Industry

AES 2010

New live sound products take center stage. 12/15/2010 6:41 AM Eastern

AES 2010

Dec 15, 2010 11:41 AM, By George Petersen

New live sound products take center stage.




AES 2010

The Audio Engineering Society came into San Francisco from Nov. 4 to 7 for its 129th U.S. convention, which brought hundreds of exhibitors showcasing the latest technologies for pro audio applications.

Besides the show floor, AES 2010 included numerous events with a live sound focus, including technical tours of San Francisco’s Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall and Grace Cathedral, and topical workshops. These included “The Greening of Live Audio for Medium and Small Operators,” “Economics-Driven Change of Touring,” “Selecting and Using Measurement Mics,” “Measurement Systems and Applications,” “Wireless Systems and the Future,” “Subwoofer Directionality,” “Live Sound for Corporate Events,” “Fill Speakers in Sound Reinforcement Systems,” “Networked Audio for Live Sound,” and “Generator Power Issues”.

AES definitely spans the entire world of pro audio, and not just recording. As usual, a lot of the emphasis was on studio gear, but there was an impressive showing of new debuts suited for the live sound and contracting markets as well. Here are some highlights in that area.

First Things First

The big talk at AES was Avid’s release of Pro Tools 9 (PT9). Far more than a simple software update, PT9 users now have the choice of working with the DAW in a $599 software-only standalone configuration or with a choice of Avid or third-party (Core Audio and ASIO) audio interfaces, and with Avid Artist and Pro Series controllers. So if you have a digital board with the appropriate output, recording shows directly to the Pro Tools platform just got a lot easier.

The new software replaces Pro Tools LE and spans upward to Pro Tools 9 HD TDM. Other features include support for 96 mono or stereo voices in the new software-only version of Pro Tools (192 voices with Pro Tools HD systems), 256 internal buses, and 160 aux tracks. After years of operating within a closed environment, this announcement was warmly greeted, not only by interface suppliers at AES (including Apogee, Focusrite, Lynx, RME, and Prism), but also by users who now have more options from which to choose.

beyerdynamic RM 510

beyerdynamic RM 510

Mics and More Mics!

It just wouldn’t be an AES show without lots of new microphones, and this one didn’t disappoint. Beyerdynamic launched its RM 510, an interchangeable ribbon capsule head for its Opus 900 and Opus 600 wireless systems. The cardioid capsule features an ultra-light, 3-micron aluminium ribbon for extended frequency response and excellent transient behavior.

Shure came on strong with several new versions of its Beta microphones, including the Beta 91A boundary mic, Beta 98A miniature instrument mic, and Beta Beta 98AMP miniature drum mic. The Beta 91A is a half-cardioid condenser boundary design intended for kick drum and other LF applications. It has an integrated preamplifier and XLR connector and a low-mid frequency EQ tailoring switch. The Beta 98A is a high-SPL-handling cardioid condenser for acoustic or amplified instruments, including drums, piano, reed, wind, and strings. It’s offered with a gooseneck drum mount (Beta 98AD/C) or with a stand mount (Beta 98A/C). A new variant of the Beta 98A, the Beta 98AMP, combines a new cartridge with a flexible gooseneck, integrated XLR preamplifier, and dual-jaw/quick-release design for easy mounting to drums, percussion, drum hardware, and stands.


AES 2010

Dec 15, 2010 11:41 AM, By George Petersen

New live sound products take center stage.




DPA’s new Reference Standard microphones are a new series of interchangeable mic capsules (omni/cardioid/shotgun/wide cardioid) and preamp bodies (compact, standard, or standard with low-cut/high-boost switches). The compact preamp bodies include a unique side-exit XLR cable that allows placement in extremely tight quarters, such as lid-down piano miking.

Ideal for live theater or HOW applications, Audio-Technica’s BP893 MicroEarset combines an ergonomically molded earpiece and a miniature omni condenser capsule on a 1in. boom that fits over either ear. A 55in. cable connects the mic to an XLR power module (with settings for flat response or an 80Hz filter) or directly to an Audio-Technica UniPak bodypack transmitter; terminations for other wireless systems are also offered.

Speaking of wireless, AKG showed its entry-level Perception Wireless series, which includes the SR 45 diversity receiver with XLR and ¼in. outputs and a choice of handheld, headworn, or lavalier mic/transmitters that all operate on a single AA battery.

Line 6 showed its new line of XD-V series digital wireless mics, with two handheld models and two lavalier systems. The top-end XD-V70 handheld features seven selectable sounds and timbres digitally modeled on popular live sound mics. All XD-V systems feature Digital Channel Lock (DCL) and Proprietary Data Placement (PDP) technologies and broadcast in the 2.4GHz band.

On the higher end pricewise is Sennheiser’s SKM 5200-II, the next generation of its top-of-the-line wireless handheld 470MHz to 638MHz and 614MHz to 697.9MHz transmitter. The SKM 5200-II’s new Low Intermodulation mode provides a minimum of 7 hours operating time. It’s available in black, nickel, and steel blue and can be fitted with a range of capsules, including Sennheiser’s MD 5235 and Neumann’s KK104 and KK105.

Soundcraft Si Compact

Soundcraft Si Compact

Console-ation

AES provided some interesting new developments in the area of live sound consoles.

Offering full DSP functionality in a small-footprint chassis, Soundcraft’s new Si Compact series digital consoles provide up to 40 inputs to mix in three frame sizes with 16, 24, or 32 mic/line inputs and four stereo returns. Features included dedicated FX buses; onboard Lexicon effects; 16 line outputs and AES; an option card slot for MADI or other connectivity; a Global mode for instant access to pan, gain, and filters; a color touchscreen interface; and motorized faders with FaderGlow.

Soundcraft also announced its 4RU Compact Stagebox for Vi and Si consoles, which offers 32 mic/line ins, eight line outs, eight AES/EBU outs, and two expansion slots for Studer D21m I/O cards. The D21m I/O architecture interfaces with digital platforms, such as CobraNet, Aviom A-Net16, EtherSound, ADAT, and RockNet. A MADI recording interface is also available. The Compact Stagebox connects to the host console via Cat-5 or fiber-optic MADI.

Yamaha Commercial Audio StageMix

Yamaha Commercial Audio StageMix

Yamaha Commercial Audio set up a networking lounge where attendees had hands-on access to Yamaha digital gear in networked audio applications, including EtherSound and Dante, the new StageMix iPad application and AuviTran ASIO Streamer, and wireless tablet control of the Yamaha DME and TXn series amps. We particularly liked the StageMix iPad app, which allows remote control of Yamaha M7CL mixer functions from anywhere within wireless range. Via iPad control, engineers can set up monitor mixes from an artist’s position, directly controlling mix parameters—faders, sends, EQs, mutes, buses, etc. Besides the app (which is free from the Apple iTunes Store), all that’s required is a wireless connection from the iPad to a Wi-Fi access point and an Ethernet connection from the Wi-Fi access point to the M7CLv3.


AES 2010

Dec 15, 2010 11:41 AM, By George Petersen

New live sound products take center stage.




Community Professional Loudspeakers Distributed Design Series

Community Professional Loudspeakers Distributed Design Series

Speakers
Renkus-Heinz was showing its CF/CFX Modular Point Source Array system, which is now shipping. Designed for small/midsized venues, the CF101-LA (powered) and CFX101-LA (unpowered) Modular Point Source arrays offer the performance and pattern control of a line array in a compact system with the flexibility to be flown, ground-stacked, or pole-mounted. Up to four of these 10in. two-way cabinets with 15-degree vertical dispersion can be arrayed for 90x60-degree coverage. Single or dual CF15S subs can combine with up to four CF101-LA cabinets to create a compact system rivaling a full-size line array.

When the topic of ceiling speakers comes up, the AES show isn’t the first show that comes to mind, but Community Professional Loudspeakers used the occasion to launch its new Distributed Design range of high-performance ceiling speakers. Designed to provide high-quality sound with very wide, uniform coverage, the series debuts innovative Drop-Stop and Twist-Assist features, making the installation process easier, faster, and safer. Each of the full-range (4.5/5/6/8/10in.) models in the series is a true coaxial design, with a compression driver concentrically located so that high frequencies emerge through the center of the low-frequency driver’s magnetic structure and cone. A 10in., ceiling-mount subwoofer (with 200W handling) is also offered for entertainment applications.

AES returns to New York next fall, but in the meantime, the next European AES is slated for May 13-16, 2011 in London. For more info, visit aes.org.


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