Old Production Takes From an Old Guy

Month: June 2016

InfoComm 2016 Coverage: Martin Audio, L’Acoustics & Bose

Alright—we’re in the home stretch! This is our last installment of our InfoComm 2016 coverage. As we wrap up in the land of audio, we’ll listen to some new speakers that were rolled out. I got to hear each one of these, and so these are first hand (or first ear…) reports.

Martin CDD Live

CDD Live 8

CDD Live 8

We started taking a serious look at CDD last year at InfoComm. I wasn’t expecting to be impressed; more low-cost boxes for small to mid-size rooms. Whatever. Or that’s what I thought until I heard them. Honestly, I was blown away at the price/performance ratio. A few months later, we set them up with some of our other favorite boxes for a shootout. Again, we were very pleased with the CDD series. I’ve since installed two systems and have been extremely happy with the way the systems turn out. 

Now many people think Martin Audio and think MLA, a big, expensive, powered, very impressive line array with tons of DSP. They took their experience with MLA and applied it to CDD, adding bi-amplified power to the speakers and tweaking the enclosures a bit. They also threw in some DSP for good measure. They also added Dante connectivity. 

Like last year, I knew about them going in, so I wasn’t prepared to be surprised. But when they fired up the new Live boxes, again, we were surprised at how good they sounded. The CDD Live 8 particularly blew us away, especially in light of how small it is. The subs also sound fantastic—loud, low and tight. Like the CDD line, the CDD Live line is very cost-effective, and with the build-in DSP, you could even eliminate an outboard DSP for basic systems. You know we’ll be installing a bunch of these guys.

L’Acoustics Kiva II

I’ve become a big fan of L’Acoustics over the last few years as I’ve heard more of their systems and installed a couple of them. They’re easy to tune, are voiced very consistently throughout the entire line and sound great even with stock presets. The Kiva line array is a very solid, small- to mid-sized system. It’s built on dual 6.5” LF drivers and a 1.5” compression HF driver and VDOSC waveguide. It’s a great sounding box for smaller rooms, or as delays for larger spaces. 

Again, when a company rolls out a II of anything, I tend to think, “Whatever.” Then they played the Kiva II. Wow! The Kiva sounds great, but when they switched over to the II, it was like a blanket came off the speaker. While it looks the same physically (and all the hardware still works), they completely redesigned the guts. There is a ton more articulation in the upper-midrange, and they even squeezed 6 dB more output out of it! That may not sound like much, but that’s a double-double of amplifier power. And as a 16 Ohm box, you can hang a bunch of them off the new LA12x amplifier—13,600 watts at 2.7 Ohms! According to the marketing folks, LA12x sounds cooler than LA13.6x. So there you go. Great stuff from L’Acoustics. I can’t wait to set one of these up!

Bose ShowMatch

Speaking of mid-size line array systems, we finally got to see the production prototypes of the new system from Bose, dubbed ShowMatch. Though, calling it a line array is technically incorrect. It looks like a line array, but it’s really a progressive directivity array, which they have now dubbed DeltaQ™. It’s based on the same concept as RoomMatch, with multiple vertical coverage options, and different horizontal waveguides. The difference is, in ShowMatch, the waveguides are field swappable. The rigging system is very cool, and will allow for fast, flexible setups for tours. 

For installs, it’s a smaller footprint than RoomMatch, but has similar voicing and output. I heard a early pre-production prototype a while back, and they sounded extremely good. Having done a few RoomMatch systems now, I’m always amazed at the accuracy of the coverage and the even intelligibility throughout the seating areas. ShowMatch will be one more arrow in our quiver full of great PAs to work with. 

They also announced new PowerShare amps, which are going to be a boon to anyone who does 70V systems. Unlike most amps that have a fixes, maximum output on any given channel, PowerShare allocates power to each output based on the load. This means the entire output of the amp could be available to one channel if needed. They’re 1 RU high, so they don’t take up much rack space and are priced well. They also created a few new wall controls for remote volume. 

All in all, InfoComm 2016 was a good show. Our industry has matured to the point where we’re not seeing groundbreaking new products each year, but there is a lot of good iteration happening, as well as convergence. Next time, we’ll be back to our regular scheduled programming.

Elite Core

InfoComm 2016 Coverage: Symetrix & Yamaha

Well, I sort of missed a week here, but we’re back with our final two installments of InfoComm 2016 coverage. We’re finally to the good stuff—Audio! We have some electronics today and speakers next time. 

Symetrix Solus is Back

A while back, Symetrix killed off the Solus line, which was a little sad. But it’s back now, and with two more letters. The Solus NX 4×4, 8×8 and 16×8 will be available soon and will feature all analog inputs and outputs. The count will match the product names—what a concept! The nice thing about the Solus NX line is that it’s now configurable in Composer, and is fully open DSP. Some installations don’t need Dante, and there’s no sense paying for what you don’t need. 

They also showed a cool new interface builder as part of Composer which will make it easier than ever to do web-based custom controllers for the full line of DSPs. Composer is currently at version 5.1 and 5.2 is coming soon with even more third-party Dante devices available for control. Personally, I was hoping for control of the Atterotech DIO3, and I got it. Though to be fair, Atterotech finally updated their software, too, so I don’t have to use their terrible Unify software any more. 

Symetrix showed the new ARC-3 control last year, and it’s been shipping for a while. This is a great little control for times when you need more than buttons and pots. The display is very crisp and easy to read and should prove to be a powerful control. 

Yamaha CL 4.0

There is no denying that the CL consoles (and QLs for that matter) have been hugely successful. And Yamaha continues to do what Yamaha does; roll out new features that make our lives better. We got to see v. 4 software at the show and while there are a ton of new features, the big ones for me are these: If you have Shure ULXD4D and ULXD4Q wireless systems in your Dante network, you can now see receiver gain, mute, frequency, diversity, battery, RF strength, and audio level right on the console. How great will it be to monitor the pastor’s battery level right from his channel strip? They also included new EQ models, which look very cool. I’ll have to hear them to give you a full run down, but I like what I see. A new four-band multi band comp is now available as well. The new version of stage mix allows for up to 10 iOS devices to connect to a single console for monitor mixing, which will be a huge boon to churches with limited budgets and stage space. There are some other enhancements, but those are the big ones. Personally, the ULX-D integration is enough for me to upgrade, but I’m a big fan of multi-band comps, so I’m looking forward to trying it out this summer. 

As audio becomes more networked, I think we’ll see more of this type of integration. While networking has its drawbacks, these are some of the big wins we can expect as everything ties together. 

Next time, we’ll preview some new speakers that continue to make it easier and more affordable to get great audio.

This post is brought to you by Nemosyn. The guitar player practices, the keyboard player practices, the vocalists practice, how does a sound guy practice? Nemosyn record. Practice. Perfect your mix. Visit their website at Nemosyn.com.

InfoComm 2016 Coverage: Video and Lighting

We’ll continue our InfoComm 2016 coverage today, wrapping up video and moving into lighting! Lots and lots of lighting…

It's cute, but it's powerful. 

It’s cute, but it’s powerful. 

Ross Carbonite Black Solo

Speaking of small switchers that pack a punch, we saw the new all-in-one switcher from Ross again at InfoComm. Boasting 6 HD-SDI and 3 HDMI inputs, along with 5 HD-SDI and 1 HDMI output in a compact chassis, the new Solo is a small powerhouse. It has 4 fully functional keyers, a transition keyer, 1 UltraChrome keyer, and 2 MiniMEs with two keyers each. Because the switcher can be controlled from Dashboard, it opens up some exciting opportunities for system building. At NAB, we said, “This is cool; it would be great if there was a rack mounted version with no control panel for just Dashboard control.” They said, “Yes, we have that, too.” Pricing is looking like it will be surprisingly low for this much power in a small package.And, since it’s from Ross, it will actually work. We like this one.

Chauvet Lighting

There were so many new products at the Chauvet booth, it’s hard to know where to begin. Maybe we’ll just go in the order we looked at them so I can keep it straight. 

The B-2805FC and it's little brother in the background.

The B-2805FC and it’s little brother in the background.

The Ovation B-2805FC is a new strip light that features a crazy-bright RGBA-Lime color engine. I know, lime, right? Well, turns out there’s some science going on here. If you look at a color space chart, you’ll see a long line between red and green. Smack dab in the middle of that is lime. When they add lime to an RGBA color engine, it’s possible to get really good colors in between red and green, along with very smooth dimming. It’s almost 6’ long, has a very well thought out stand and can do some pretty cool tricks with it’s 32 possible personalities. I won’t even try to cover all of it here; just go look at it online. It also comes in a shorter version, the B-565FC.

Then there’s the COLORado 3 Solo, which features three 60W quad-color engines for a fully homogenized beam. It zooms from 8° to 40* (and it’s fast) and in addition to being quite bright, looks very good. It’s also IP65 rated, so if you have a need for some bright outdoor lighting, this could be the ticket. 

Another cool new product is the Strike 1. It’s a tungsten-looking blinder driven by a powerful 260W warm white LED source. It can act as a blinder, wash or strobe and puts out a smooth, even light. They even built in some red-shift to make it look even more like a tungsten source. The CRI is an impressive 93, and with a 30° beam angle and 51° field angle, it might even make a nice front wash light in the right situations. 

Most of you have probably heard me talking about the Ovation E-190WW ellipsoidal fixture; it’s pretty much all we sell any more when we need an ellipsoidal front light. I’ve been impressed with them since I first installed some two years ago, but with an output that mimics a 575x lamp, sometimes they aren’t quite bright enough. That’s about to change with the introduction of the E-260WW. Whereas the 190 was powered by 19 10W LEDs, the 260 is powered by a single 202W warm LED source. I guess E-202WW didn’t sound like enough of a change. While it may not sound like much, some improvements in the lensing bring the output up to the equivalent of a 750W HPL (not long life, a full 750). The output is super-bright, and dead even across the field. They also raised the color temp up from the 190’s 2700K to 3150K, which I think is a welcome change. This one will be the new standard for us, I think. 

Now, you might think a white LED ellipsoidal is fine and all, but what about a color one? Welcome the new E-910FC. It houses the same RGBA-Lime engine of the B-2805FC, and I gotta say, it looks great. Color mixing is fantastic, and the output great. It has 91 3W LEDs and can be ordered with a variety of lenses, both zoom and prime from 19°-50°. CRI is said to be “high,” I’ll have to find out what that means. Standard color temp with all LEDs up is 5850K, but they included white presets from 2800-6500K to make matching easier. This is another great option for front light. 

That’s pretty much it for the static lights, but InfoComm was the first time we got to see the new Maverick line up close and personal. We’ve been hearing about these for a while and I’m glad they are out and we could see them. The line currently consists of three fixtures; the MK1 Hybrid, the MK2 Spot and MK2 Wash. Let’s take them one at a time.

The MK1 Hybrid fixture is powered by a 440W Osram Sirius reflector lamp and is both a beam and spot fixture. In beam mode, it can do a 1° beam for those cool aerial effects. In spot mode, it offers a 3°-18° zoom range. It offers overlapping prisms, full CMY color mixing and dual rotating gobo wheels. It can also handle Art-Net, DMX, W-DMX, sACN natively. It’s a cool fixture. 

The MK2 Spot is similar and features a 13°-37° zoom with variable CMY and CTO color mixing. Like the Hybrid, it has two rotating, indexible gobo wheels and handles all the IP-based protocols. The same lamp as the Hybrid means it’s also crazy-bright. 

The MK2 Wash is powered by 12 40W Osram RGBA LEDs and zooms from 7° to 49°, which means you could do some aerial effects one song, and wash the whole stage in color on the next. Because the LEDs can be controlled internally, they built some quasi-gobo effects into it, which is pretty slick. Also built in are a ton of pre-mixed colors for easy and fast programming. Like the other Maverick fixtures, it takes all the IP-based protocols, and adds Kling-net. Like the other Maverick fixtures, the Wash is bright, fast and looks great. 

Put two of these on a small- to mid-sized stage and you have some crazy effects possibilities. 

Put two of these on a small- to mid-sized stage and you have some crazy effects possibilities. 

Finally, there was the new Rogue R1 FX-B. This little fixture is so cool it’s hard to describe what it can do. Just go watch the video on their website. It features four pixel mappable 15W RGBA heads with a 5° angle. It’s a continuous movement figure so you can start it spinning and never stop. The programmed dozens of macros into it, and you can combine them into thousands of effects. This one definitely falls into the “flash and trash” category, but it’s some insanely cool flash and trash. 

Chauvet just keeps cranking out new stuff. I had dinner with them one night and got the skinny on some new fixtures that are coming out soon that will be just as cool as these. This is a company to watch for sure. 

This post is brought to you by Shure Wireless. The new ULX D Dual and Quad wireless systems feature RF Cascade ports, a high density mode with significantly more simultaneous operating channels and bodypack diversity for mission critical applications. Visit their website at Shure.com.

InfoComm 2016 Coverage: Laser Projectors and More!

Back to our InfoComm 2016 coverage today. Probably my favorite show of the year, it has something for everyone. Today, we’ll look at laser-phosphor projectors and some cool new stuff from Marshall.

Christie Arena featuring the new HS Laser Phosphor projectors, edge blended

Christie Arena featuring the new HS Laser Phosphor projectors, edge blended

Frickin’ Laser Beams

Another thing we saw a lot of was laser beams. Or, more accurately, laser phosphor projectors. We may finally be on the cusp of those big, expensive, hot and fragile projector bulbs going the way of the dodo. Christie showed off their new HS series projectors, which pack 13K lumens into a small, quiet package. They have two models, a WU 1920×1200 pixels and HD 1920×1080 pixels. They had them set up in “Christie Arena,” and they looked quite good. Plenty of color, punch and contrast. Being 1 DLP units, they didn’t quite blend as nicely as the 3 DLP units across the booth, but for single screen applications (or if you’re using an external blending unit), they would rock. Pricing is getting better for LP units as well. 

Also on the LP (laser phosphor, if you forgot) bandwagon is Hitachi. The new LP-WU9750B sports 8000 lumens of 1920×1200 single DLP power. They’re doing some cool stuff with the blue light, running it through a phosphor rod to get better accuracy. Hard to tell for sure, but they looked good in their booth. Hitachi has become our go-to affordable mid-size projector, and we think these are going to be good options for a lot of churches. 

It looks more impressive throwing an image. But I got distracted talking with a friend at the booth.

It looks more impressive throwing an image. But I got distracted talking with a friend at the booth.

What’s better than a laser driving your projector? How about a laser driving your 4K projector! That’s right, Barco showed off the F90-4K13 projector. 11,800 lumens (not 12K…11,800; I appreciate the accuracy, though maybe it should be called the F90-4K11.8?), 3840×2400 pixels, and an engine that meets the full Rec. 709 color space. I’ll admit, it looked really nice. Now, if you don’t really need that many pixels (or have that large a budget), the F90-W13 also looked very good. It delivers 13,000 lumens in the center of the screen at 1920×1200 pixels. Like most LPs (maybe all) it’s a single chip DLP and delivers somewhere between 20,000 and 40,000 hours of light source life. On both those product pages, Barco offers a good white paper on how LP projectors work. Might be worth the read. 

All kinds of cool stuff for your video rack from Marshall.

All kinds of cool stuff for your video rack from Marshall.

Marshall Goodies

Marshall has been coming on strong the last few years with the introduction of their Lynx series of monitors, the small HD POV cameras with HD-SDI out and the mini converters. This year, we saw a 17” engineering monitor that had full color space capability, the ability to be fully calibrated and great metering and signal quality monitoring capabilities. The V-R173-DLW looked very accurate and like many Marshall products offers tremendous value.

One of our favorite little problem solvers is the VSW-2200. It’s a deceptively simple 4 HD-SDI in, 1 out seamless switcher/scaler. What makes it super-cool is that it also incorporates a built-in quad-view display (on a separate HDMI output), and can be set up and controlled via software. It’s a vertical interval switch, but more than that, it scales every input to a common output resolution so you can switch completely seamlessly. If you only need to switch a few sources, this is a cool solution.

More to come next time!

Elite Core

Spotted at InfoComm 16: Video Walls!

Last week, some of the CCI Solutions team got to spend the week on the surface of the sun—also known as Las Vegas—checking out this year’s InfoComm show. Since we’re not really doing video coverage of the shows any more (too many others doing it, too much work, not enough time…), I thought I’d share with you some of the stuff we saw that was notable. 

Collaboration and Connection

This year, it seemed the themes were getting connected. Quite a few vendors were showing control systems and ways to integrate audio, video, data and control all in a single network. Some of it was quite cool, actually, but as it has limited value for a live production, we didn’t spend much time there. However, if you have multiple campuses with staff spread out all over the place and want ways to bring everyone together into the same virtual room, know that it’s getting easier and cheaper.

4K Everywhere

Like at NAB, 4K resolution is everywhere. We saw a number of 4K video walls from Absen, Leyard and Sony; more than a few projectors; and tons of displays from just about everyone. There are more 4K cameras and ways to process the content every show as well. However, none of us feel 4K IMAG is something anyone really needs—or wants to pay for—so we won’t spend much time there, either. Now we can see some use cases for 4K acquisition, as you can zoom in and pan around a shot if you just can’t be bothered to frame the shot correctly in the first place (sorry, old guy cynicism coming through there). But overall, a lot of people I talked with at the show think 4K is an answer to a question no one is asking, at least for our world. Cinema, now that’s a different kettle of fish. 

The viewing angle of the N2 is pretty amazing.

The viewing angle of the N2 is pretty amazing.

Absen N-series Video Walls

We saw these at NAB, but I haven’t written them up until now. Absen has introduced a new series of wall-mounted video walls known as the N series. There is an N2, N3, N4 and N5. These new walls are lightweight, easy to install and have some really cool features such as wireless monitoring for faults and problems. How would you like to get an email before a power module goes out? We really like these. Like all video walls, the number designation doesn’t exactly equal the dot pitch, but these are closer than most. The N2 is 2.4mm, N3 is 3.2mm, the N4 is actually a spot-on 4mm, and the N5 comes in at 5.14mm. This is much closer than some of the other walls called 3 mil that are 3.9. Most of us would call a 3.9mm dot pitch 4, but marketing people gotta market. The N-series also has an impressive 160° viewing angle, and it’s actually true. We stood right next to it and had no trouble reading the text. The cost is also quite aggressive. Walls have been coming down lately, and we’re now telling people that if you’re looking for a screen over 14’ or so wide or a projector above about 14K lumens, you should at least look at a video wall. www.usabsen.com

Elite Core

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