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George Petersen, Editor of FOH Magazine
George Petersen, Editor of FOH Magazine

Okay, Now Get Back to Work!

George Petersen
Editor's Note

All right, now that all this political fuss is over, it’s time to stop posting those silly partisan memes on Facebook and get back to work. Yet despite all those months of backstabbing and mudslinging between all the candidates, I for one am going to miss that drawn out process of primaries and general election frivolities. Well, not the constant barrage of negativity on the television ads and sound bite news journalism, but the massive influx of jobs and gigs it brings to the entire audio industry in terms of providing sound systems for all those rallies, events and fundraisers.

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Main P.A., shown here during the Cage the Elephant set. No elaborate sets here – the emphasis was 100% on providing great sound.  Photo by Steve Jennings
Main P.A., shown here during the Cage the Elephant set. No elaborate sets here – the emphasis was 100% on providing great sound. Photo by Steve Jennings

2016 Bridge School Benefit

George Petersen
Production Profile

Not Just Another Day at the Office for Sound on Stage

In 1986, rocker Neil Young called in some industry friends to help him create a fundraiser for The Bridge School, an innovative organization based just north of San Jose, on the San Francisco peninsula and dedicated to educating children with severe speech and physical impairments through the use of creative approaches to education and communication. The reaction to that first event was an overwhelming outpouring of support from both fans and musical performers alike, and now it continues, after three decades of success and sold-out venues.

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The tour achieves a big sound with a minimalist approach to staging. Photo by Vic Wagner
The tour achieves a big sound with a minimalist approach to staging.Photo by Vic Wagner

On Tour with Sia

Thomas S. Friedman
Production Profile

Sia Kate Isobelle Furler, known mononymously as Sia, recently set attendance records for her “Nostalgic for the Present” tour, which crisscrossed North America in support of her seventh studio album, This Is Acting. The artist is quickly redefining performance art while simultaneously setting the bar for those following in her wake. Special guests Miguel and AlunaGeorge accompanied the singer on the 22-city jaunt that kicked off at the end of September at Seattle’s Key Arena and wrapped up with a Nov. 6 show at Frank Erwin Center in Austin, TX.

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16th Annual Parnelli Awards photo by Richard Crews
16th Annual Parnelli Awards photo by Richard Crews

16th Annual Parnelli Awards

FOH Staff
Features

The 16th Annual Parnelli Awards was on track to be its typical high-energy, funny, and emotional show … and then Tom Petty surprised the audience by taking the podium. He flew in himself and 11 members of the Heartbreaker family to give accolades to his long time tour manager, Richard Fernandez, who received the live events highest honor, the Parnelli Lifetime Achievement Award.

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Large-Format Digital Consoles
Large-Format Digital Consoles

Large-Format Digital Consoles

George Petersen
Buyer's Guide

Sometimes size matters, especially when it comes to the really big shows. We checked out some large format digital consoles and found models to fit nearly anyone’s needs, especially if your channel requirements hover in the near-100 (or more) range. And in this rarefied world of large boards, customization is key, as these big guns typically come with a long list of user-selectable options and choices, making exact price comparisons difficult, unless you configure each model for your particular specific application. But when you’re ready to go large, these are just the first-class ticket.

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Blue Microphones Hummingbird features a swiveling capsule mount
Blue Microphones Hummingbird features a swiveling capsule mount

Blue Microphones Hummingbird

George Petersen
Road Tests

Mid-priced, small-diaphragm condenser microphones are an essential part of the sound reinforcement industry. And with good reason, too. Housed in compact bodies, these offer wide-bandwidth, fast transient response that’s ideally suited for percussion, stringed instruments, piano and more. While these mics are available for a very wide range of budgets — from $50 to well over $1,000 — mid-priced entries, such as the Shure KSM137 and Audio-Technica’s AT4041 offer an excellent balance of price and performance — two more reasons why condensers with $300 retail tags are well-established in the live audio market.

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Allen & Heath dLive Digital Console
Allen & Heath dLive Digital Console

Allen & Heath dLive Digital Console

Vince Lepore
Road Tests

When I got word I’d be reviewing Allen & Heath’s dLive system, I was excited to check out its new flagship digital console. My colleagues — who regularly use Avid, DiGiCo and Yamaha consoles — had nice things to say about dLive. I wondered if the board could live up to the hype. My demo system arrived in a nice, tour-worthy road case, and consisted of an S3000 surface, a DM32 Mix Rack, and the optional M-Dante expansion card. But before we dive in, let’s take a look at the entire dLive lineup.

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The Immersive Media Initiative shot a VR version of Courtney Barnett’s set at the Nelsonville Music Festival, offering a 360° perspective of the performance that can be remotely controlled by the viewer.
The Immersive Media Initiative shot a VR version of Courtney Barnett’s set at the Nelsonville Music Festival, offering a 360° perspective of the performance that can be remotely controlled by the viewer.

The Future is (Virtually) Here

Dan Daley
The Biz

The virtual reality section at last month’s AES Show in L.A. was in an appropriate location, on a second-level connecting walkway between halls in the Los Angeles Convention Center. Not just because nearby Hollywood is its own alternative universe, but because VR itself occupies its own media mezzanine tier at the moment, in between reality and fantasy, and between how we see the world now and how we might see it — and us — in the future. It was also separate from the growing live sound contingent at the show, where the AES has now come, somewhat reluctantly but inevitably, to embrace the fact that recordings are no longer the center of music’s universe.

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Fig. 1: Word Clock in and output jacks in BNC format on the rear panel of a Yamaha CL5 digital console.
Fig. 1: Word Clock in and output jacks in BNC format on the rear panel of a Yamaha CL5 digital console.

Word Clock Basics

Steve LaCerra
Theory and Practice

Does Anybody Really Know What Time it Is?

Last month, we touched upon the idea of routing digital audio from an outboard channel into a digital mixing console. Any time that digital audio is transferred between devices, there are two distinct components to the signal: the audio, and something called word clock. Often (but not always) these signals are combined on a single cable, so we don’t realize that word clock is being sent along with the audio. Understanding word clock is critical when interfacing digital gear, and that requires a brief review of digital audio. So here we go.

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Consoles such as this DiGiCo S21 offer powerful onboard processing and a host of I/O options.
Consoles such as this DiGiCo S21 offer powerful onboard processing and a host of I/O options.

Purchasing the Right Console

Vince Lepore
Sound Sanctuary

Purchasing a new audio console is one of the most important decisions a church technical team can make. Sure, there are a handful churches that don’t flinch at the thought of purchasing a $100,000 board, but most of us struggle to convince church leadership to spend even a fraction of that amount. Even if you work at a church with big production and big budgets, every dollar counts, and you want to make sure that the console you purchase will meet your needs now and in the future.

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