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Archive for Month: June 2019

SHARC Turns to Symetrix to Refresh Its Audio System

At the end of the 1960s, Sunriver, Oregon, was constructed as a planned community 20 miles southwest of thecity of Bend. The 2010 census shows only 1,393 residents but its location at the base of the Cascade Range makes it a vacation destination, and resort properties make up much of the town. The Sunriver Homeowners Association Aquatic and Recreation Center (SHARC) opened in 2012, providing indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a fitness center, and meeting and event spaces.

By 2019, however, the original sound and video systems at SHARC were in need of an upgrade, which precipitated a call to Bend-based AV design/build company Audio Visual Bend. “There was no new construction at that time; it was purely an end-of-life AV system upgrade,” reports AV Bend AV Designer/Project Manager Tony Sprando. Nevertheless, it was not a small project, as numerous areas required coverage, including the pool areas, a fitness center, eatery, store, and lobby, plus an amphitheater that holds up to 1,250 guests and 4 meeting rooms accommodating up to 650 people.

SHARC wanted to retain whatever portions of the existing system could continue to serve effectively, so the project involved upgrading some existing components and reusing and adjusting others, as well as installing one Symetrix Edge and one Symetrix Radius 12×8 EX DSP. The Edge hosts up to 4 I/O expansion cards, in this case configured for 12 analog inputs and 4 analog outputs, which it integrates with 128-channel (64×64) redundant Dante networking. The Radius 12×8 EX offers 12 analog inputs, 8 analog outputs, 128-channel Dante, and an expansion slot, filled at SHARC with 4 channels of analog output.

The Radius handles programming for the entire audio system, while its I/O services the event and meeting spaces. The I/O in the Edge is divided between the event and meeting spaces and the public spaces. Background music and paging for the public spaces required setting up a total of 12 zones.

The system Sprando found on his arrival used analog signal runs exclusively, so the conversion to a Dante digital audio network was a key improvement. The installed Ashly Audio amplifiers were upgraded to accept input signals over Dante, and the audio equipment in public spaces, pool areas, and the amphitheater were connected to the Dante network. Bose speakers and Crestron controls at the site were retained, as was nearly all of the cabling. “We had to relocate some CAT5 and CAT6 Ethernet cable to get all of the Dante jacks in place, but other than that, the wire was 90 percent there,” Sprando details. Only minimal adjustments to existing equipment were required, such as adjusting the speakers for better coverage.

The Crestron controls functioned well with the Symetrix devices. “The client wanted to keep the type of control system they had in place to maintain its familiarity,” states Sprando. “We had to upgrade the Crestron equipment but it really integrated seamlessly with the Symetrix units. There were no hitches.”

The system accepts a variety of sources: a cable box for video and music playback; Pandora for Business/Mood Media boxes; a plethora of wireless microphones for the meeting spaces, which can be combined or split; and media patch points on panels to simplify connections for tasks like capturing an audio feed playing in the room to a video camera while recording video. The patch points get used for weddings or to feed local TV stations working onsite. Since the facility is operated by an association, media patching is also used to record board meetings.

The addition of the Symetrix DSPs also greatly simplified maintenance issues. “The ability to make changes and troubleshoot using internal staff and resources was nonexistent when we came in,” explains Sprando, “so when a change of some sort was needed, SHARC had to bring in someone from out of town, which was very expensive. Plus, file system and access was quite limited; the tech had to bring in a computer to make the change locally and needed the right software version or things could go bad. It was very convoluted. Symetrix has their editing program residing in the DSP unit, which makes it easy for SHARC to edit the system remotely. We gave them a Chromebook, so they have remote access all the time. The property is really big, and the IT department that manages the system is not even located onsite. But now, even on a tech’s day off, he can just log in from home and make any adjustments.”

Sprando feels training is key to making effective installations and gives kudos for the support AV Bend received in that area. “During the SHARC project, we found it very important to get the latest certifications on the Symetrix gear and on Dante, which we did through the whole process. Symetrix and Audinate were very accommodating with those training and continuing education steps. That sharpened us, as well as making the end product significantly better.”

ETC Controls Midwest Landmark

As the Eiffel Tower and the Empire State Building define their home cities, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis is arguably the Midwest’s most important icon. While the Arch gets all the visual attention, the national park it occupies is equally impressive. The 91-acre grounds of the Gateway Arch National Park recently underwent an extensive landscape re-design, including the removal of an existing parking garage, the creation of an elevated walkway, and several new walking and biking paths. And as part of this re-design, local company Randy Burkett Lighting Design created a complete new park lighting system, utilizing ETC’s Mosaic family of products.

The scope of the design was as large as the park: everything was to receive new lighting. This included the historic “allées” (tree-lined paths throughout the park), new paths on the park border, accessible walkways connecting the park to the riverfront, and a new section of park named the “North Gateway,” which includes an elevated walkway and the historic Eads Bridge’s south embankment abutment.

“The primary goal for the project lighting design was to support the programmatic nature of the pathway system from day through the evening,” says Richard Fisher of RBLD. “A simple, modern form was selected along the border pathways, while a stylized unit was deployed in a formal arrangement along the historic tree allées.” Other goals included the reduction of glare and uplight (pedestrian-scaled fixtures were cut-off units), and improvement of visual comfort at night for park visitors. Maintaining and enhancing the major views was also a key consideration.

The control system was designed to support a variety of operational needs – from normal days to special events such as stargazing and a large festival over the Independence Day holiday. The system communicates via a DALI network using individually-addressed fixtures with dimmable drivers. Fixtures are balanced to create a unified appearance and rhythm of light. Given the size of the park it was also important that the control system also provide fixture monitoring, notifying park management of fixture operation and hours of operation for long-term maintenance.

The allées and border path lighting utilized pedestrian-scaled poles and fixtures. For the allées, RBLD developed a custom fixture that was derived from a monumental unit designed during the Arch’s construction but never manufactured. Allées and border path fixtures were controlled with a DALI network using the Mosaic controllers.

The Tech Specs

The lighting controls system for the park utilized a number of different ETC components, but at the head of everything is a Mosaic Show Controller. The MSC was chosen because it can handle a number of different protocols and is known for its reliability. Two of the main elements under Mosaic’s control are a pair of ETC DMX-enabled relay cabinets for switching the non-dim fixtures across the park – one for each of the north and south halves. After that, the MSC connects to and controls a DALI network for all pole-based pathway lighting. Due to the park size, cable-run length limitations, and device limitations associated with the DALI protocol, the MSC is connected to a series of distributed control hubs via a fiber optic network. These hubs, located throughout the park, are then connected to another layer of distribution equipment before connecting to the fixtures.

The Challenges

One of the obvious challenges was park size, and how that impacted protocol requirements like cable length and the number of devices on a loop. Another challenge was that DALI is simply not that common within the US. But Fisher made that choice because he felt that the robustness of the protocol – in terms of wire and wiring – would be advantages across such a large site.

The last challenge was that the site-distributed control equipment could not be housed in above-ground cabinets. As a national park, the design direction was that the site should appear as natural as possible with as few support elements as possible visible. Oversized hand holes, drainage, NEMA-rated cabinets, and waterproof connections were specified to try and minimize possible ingress problems.

One final challenge for the install was managing the complexity of working with four separate electrical contractors, each on different times and schedules. “One of the ways we tried to combat this was to specify a lighting integration specialist as part of the control system scope. In this case, Candela Controls was the selected vendor (working as a sub-contractor to one of the ECs) and they helped bring application knowledge as well as becoming the point person for all things control-related with the electrical contractors,” says Fisher. “They were a huge asset and a key to the success of this project”

St. Louis was the gateway to the West, and ETC is now the gateway to a bright new future for its park. 

Youth Month – Celebrating ApexPro’s Next Generation

Keith Karimi  |  ApexPro Sales

Keith became interested in the industry through music production & studio equipment while in high school.  He began with an internship in Marshall Music Woodmead while in Grade 10, handling brands like KRK, Arturia, Kaotica, and other studio orientated products.  He also produced while in school for local artistes like, Boyz N Bucks, Stilo Magolide, Maraza, The Big Hash & Shane Eagle to name a few.

In 2017 Keith joined ApexPro initially handling internal sales and supporting the Retail Sales Executive Neill Venter but has grown a client base of his own, focusing on studios and houses of worship sectors.

His favourite piece of kit is the DPA 6066. Packed in a 3mm capsule it has an IP54 rating, chic design, comfortable head-worn mounting design, it is a phenomenal headset delivering clear and consistent audio.  

After hours you will often find Keith in a recording studio.

Faye Mc Quire   |   ApexPro Sales

Having studied at Northlink College in Cape Town, Faye completed a two-year Legal Secretarial Diploma, after which she joined an insurance brokerage as an administrator. Eight years ago, she realised it was time for a change and sent her CV to an agency which brought her to an interview with Prosound. Justin Acres interviewed her and gave her the position of administrator for the Cape Town branch. Faye’s scope of works extended past administration and she made a natural move into a Sales position three years ago, upon the launch of ApexPro. Faye comments that, “You are always learning something new at Apex, it is simulating and get you out to see clients and not stuck behind a desk.” She says of the company directors, “They are always available to teach and advise and are very hands on.” She feels there are always opportunities for growth and development within the company. When it comes to representing the brands, her current favourite product is the Electro Voice Evolve 50.

“Who doesn’t like the elegance, easy to setup, fantastic sound and yet so affordable. Plus, less is more – right?”

Mathew Lewis | ETC Product Manager

Mathew joined ApexPro in February 2016. Before that he had spent most of his time out of the country on various international theatre tours, including Chicago, Sound of Music and Dirty Dancing, serving as Head of Lighting. It was there that he came into contact with the ETC Eos family of consoles for the first time and a love affair was born.

Having come off the road, Mathew now dedicates his time to spreading the good word about the excellent products on offer from ETC. In particular their ColorSource range of LED fixtures have proven very popular.

There is also the new and exciting development following ETC’s acquisition of High End Systems which means that Hog4 consoles and the excellent new SolaFrame series of moving lights are being represented through ApexPro as well. Mathew is currently enjoying seeing what these new products can do.

Electro-Voice launches Multi-Function Monitors

Electro-Voice has unveiled the MFX Multi-Function Monitors range at InfoComm 2019, engineered to complement the Bosch brand’s X-Line Advance X1, X2, X12-128 and X12-125F line array models and corresponding installation versions.

This MFX catalogue comprises the 12-inch MFX-12MC and 15-inch MFX-15MC. They are two-way coaxial monitors that use high-output, coaxially aligned HF and LF transducers paired with a new Constant-Directivity waveguide and crossover design. Coverage in monitor orientation is 40° x 60°. The dimensions and location of the waveguide are said to interact with the woofer to create a bipole output that enhances coverage control through the midrange frequencies.

As well as providing a stable sound image when the performer moves off-axis, the compact coaxial design of the cabinets reportedly results in a low-profile footprint onstage in comparison to other high-end monitors. The cabinets also employ a brand-new concept with dual monitor angles of 35° and 55° that allows the output to be focused directly towards the performer.

The MFX Multi-Function Monitors have also been optimised for use with TGX10 or IPX10:4 amplifiers from EV’s Bosch sibling Dynacord. Both the MFX-12MC and MFX-15MC can be deployed in passive or biamp configuration, and can be put to use for different applications via DSP settings in the amps. Power handling for the MFX-12MC is 400W (continuous) and 4,000W (peak); the MFX-15MC delivers 500W (continuous) and 4,000W (peak). Both models have maximum SPL ratings of 135dB and 136dB, respectively.

In addition, the MFX monitors feature an integrated pole cup, allowing use as short-throw main/full-range loudspeakers for sound reinforcement when needed.

High End Systems & ETC Lighting Upgrades ATG Venues

ETC dealer, White Light Ltd has supplied Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) venues with an LED upgrade using High End Systems and ETC lighting equipment.

Two theatres – Aylesbury Waterside and the Grand Opera House York were upgraded with brand new LED packages consisting of High End Systems’ SolaFrame 1000, SHAPESHIFTER, ETC’s ColorSource PAR and ColorSource Spot.

High End Systems’ SolaFrame 1000 was selected as the central fixture of the new rig. ATG opted for the High CRI version which offers a more refined quality of light with a CRI of 90+, as well as 16,000-lumen output. It has an extensive feature list including full-curtain framing shutters, rotating and fixed gobo wheels, animation as well as CMY colour mixing; while at the same time remaining extremely quiet and weighing just 32kg.

“Seeing the SolaFrame in-situ, it became clear that this was the perfect fixture for both venues. They are extremely versatile and ultimately will be the workhorse for the rig. They also have a five-year warranty for the LED array, which is obviously a huge bonus”. White Light Business Development Manager, Jonathan Haynes

Implementing an LED upgrade in both venues ensured that ATG could provide support for its diverse range of productions while also presenting an environmentally friendly installation. White Light established an LED upgrade package accordingly which substituted the tungsten rig with LED and replaced overhead and cyc lighting.

In addition to the SolaFrame 1000s, there were 48 ETC ColorSource PARs, 42 ColorSource Spots (complete with a mix of profile and fresnel lenses) and 8 High End Systems’ SHAPESHIFTERS. The fixtures have now been fitted into both venues and have immediately been used on a host of shows.

“It was important for us to find the right company which could offer us industry-recognised products and the full back-up and support required for such a large-scale transition from tungsten to LED.” Jonathan adds: “ETC and High End offer some of the longest warranty periods on their fixtures and all brands are represented and supported in the UK. It is fantastic to work so closely with an organisation as established as ATG to begin improving and modernising their offerings with the latest lighting technology and make them stand out in what is an increasingly competitive marketplace”. ATG’s Head of Technical Operations, Stuart Graham

ETC gets set for Stage|Set|Scenery 2019

ETC returns to international trade fair and conference, Stage|Set|Scenery with a host of new and exciting products for 2019. The exhibition for theatre, film and entertainment technology will take place at Messe Berlin from June 18-20.

This year, ETC has three stands: Stand 340 and 240 in Hall 20 and Stand 301 in Hall 21.

Showcasing its extensive range of lighting technology on Stand 340, Hall 20, ETC will present Augment3d – its first integrated 3D programming environment. Live demonstrations of the Eos v3.0 tool will take place during the trade fair, displaying how users can control and design in a three dimensional space whilst interacting with their fixtures through augmented reality. Augment3d will be shown on the leading Eos Ti and Gio @5 consoles during the three day exhibition.

Further products on Stand 340 include the latest lighting fixtures and architectural systems. Relevé Spot is the first member of a new product family for ETC – an automated fixture specifically designed for the theatre. It boasts a calibrated four-color additive mixing system and a unique Ani-gobo wheel. Alongside this, there will be the acclaimed Source Four LED fixtures, ArcSystem family of LED products and ETC’s EchoTouch controller.

On Stand 301, Hall 21, ETC will present its complete package of Upper Stage Machinery. Live demonstrations of installing the Prodigy P2 hoist will take place at 11:15 and 15:15 each day during the tradeshow. The P2’s advanced features and compact size makes installations a quick and easy process. Attendees to the stand can watch just how fast and simple the setup of a full hoist system which includes control, distribution and fixtures, can be.  

Visitors will be introduced to ColorSource Raceway, a lightweight power and data distribution system perfect for small venues and an ideal partner to Prodigy P2.

ETC will also showcase its intuitive user-friendly controllers on the stand, including QuickTouch Preset, QuickTouch+ and Foundation HD. Simple and straightforward to use, the controllers and the budget-friendly P2 system are suitable for all venues.

Product specialists will be on all stands, including on Stand 240, Hall 20 where visitors can ask any questions and find out more about the full product range.