Meeting Report: Automatic Mic Mixing

Meeting Topic: Automatic Microphone Mixing: How and Why?

Moderator Name: Jay Dill and Nate Sparks

Speaker Name: Michael Pettersen and Gino Sigismondi, Shure

Other business or activities at the meeting: General welcome, introduction to the section and section’s website/social media, and information on joining the AES for non-members.

Meeting Location: Online (YouTube stream with Q&A)

Summary:

Moderator’s Jay Dill and Nate Sparks joined Shure’s Michael Pettersen and Gino Sigismondi for the Central Indiana Section’s inaugural webcast to discuss the history and current state of automatic microphone mixing. The presentation began with an in-depth overview of the history of automatic mixing dating back to the original concept brought forward by famed theatre sound designer Dan Dugan. Dugan’s initial concept allowed a theatre mixer to offload the task of muting and unmuting (or fader riding) multiple microphones as actors delivered lines and entered or left stage. This functionality helps optimize gain before feedback, prevented comb filtering, and reduced buildup of background noise and reverberation.

Shure entered the automixing market in the early 1970s with the Voicegate, a speech-centric gating system. By the mid-70s, advancements allowed for variable threshold operation, as well as implementing gain sharing, a system which maintains a sum total gain for all open channels as channels are added or subtracted, thereby creating a more stable system. Further advances heralded a dual-element microphone with a secondary, rear-facing capsule providing a differential to ensure only on-axis input signals triggered unmuting, and system linking to allow for more channels.

The next wave of development included adaptation to ambient noise and the ability to work with non-proprietary microphones. This system grew into the famed FP-410, which included MaxBus, a system to ensure that the loudest receiver capturing a single source would remain open, a system to ensure that the last microphone used would remain open, and the implementation of “off-attenuation”, which used approximately 15 dB of gain reduction rather than full muting of sources. These technologies have rolled into the systems we know as IntelliMix.

As the world of audio migrated way from analog processing, IntelliMix went digital. While the aims of automixing remain the same, the processing tasks of signal detection, channel priority, gain-sharing, etc. have been merged into DSP-based systems in both hardware and software. Current automixing offerings retain this functionality, but also allow for configuration of all aspects of the system via a browser-based GUI. Traditional functionality can also be coupled with additional audio enhancement processing and digital I/O for maximum flexibility.

The presentation was facilitated by Force Technology Solutions’ live streaming studio, allowing broadcast-style graphics and switching, off-site production, and remote presentation from across the Midwest. The lecture can be can be viewed on the Central Indiana Section’s YouTube channel or directly at https://youtu.be/diWqymbEuhw.

Written By: Brett Leonard

Meeting Report: ReverBall and Music Facility Tour at IUPUI

Central Indiana Section Meeting Report
11/7/2019


ReverBall! – A Tour of the Music Technology Facilities and Open House at the Eskenazi Fine Arts Center at IUPUI (Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis)

This meeting featured a tour of the classroom, recording, and lab facilities of the Music Technology Program on the IUPUI campus. It also included an open house-type event (ReverBall), hosted by the Herron School of Art + Design and the Department of Music Technology.

Dr. Hsu took the group through various spaces used by the Music Technology Program, including:

  • A control room and adjacent tracking studio.
  • A music rehearsal room.
  • An acoustics laboratory where experimental work was being done with impedance tubes and various acoustic panels of different sustainable materials.
  • The Tavel Center for Arts Technology where interactive/distance learning with local and remote
  • students takes place alongside current research in music technology.
  • A newly renovated piano lab used for keyboard and MIDI controller classes.

The Music Technology program IUPUI resides in the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology. They offer a Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, and Ph.D in Music Technology, as well as a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degree in Music Therapy. Research in the department spans fields in audio, live performance technologies, acoustics, health, music therapy, and digital and acoustic instrument development.

The Open House event included several ensembles performing music, in some cases with homemade instruments or modified regular instruments and synthesizers. Mixed media performances included world premieres of works by both faculty and students.

The meeting was hosted by Dr. Timothy Hsu, faculty member in the Music Technology Program at IUPUI.

Meeting Report: An Evening with John Cooper

Central Indiana – July 18, 2019

Meeting Topic: An Evening with John Cooper

Moderator Name: Michael Petrucci

Speaker Name: John Cooper, freelance FOH mixer for Bruce Springsteen and other noted artists

Other business or activities at the meeting: It was announced that Section elections will commence at this time. Nominations are open and should be submitted to the Secretary. Voting will be done electronically (via special website). Results are expected on/about August 20, 2019.

Meeting Location: ESCO Communications, Indianapolis, IN

Summary

This evening’s guest presenter has been an FOH engineer/mixer for Bruce Springsteen since 2001. He has also worked as FOH engineer/mixer with other numerous other artists, including: John Mayer, Sheryl Crow, Keith Urban, and Lionel Richie. 

John talked about his approach and experience in mixing for major, live music performances. Some of the things he highlighted included: 
• Understanding and maintaining the proper gain structure. 
• A result that sounds good/acceptable, not something that reads ideally on a meter. 
• Having appropriate backup equipment and a strategy to deploy, when necessary. 
• Be cautious of level limits with digital consoles. Some people are using analog matrices to do certain mixes in order to work around these issues. 
• Use of delays to achieve some stereo effects from a mono source. 
• Protools can provide a virtual sound check. 
• The teleprompter is a key element in this scale of road show — everyone uses it to know the where they are in the show. There could be as many as 20 displays. Related to this — many shows are automated. 
• The entire stage is on UPS. 
• There is a definite difference in energy level between an afternoon rehearsal and an evening performance. 
• Bass guitar balance (with the rest of the band/orchestra) is a very important consideration. 
• Front fills are important, especially for the performer to be understood. Balance can be tricky and important. 
In regular business, biennial elections for the Section were announced and the process will commence promptly. The value of AES membership was highlighted, including product discounts (Apple, Dell, Sound Particles and Focal Press) plus career resources (profiles, forums, and job board postings from sustaining member companies).

Written By: Barrie Zimmerman, Secretary

Meeting Report – February 2013 – Central Indiana Audio Student Workshop

Keynote speaker Konrad Strauss addressing a great early-morning crowd.On February 16, 2013 the Central Indiana Section of the Audio Engineering Society hosted the Second Annual Central Indiana Audio Student Workshop. The event was hosted by Section Chair Fallon Stillman, and coordinated by Workshop Advisor Kyle P. Snyder with great assistance from the Executive Board of the Central Indiana Section as well as the faculty and staff of the Indiana University Department of Recording Arts. The Central Indiana Audio Student Workshop 2013 was held on the campus of Indiana University Bloomington, in the Department of Recording Arts studios and related facilities.

Like other regional events, the Central Indiana Audio Student Workshop was modeled like a mini-convention. Our goal was to provide an intimate learning environment, open to anyone interested in audio, including local professionals, university students, and high school students. The Workshop provided attendees the opportunity to improve their skills with some of the best in the business, who presented on topics in recording, mixing, live sound, and acoustics.

Marc DeGeorge of Solid State Logic discussing digital technology

Marc DeGeorge of Solid State Logic discussing digital technology.

Click for more pictures

We also wanted to provide the Workshop free of charge, to give students of all means equal access to the audio instruction we were providing. Also, not only did we want to provide high-quality instruction for free, but also we wanted to incentivize attendance with useful giveaways from sponsors. Finally, we wanted to ensure that an acceptable student to teacher ratio was achieved, so that students felt less like they were part of a crowd and more like they were in a small classroom where they could ask questions.

Our pre-registration topped out at over 250, and we saw physical attendance at over 200 including numerous walk-in’s, reaching a group of audio students and professionals from every corner of the state and many from neighboring territories, who were appreciative beyond words. We couldn’t have been more pleased with how the event turned out.

For additional information on the event including sponsors, posters, artwork, schedules, and much more please visit the official event site.

Additionally, the official event report is available for download (pdf).

Press:

Meeting Report: A Tour of Lucas Oil Stadium

The Central Indiana Section of the Audio Engineering Society recently held its first summer meeting on June 26, 2012 with a near-record attendance of almost 30 members! The first part of the meeting featured dinner hosted at Shapiro’s Deli courtesy of the Section for members which was certainly a hit with everyone in attendance, followed by a tour of Lucas Oil Stadium.

That’s right, dinner and a tour! The tour was courtesy of the Lucas Oil Stadium Sound & Lighting Department’s very own Floyd Paulsen with assistance from systems integrator and friend of the Central Indiana Section ESCO Communications.

Click the rack of amplifiers to view more pictures!

Floyd took the section on a compressive tour of the stadium, including the field level where he discussed the complex system of speaker arrays and delays in the bowl, one of the amazing amplifier rack rooms, the press box, and the video and audio production suites. Along the way the section also received demonstrations of the Media Matrix and Crown Hi-Q operating systems which were in use throughout the installation.

The meeting was absolutely a must-attend for anyone interested in live production and installed sound and we are very thankful to Floyd, Lucas Oil Stadium Sound & Lighting, and ESCO Communications for their generosity and support of the section. Those interested can find a digital version of the handout distributed at the meeting here on ESCO Communications website.

To stay up to date on section activities, be sure to follow us on Facebook or Twitter, and feel free to contact any member of the executive board to let us know your thoughts about the section.

Meeting Report: Advanced Intercom Systems for Live Sound, Broadcast, & Recording Environments

The Central Indiana Section of the Audio Engineering Society was pleased to host its Spring meeting on May 23, 2012 on the topic of Advanced Intercom Systems for Live Sound, Broadcast, & Recording Environments.

The meeting featured Steve Quillin and Michael Brown of Bosch Communications Systems, presenting on the new lines of Production Intercom systems from Telex and RTS. This included the Digital Matrix, Partyline systems, and BTR wireless units.

An excited audience gathered to learn not just of the latest advancements within the Telex and RTS lines, but also on intercom use and installation best practices with regard to frequency coordination and much more.

The meeting was held May 23, 2012 at 7:00pm in the conference room of ESCO Communications’ Indianapolis office.

To stay up to date on section activities, be sure to follow us on Facebook or Twitter, and feel free to contact any member of the executive board to let us know your thoughts about the section.

Meeting Report: Central Indiana Audio Student Workshop 2012

On March 10, 2012 the Central Indiana Section of the Audio Engineering Society hosted the first annual Central Indiana Audio Student Workshop. The event was hosted by Section Chair Kyle P. Snyder, as well as assistant workshop host Jeffrey Seitz and with great assistance from the Executive Board of the Central Indiana Section, in the Music Media Production and Industry studios on the campus of Ball State University.

Like other regional events, the Central Indiana Audio Student Workshop was modeled like a mini-convention. Our goal was to provide an intimate learning environment, open to anyone interested in audio, including local professionals, university students, and high school students. The Workshop provided attendees the opportunity to improve their skills with some of the best in the business, who presented on topics in recording, mixing, live sound, and acoustics.

Kyle P. Snyder discussing workshop options with students at registration.

Click for more pictures

We also wanted to provide the Workshop free of charge, to give students of all means equal access to the audio instruction we were providing. Also, not only did we want to provide high-quality instruction for free, but also we wanted to incentivize attendance with useful giveaways from sponsors. Finally, we wanted to ensure that an acceptable student to teacher ratio was achieved, so that students felt less like they were part of a crowd and more like they were in a small classroom where they could ask questions.

Our pre-registration topped out at 180, and we saw physical attendance at 150 including numerous walk-in’s, reaching a group of audio students and professionals from every corner of the state and many from neighboring territories, who were appreciative beyond words. We couldn’t have been more pleased with how the event turned out.

For additional information on the event including sponsors, posters, artwork, schedules, and much more please visit the official event site.

Additionally, the official event report is available for download (pdf).

Meeting Report: Tour Of The Indiana University Auditorium & Production Facilities

At this, the first of our meetings scheduled for the year which was held on January 23, 2012 at 6:30pm, we were privileged to be led on a tour of the  Indiana University Auditorium.

Gene Frazier and John DeLong led the section on a tour on the critically acclaimed facility which was originally built as a Federal Works Agency Project under the Roosevelt Presidency but which has recently undergone significant upgrades to its audio system.

Members assembling backstage before the meeting. Click for more pictures

A key focus of the tour was the recently installed L-Acoustics KUDO system, as well as an Avid Profile and a wiring project, all undertaken amidst a busy summer production schedule.

Hearing the constraints of the project and the quality of sound within the auditorium, all members were very impressed with the work accomplished by the house staff, outside vendors, and Robert Scoville who served as a consultant.

We’d like to thank the several dozen members who made the drive to attend. As always, those with questions or concerns are encouraged to contact us. To stay up to date on section activities, be sure to follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

Meeting Report: November 2011 – IU Musical Arts Center Audio Recording & Video Production Workflows

At this, the sixth of the Central Indiana AES’ meetings scheduled for the year which was held on November 10th, 2011 at 6pm, we were privileged to get a behind the scenes look at the audio recording and video production workflows utilized by the critically acclaimed Jacobs School Musical Arts Center.

The meeting was made made possible by Fallon Stillman, Coordinator of Audio Production as well as by IU’s Chair of the Department of Recording Arts, Konrad Strauss, and several wonderfully enthusiastic students from the recording crew and IU AES Student Section, all of whom the Section would like to thank for such a wonderful meeting!

The students walked the Section through their typical duties as members of the recording crew, and then provided a detailed presentation of the setup they are currently using or the opera La Bohème.

Konrad Strauss discussing video workflow. Click for more pictures

Following the comprehensive presentation, students led groups of the Section on tours of the performance hall prior to La Bohème’s first run-out, providing members the opportunity to view microphone positions as well as the video and audio production booths.

Members were provided the opportunity to watch the first act of La Bohème from the hall or the video / audio booths which allowed for ample time to ask questions of production staff.

Those interested are encouraged to view the live stream of La Bohème, November 11 & 12, 2011, at 8pm EDT.

We’d like to thank the several dozen members who made the drive to attend. As always, those with questions or concerns are encouraged to contact us. To stay up to date on section activities, be sure to follow us on Facebook or Twitter.