian angst.
perverse kick out of ‘Professor Kenilworth Dissects the All this came to mind when I received notice of
Joke’, in which some imaginary amalgam of classic a conclave entitled ‘The Art of Record Production
professorial academic twits — Colonel Blimp with Conference’ which is scheduled to be held 17-18
mortarboard and tassel — attempts to apply contextual September in London, and which will be co-hosted
meaning and dialectic deconstructionism to theorems by West Focus, CHARM (the AHRB Research Centre
that generally start off with the phrase, ‘Two blokes for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music), the
walk into a pub…’ University of Westminster, the London College of
Professor Kenilworth was funny at times, but it Music & Media, and Thames Valley University. The
ultimately dug its own grave because it had to constantly gathering’s purpose is to analyse the role of the record
apply existential gravitas to something that simply didn’t producer. It will do so by addressing several key points,
warrant it. It all too often seems as though comedy and including (please note wording):
academia don’t mix in other scenarios; those times that • How do gestalt-grouping theories of music perception
a UCLA film course would bring in, say, Jerry Seinfeld, relate to audio processing techniques that alter the
people were coming as much for the one-liners as for perceived clarity of a recording?
‘I tend to be sceptical when fellows
any analysis of them; the famed ‘Inside The Actors • How might theories of music as a metaphor for the
with pointy beards ask rock ‘n’ Studio’ can teach its student audience a thing or two, but embodied expression of emotions be borne out by
roll to lie down on the couch.’ a couple of million people tune in mainly to see Robin the way certain audio treatments can emphasise or
Williams bounce off the walls. even alter the emotional content of a performance?
‘Record production is about conflict There are plenty of music culture courses at colleges • How do the aesthetics of mixing relate to commercial
and the bringing of immature and universities that can provide useful overviews of pressures and the perception of authenticity?
egos into close contact with each pop music, and personally I did enjoy the Rolling Stones • Do issues of authenticity cloud the judgement [sic] of
other for prolonged periods.’ a bit more fully once I’d been exposed to what the the sonic qualities of vintage recording equipment?
music of the Mississippi Delta was like during the Great • (And my personal favourite) How has scarcity of
Depression. But I tend to be sceptical when fellows with equipment been implemental in the development of

T
WENTY SOME-ODD YEARS AGO there was pointy beards ask rock ‘n’ roll to lie down on the couch. particular generic ‘sounds’? (e.g. Jamaican reggae,
a magazine in the States called the National These sorts of academic movements over the years have South African kwaito, garage rock, etc.)
Lampoon. It was a sarcastic humour publication produced their own unintendedly humorous results, as Scarcity of garage rock band equipment? Stop in at
— a direct descendant of the even snootier Harvard if a state-owned broadcaster showed Spinal Tap as an Guitar Centre. Or Sears. Or Sainsbury’s, which now
Lampoon — that combined the assumption of a certain actual documentary. Pop music in general, and rock has Pro Tools section just next to Dairy (He’s jesting
level of education and affluence (high) and certain level music in particular, suffers under the weight of too much readers, but you know what he’s getting at. Ed). And
of maturity (low), almost solely on the part of men, analysis. It’s one thing to get the skinny of so-and-so’s to my knowledge reggae bands have yet to suffer a

EmbracingSound™
Technology involving your senses.
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Visit our website at www.embracingsound.com

64 resolution July/August 2005


your business

lack of export-grade guitar amps from Eastern Europe Moon in a booksellers that served alcohol. sort of bitter observations about the new order of
and Kent electric guitars — and just ask David Lindley Record producers, of all the job rubrics in the the music business from veteran producers as I have
how unique and great a cheap guitar can sound. production of music, have the most reason to be from recording studio owners, both annoyed at what
To its credit, the conference also intends to address introspective and have the most to gain from such has become accessibility and democratisation (read:
issues that seem a bit more grounded in everyday navel-gazing. And just as Robert DeNiro’s mobster dumbing down) of music production. I too wish the
reality: character found it useful to get some objective advice producer’s role, in what is now a full century of actual
• What have been the milestone changes in production from Billy Crystal’s psychiatrist in the movie Analyse record production, were recognised and rewarded as
techniques and technology? (You could get a fat This!, producers could benefit from the detached and much as it should be.
book or a multipart BBC series on that one.) dispassionate scrutiny that the academic eye could However, what I would rather see producers,
• How much have recording technology and professional bring to bear on the topic. and engineers, and studio owners do, is accept the
practice determined the sound of particular genres or But mostly, as I hope three years or so of this inevitable and reinvent themselves as best they
geographical music cultures? (In other words, how column have helped induce, producers need to can. There’s a lot of opportunity out there right
did AutoTune go from being applied in secret and understand that their place in the grand scheme of now. And if you really want to be analysed by
subject to a nondisclosure agreement to becoming just things has changed considerably and will continue to academia, you can always leave what’s left of your
another effect along with reverb?) and… change and evolve. I have heard many of the same mind to science. ■
• How do creative and financial interests interact in
the stimulation of product development? (Not well
at all, usually, especially when the financial interests
keep trying to convince the creative interests that
what they’re actually making is a ‘product’ as
opposed to ‘music’.)
It’s the purposely obtuse language of academia that
You enjoy and value
obscures the truth and brings the inadvertent Prof.
Kenilworth laughs. But in a way, academia simply your copy of Resolution.
has a patter all its own, just as music recording does. If
someone uninitiated were plopped down in the middle
of a recording session, they might be intimidated by
the sheer volume of technology around them as well
as the animated, often menacing way in which we go
You look forward to every issue.
about creating music. Tantrums are standard issue.
Record production, like anything creative, is about
conflict and the bringing of immature egos into close
contact with each other for prolonged periods. But
Then you must register
as anyone who has tried to intervene in a bar fight
has learned, attempts to impose order on what is on-line to continue receiving it.
by nature a chaotic and disorderly process generally
produce dismal results. (Then again, ever seen two
professors fight it out over a tenure slot? It looks like
Take your RES number and
a Peruvian soccer match.)
It’s understandable why academics would want postcode as shown on the wrapper
to probe deeply into the creative process that is the of the magazine and go to the
producer’s domain. Making records is not quite like ‘My Subscription’ section
working in a bank or a convenience store (though at www.resolutionmag.com
thanks to Garageband, give it time). Nonetheless, Answer the questions and
the base behaviour of the music industry is not tell us that you want to
necessarily well served by the language used by, say, continue receiving Resolution
anthropologists to describe primitive societies. A good
example crossed my desk a few months ago in the form Check out the new website
of a treatise, written by N. Anand, a very nice fellow while you’re there
and assistant professor of organisational behaviour at
London Business School, where his research focuses Tell your colleagues about it
on the structuring of organisational fields in the culture If you have discarded your
industries (that means you), who had read my last wrapper and don’t have your
book and had very kind words for it. He sent me his ‘RES’ number, send an email to
most recent thesis. register@resolutionmag.com
‘Tournament rituals in the evolution of fields: the with your name and address and
case of the GRAMMY awards: we’ll get back to you.
We show how award ceremony rituals influence
organisational field evolution through four critical
processes: distributing prestige in ‘situated’ performances;
enacting a highly charged ceremonial form designed to
attract the collective attention of a field; serving as a
medium for surfacing and resolving conflicts about the
legitimacy of field participants; and tightening horizontal
linkages within the field. Using the GRAMMY Awards as
a case study, we present a mixed-method, longitudinal
• All the latest industry and production news • Product reviews by the industry’s leading reviewers •
analysis of these processes operating in tandem.’
While my own frontal lobes found much worth • Facility reports • Producer interviews • Practical application features • Business issues and trends •
considering in his dissertation, that part of me that Everything you need to know to keep ahead
knows how the whole thing actually works on a
visceral level suspects that this is what would have www.resolutionmag.com
happened had Margaret Mead encountered Keith

July/August 2005 resolution 65


headroom

PRAISE INDEED AND TONY V What an issue! March was one of best audio magazines
I have ever read. I thought October 2004 (V3.7), April
I had to write to tell you how much I enjoyed the last 2004 (V3.3) and March 2005 (V4.2) were good but this
issue (V4.4) and what a great mixture of features it was exceptional even by your high standards! I want
had. I work most in sound postproduction now but I’ve to see how you keep this up.
worked for broadcast and started in a recording studio Dave Doyle, Eire
and I read this issue from front to back. I like how you
talk to the people and how you get inside their jobs and Kind words indeed but complacency is not part of our
how they see their work. The reviews are important to package! I’ll attempt to answer some of the points as well
me (I’m happy that you are now including prices at last!) as I can. We’ve been running prices in our reviews for a
but it’s the people that makes Resolution so different couple of years now. With regard to excellence, I think
for me. I’m not in their ‘league’ and I don’t get to do accountability has largely been removed from a variety
the sort of gigs they do but I still learn from them and of sound production chains essentially because many
it’s encouraging that they see things like I do. of those chains have been reinvented and the personal
Audio is a craft that’s done by people that use contact and responsibility has been eroded. Also, many Latest addition to the Turner clan is young Rylan who is
equipment and work in studios for a business. The projects pass through more hands than they did of old apparently a devoted Resolution reader. Jeff is keen to
four things are connected for me, you can’t look at one and in some disciplines it is now increasingly rare to see discuss potential endorsement and sponsorship deals
without looking at the others. That’s important to me a project through from start to finish. Gary Langan makes for the young lad.
and I think that if more people made that connection some good points on this for music recording in this issue.
we would all be more professional. However, accountability does still exist in certain scales
I agree with you that we should demand excellence
too. That’s not too much to ask. I find in my work that
of film production where everyone knows where a buck
has stopped, so it can still be done. I have a suspicion Advertisers Index
people that supply me with material don’t present it in that your gripe may be with picture related ‘suppliers’. Audio Technica .................................. 49
the manner I need either because they are charging too Perhaps a boozy lunch and a heart to heart might go
little and don’t think it’s part of their job, or that they some way to resolve the issues if you work with them Brauner .............................................. 33
don’t know any better, or that they don’t care. When regularly but you might have to have a lot of these. Calrec ............................................... 43
I was trained we were taught that you completed the Regarding Mr Rujan’s comments, one of the byproducts Dean Cook Productions ....Classified 63
job to the best of your abilities and you wrote your of the DAW method of working is that is has created a
name and phone number on the box because your generation that has known nothing else and has refined Digidesign ......................................... 41
work was a reflection on you. Too much of my time and ‘perfected’ the process. To them, ‘analogue’ could Digital Village .................................... 13
now is cleaning up after other people. almost be regarded as a new format that they may DPA Microphones ............................. 11
B West, Bristol, UK have opinions on but have very limited experience of.
Now I’m not about to advocate a return to all-analogue Enhanced Audio ................Classified 63
working, but I think the points of reference it supplies are ESE .................................................... 64
invaluable. It’s a bit like waking up in bright sunlight at Euphonix ........................................... 27
the end of long journey and having no knowledge of the
snow and thunderstorms of the previous 200 miles and
Fairlight ....................Inside Back Cover
why it took so long. I think analogue working should be Genelec ...................Inside Front Cover
mandatory in all training, if only to appreciate the benefits HE Studio ..........................Classified 63
of the new stuff and to see why things are the way they
are. It’s also very humbling and draws on a completely
IBC ..................................................... 53
different skillset. Jünger Audio .................................... 47
ZS LOUD / Mackie ................................... 7
Lydkraft ............................................. 21
Media Tools ....................................... 48
What a great interview with one of my heroes Tony Merging Technologies ...................... 37
Visconti (V4.4). He talks a lot of sense to me and how
he uses the old ways to work in new ways. I laughed
PMI Audio ......................................... 25
when he said ‘Nowadays a session is five people Schoeps ............................................. 17
watching one guy on a computer’ because he is so SCV London / Fostex ........................ 51
right! Surely other readers must see his humour. This
‘Oh, just sing a bunch and I’ll comp it’ I know so well
SCV London / Hear ........................... 39
and I get tired of it. I try and tell these engineers if Smart AV / Media Tools .................... 15
they have ever added up the time this takes with the Sonic Distribution / Apogee ............. 61
modern fast equipment against what it takes if the
singer just sings it correct. I realise they can never
Sonic Distribution / SE Mics ............. 45
know because they never work like that because they Sonic Distribution / Waves ................. 9
have never worked with a real singer or they think Soundtracs / Digico .......................... 31
their equipment can always improve them. They make
the singer believe that he can’t sing too and they
Studer ..................................Back Cover
never find out! When everyone thinks this way they Studio Spares .................................... 29
are thinking about correcting things before they start. Subscriptions ..................................... 65
How can this method be broken? Only when they see
how great producers work and how they don’t let their
TC Electronics ................................... 19
equipment control them. TL Audio ............................................ 35
I think this was a great magazine. I have read TL Commerce ....................Classified 63
Resolution for years now. I hope to read more of this. Congratulations go out to Resolution head of US
Thank you. sales Jeff Turner and his wife Kelley who tied the knot
Turnkey .............................................. 54
Damian Rujan, Spain in May. Universal Audio ................................. 40

66 resolution July/August 2005


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