NUGEN Audio have released the SEQ-S, a linear phase spline-match EQ.
As with other NUGEN products, SEQ-S appears to be a “no cut corners” approach offering mono, stereo, 5.1 and 7.1 support, stereo MS operation, automated spectrum analysis, curve smoothing and a direct-draw spline interface for corrective application. Jon Schorah, Creative Director for NUGEN Audio, adds,
“Unlike many digital EQs, SEQ-S features a phase profile that is linear across the frequency spectrum which results in natural sounding EQ changes and produces minimal phase artifacts. SEQ-S also includes a unique resolution setting that can be used with high precision in the low frequencies, allowing for highly transparent adjustments without muddying the mix.”
On top of these SEQ-S offers an “Invert” button making usual space saving techniques as literally simple as pressing a bunch. Perhaps most excitingly, the “match” in the “spline-match” description refers to the ability of cloning the EQ in a piece of audio and then transferring onto yours! While SEQ-S won’t be the first EQ to offer this there’s no doubt that NUGEN will offer one of the best applications of this concept so far.
Sennheiser UK has announced further dates for its UK Sound Academy courses, which have proved extremely popular with professional sound engineers, students and others working within the audio industry.
The ‘Basic Wireless Microphones and Monitoring’ course, aimed towards achieving practical setup of small RF systems, will run on 25th June, 20th August and 28th October 2014, whilst the ‘Wireless Mics and Monitoring – The Masterclass’, for experienced engineers, will be launched later in the year.
“Feedback from previous students has been very positive,” says Tim Sherratt, engineering & technical services manager at Sennheiser UK, who heads up the UK Sound Academy. “The combination of e-learning, tutoring and workshops seems to have worked well.” The Sound Academy’s RF training package is accredited by InfoComm and successful participants of the course earn RU credits towards the renewal of their CTS licence. A 20% discount is available for under 24 year olds and a 50% discount for ASD members.
Have the law changes in the UK on wireless mic systems left you a little confused? While systems will still work perfectly some are not legal and it’s been a real headache for performers, venues and businesses. Simon Beesley, Sennheiser UK Product Manager, says:
“Since the move from Channel 69 to Channel 38 for general wireless microphone use across the UK, Sennheiser has been working hard to make sure that everyone who uses a wireless microphone, from the biggest tour to the smallest pub band, theatres and concert halls, corporate events and television and radio reporters, has the correct equipment. This is vitally important as Channel 69 is no longer available for use by the PMSE (Programme Making and Special Events) sector. If you are still operating a wireless system in 798-862 MHz, you are breaking the law.”
If you’re still in a position of needing to change your equipment then Sennheiser have launched an initiative that makes switching, or just upgrading, that little bit easier. All the way from June through to August, Sennheiser are offering £100 towards a new ew 100, 300, or 500 series wireless mic system just by trading in your old system. However, as always with deals like this there are a couple of details that you should be aware of:
The system you trade in must be complete so you’ll need the receiver(s) and mic(s).
The system you trade in doesn’t have to be functional.
That first point is fair enough but that second point makes this a great deal for a lot more people. For full details and breakdown of the actual trade-in process go to the official Sennheiser UK Trade In Trade Up page.
Arturia, a company well known for their soft emulations of classic synthesizers but fresh off the heels of their Wurlitzer V, have stuck with the early electrical keyboard theme and reworked the classic VOX Continental into the imaginatively titled VOX Continental V.
Heard on countless hits from the 60s, the VOX Continental has a very distinct sound and getting this sound exactly right has been the driving force for Arturia. But in true Arturia fashion they didn’t stop there, so on top of getting that sound you also get treated to upper manual, lower manual, and bass pedal sections with independent channels per manual, multiple output effects processors with several popular effects including Leslie and guitar amp simulator outputs, individual pitch tuning, alterable key contact timing, and authentic noise bleed control, to name but a few highlights. However, to our minds the most exciting addition is the inclusion of the J70 mode. The now ultra rare Jennings J70 was VOX creator’s Tom Jennings’ VOX organ forerunner and has been included in the VOX Continental V as a switchable extra.
While some hardware manufacturers can maintain their distance on emulations it’s pleasing to see that the VOX Continental V has been blessed by the present day owners of the VOX brand:
“At VOX, we are happy that Arturia is bringing back to life the VOX Continental, one of the great instruments of the Sixties. Arturia’s software instruments are known for their sound quality and attention to detail — which is exactly what the VOX Continental deserves.”
Although most famous for its sound in the 60s, the VOX Continental has endured throughout the subsequent decades and now enjoys the position of being one of the sounds of rock’n’roll and anybody remotely interested in making this music deserved to give this a look.
French synth developers XILS-Lab have gone one step beyond in their latest release. Not content with already offering the brilliant EMS VCS3 emulation in the XILS 3, they’ve now produced the never-before-released EMS VCS4. And when I say never-before-released I don’t just mean in plugin form, I mean in real life – it never got past the prototype stage. In fact, only two were ever made, one of which belongs to Matt Black from Coldcut.
At a very basic level, a VCS4 is two VCS3s, a keyboard, a mixer and a signal processing unit all in one handy case, but XILS-Lab have completely interlinked the two VCS3s making them operate in serial or side by side, and also coupled them with the famous 256 analogue polysequencer. Also throwing in a whole host of effects and performance controls and features this looks to be a very comprehensive update to one of the rarest synthesizers never made.
Available now as a 32- and 64-bit-compatible virtual instrument and effects plug-in for Mac (AAX, AU, RTAS, VST) and Windows (AAX, RTAS, VST), if you buy direct from XILS-Lab before the 17th June you can take advantage of a special introductory offer that a discounted price of €149, a free eLicenser USB dongle, and a free copy of the XILISTICS preset bank! Full details can be found on the XILS 4 product page where you can also find full audio and video demos.
The Feeling is a band that has produced much of its own work and is interested in, and knowledgeable about, the technology it uses. To have a great sounding mixing console at both Front of House and monitors then becomes a must for their engineers. Jonathan Lewis and Sean Busby-Little, who respectively man these positions, knew that sonically DiGiCo was the right choice; they also knew the SD9’s compact footprint would fit the bill for the venues the band’s current tour is playing.
But Sean had an additional requirement from his desk. “I’m teching for myself, as well as mixing monitors,” he explains. “I needed a small footprint without compromising audio quality, but I needed something that was quick and easy to set up and breakdown each day.”
“My main priority is also audio quality,” adds Jonathan. “ I knew I would get that with the SD9 (and with any DiGiCo!). The desk sounds great right from the in, the pre-amps are crystal clean, and the EQ sounds fantastic; it actually allows you to be creative rather than just being corrective.”
“The SD9 has two 12 fader banks, which makes everything accessible,” Sean continues. “I also needed a desk with two
PFL busses, as I am running both a Sennheiser G2 in ear system and wedges simultaneously – I love the easy way you can route channels and outputs to wherever you need them; DiGiCo desks are very versatile and there aren’t really any limits to what you can route where, and the sound quality is incredible. DiGiCo is very well regarded in the industry for a good reason. The preamps sound really good; you plug in the mic ‘1, 2, 1, 2, check’ and the sound is already good. The four band EQ is also really responsive; no matter how much you have to carve out from the signal, it always sounds great, it has real body and live-ness to it that’s hard to describe.”
Jonathan’s other priority is how the desk works as a creative tool. “I believe mixing is a combination of technical knowledge and creativity,” he says. “With the SD9 I can put any inputs in any place I need, which makes mixing a joy and allows me to be artistic. The two banks of 12 faders works really well for FOH. I set one bank to be my input channels, and the other bank to DCA’s, Groups, FX sends, and Matrix’s etc. This was incredibly easy to navigate and gave me full control of the band at all times. As I was taking the desk in the trailer along with all our backline (which is a lot!), the size of the SD9 was key. The amount of channels you get for the size is excellent, this also kept the tour manager happy as it fits in nice and easy.”
Sean is running 42 inputs, six stereo in ears, one mono in ears, three wedge mixes and, on some days, two side fills, whilst Jonathan has 34 inputs, plus the electric guitars running through a stereo group.
“I’ve then got eight Matrix outputs set up (input from the L+R mix). The PA and venues were very different each night on this tour, so I needed total flexibility when it came to output distribution.”
For both engineers, this means the console has to be intuitive.
“Working with a DiGiCo is just like having an analogue channel strip in front of you,” says Sean. “The touch ‘n’ turn knob is great, very fast and easy to dial things in. The Macros mean you can apply multiple functions to one button, and the copy and paste function means that you can pick a channel to copy from, or copy to, on the faders; this is so much quicker than on other digital desks.
“Having the eight local in/outs are very useful if you need to throw another input/output quickly at the stage without delving into a rack. The assignable PFL/AFL busses can be routed to either the wedge buss or your in ears buss, so you don’t have to listen to a ears mix coming out of your PFL wedge, but again are easily assignable if you do want to.
“The ease with which you can group stereo channels together, so that you can increase the channel view count that you have on your screen is great. There are just so many features to the SD Series that make life that little bit easier and quicker.”
Whilst the band left it up to the engineers to choose the desk they wanted, both engineers agree that they really do notice how things sound and show an interest in how easy a console is to use.
“The band left the choice of desk up to us,” says Jonathan. “But they are very technically minded, so do pick up on how things sound. The guitarist especially will always come and have a listen to FOH during sound check. He commented several times on how clear everything sounded. Credit to the pre amps!”
And what of support?
“We spoke to DiGiCo’s support team at the beginning of the tour; we didn’t have a problem, we just needed to clarify a couple of things as we were running one DiGiCo MADI Rack and sharing gains between monitors and FOH,” Sean concludes. “The technical support team were excellent, they were very quick to respond and dealt with our query very efficiently.”
World beating analysis suite, Nugen Audio’s Visualizer, has now been updated to include compatibility with Avid’s 64bit AAX technology, as well as 64bit and VST3 formats for non-Avid platforms. Straight from Nugen Audio:
Visualizer provides comprehensive audio analysis for recording, mixing, and mastering in a single plug-in, offering a standardized reference set of professional tools designed to help audio engineers work faster, avoid mistakes, repeat past successes, and understand the success of others. With the latest upgrade, Visualizer is now among the first in the industry to be compatible with Avid Pro Tools 11, the latest version of Avid’s popular digital audio workstation.
With Visualizer, engineers are able to access many different views within a single intelligent window system, which lets them select the view combinations they need. Visualizer automatically resizes and aligns windows to maximize legibility and referencing information across screens. For recording, Visualizer offers tools for calibration, setting levels, signal path checking, noise minimization, and many other audio tasks. At the mixing desk, engineers can use Visualizer for tasks such as low-end control, masking, hidden frequencies, and stereo placement, among many others. For mastering, Visualizer supports a wide range of views such as stereo spread, phase relationships, and EQ distribution.
As a user of Visualizer for many years Book Of Sound was lucky enough to be included on the beta version testing and we’re pleased to report that the GUI has also been given a slight makeover as it now features a rather beautiful dark skin making it much easier on the eyes when used for long periods of time.
If any part of your job involves audio analysis then we fully encourage you to give Visualizer your consideration. The regular price is $199 but there is currently a deal where Nugen Audio site registrants can snag it for $99 and existing Visualizer users get a free upgrade. Full details can be found at the Nugen Audio Visualizer product page.
Disney Research engineers Yoshio Ishiguru and Ivan Poupyrev formally presented their work on 3D interactive speakers at the recent Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Toronto.
The speakers are based on electrostatic speaker technology that was first explored in the early 1930s but never widely adopted. This type of speaker is simpler than conventional electromagnetic speakers and includes no moving parts, which makes it suitable for producing with a 3D printer.
An electrostatic speaker consists of a thin, conductive diaphragm and an electrode plate, separated by a layer of air. An audio signal is amplified to high voltage and applied to the electrode; as the electrode charges, an electrostatic force develops between it and the diaphragm, causing the diaphragm to deform and produce sound as the audio signal changes.
A typical frequency response has not been made available for these types of speaker but it has been noted that there is relatively little bass response, although it does a good job of producing high frequency sounds, such as chirping birds, computer generated blips, and even the human voice. Sound reproduction of up to 60 decibels is possible.
“What’s more, it can generate sound across the entire face of the speaker,” Ishiguro noted. That makes it possible to not only produce directional, cone-shaped speakers but also omnidirectional speakers in which the entire 3D surface emits sound. Also, the speakers can be built with any number or configuration of electrodes; placing multiple electrodes in a curved speaker, for instance, makes it possible to vary the direction of the sound emitted.
Ishiguro and Poupyrev created conductive surfaces by spraying a nickel-based conductive paint and developed a method for making full-body compliant diaphragms using negative molds produced by 3D printing and spraying them with the conductive paint and with a polyethylene coating. Once multi material 3D printers are developed that can print functional electrical circuits and electrodes, these manual steps could be eliminated.
Despite the lack of bass, these look awesome and as well as having obvious commercial and industrial applications there would be a whole range of regular consumers people would be very happy with having their very own, unique, speakers in their life.
Hideaway Studio, aka Dan Wilson, has been responsible for some of the more interesting sample libraries to have been released in the past 18 months. Quite a lot of the time the equipment being used has been lovingly restored by Dan Wilson and this latest library is an example of a synth being brought back from the dead – the synth in question being a Sequential Circuits 6-Trak. Dan writes:
In 1984 Dave Smith and his team at Sequential Circuits released the Six-Trakwhich was one of the first instruments not only to feature the then new MIDI control system but was an early multitimbral offering. As is so often with my ever growing collection of vintage synths at Hideaway, Six-trak number 1551 came in dead and was singing sweetly again after a few days of attention on the slab armed with the oscilloscope and soldering iron. Having rescued this little beasty from the grave I was confronted with an empty patch memory so I set about programming up 100 new patches which resulted in a mammoth sampling session rendering over 4Gbytes of material that was auditioned in Kontakt. Having cherry picked some 70 or so of my favorites I set about looping some 870 or so samples and programming up 100 new instruments in Kontakt.
I have to say I was quite surprised by what I managed to get out of what on paper is quite a humble 1-OSC per voice polysynth. I think there are a few reasons for this – firstly I found the Six-trak to have quite a dark nature to its sound and the filters are great with the whole self oscillation thing launching it into sometimes complete instability but on other occasions rendering bells and percussive sounds aplenty. The way the VCAs are also setup permits the filter to be somewhat overdriven which adds another dimension to its sound.
Out now for £10, and requiring a full version of Kontakt 4.2.4 or higher, it’s available from the Hideaway Studio website along with a (rather fantastic) audio demo.
Soundmorph, the sound design company famous for a range of futuristic libraries such as Solar Sky and User of Tomorrow as well their own Galactic Assistant and Wave Warper software, have come back to the present with a new library, Intervention. Currently on a special pre-sale offer of $159.20, Intervention is the most complete and researched SWAT sound effects library ever made, featuring 26 weapons recorded by Hollywood’s premier weapons recordist, Charles Maynes, as well as gun foley recorded by Matthew E. Taylor.
We’ve compiled a collection of the most frequently used weapons by American SWAT units, offering you a complete sound set to work on modern films, television or games.We’ve even included the source recordings for you to design your own gunshots, and plenty of additional foley, utilities, boots, explosives, gun handling and gear body movements, making this the most developed soundpack library in its genre.
All files are 24bit/96khz stereo files, meticulously embedded with Soundminer & Basehead metadata, including:
26 weapons commonly used by US SWAT teams
Suppressed and burst variations for most weapons
Shot variations for dry, open exterior, interior and urban locations
4 source layers for each weapon, allowing you to design your own shots
14 gun foley weapon sets including reloads, magazine inserts and cocking
SWAT body gear movements
Utilities like night vision goggles, batons, battering rams and more
Large explosives and explosive sweeteners
Designed gun handling files for gun movements
Charles Maynes’ work includes Spider-Man, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier and Resident Evil 5, and he is regarded as one of the go-to people in Hollywood and games for weapons recording.