Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Mic Choice and Techniques for Live Sound

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Live sound venues and events can be a chaotic environment where things that seem to work just fine in one place don’t work at all the next night in another venue (or ten minutes after sound check in the same venue). Having a number of microphones and techniques for using them in your bag of tricks can prevent a whole lot of panic when you need immediate solutions.

The overall goals of miking techniques for live sound are easy enough to understand: get a good sound on the source that you’re miking, avoid picking up other sound sources in close proximity and prevent feedback. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? It turns out that choosing and using microphones is both an art and a science that can take years to fully master. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Choosing the Right Mics
Choosing microphones for live sound has different criteria than that you’d use for studio recording. Your first big choice is the main classes of microphone types: dynamic versus condenser. Dynamic mics are more rugged and more likely to handle the rigors of live use. They also handle higher SPL (sound pressure level, a.k.a. the loudness of the signal) better than condenser mics. However, condenser mics as a whole provide a much higher degree of sensitivity and fidelity to the original signal, along with extended high-frequency response.

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The most classic live sound reinforcement microphones are the Shure SM58 and SM57. Used on everything from lead vocals to snare drums to guitar amplifier cabinets, nearly every venue, live band, and touring company has a good number of these relatively inexpensive, reliable tools for live sound.

Giving Direction
Each microphone has a specific sensitivity to sound coming from various directions, known as the mic’s polar pattern. In most mics, this is permanently built into its design, while in others, different types of directionality can be selected on the microphone itself.

The main types are omnidirectional (which pick up sound equally in a 360-degree radius) and unidirectional (which pick up sounds from certain directions while rejecting others). These mics have polar patterns like cardioid, super-cardioid and hyper-cardioid. This can be tremendously useful in a stage setting. Let’s say you’re miking a horn section, but the guitar amp is nearby. Simply using a mic with a cardioid polar pattern instead of an omni mic will help reject the guitar from bleeding into the horn signal.

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This graphic, courtesy of Shure, shows a 3-D representation of omni, cardioid, and hypercardioid polar patterns. You can see the direction from where each pattern picks up and rejects signals.

Pad It Down, Roll It Off
Some mics have a built-in attenuator (“pad”) that allows you to instantly lower the signal by a preset amount, which is handy when dealing with loud sources like kick drum. Some mics may also have a low-frequency filter which helps to reduce the inevitable background noises—feet stomping on stages, wind, audience sounds and more. Pads and filters can really come in handy in a live setting.

Danger Zones
There are some common problems in live sound that are based on the way you use microphones. One is proximity effect, where a mic behaves differently when positioned very close to the source. When you do a sound check with lead singers, make sure they are using the mic just as they do during the performance.

Another caution area is using multiple mics. Unless you have a good understanding of mic placement, you may run into audible issues like phase cancellation and comb filtering. Problems generally occur when two or more mics are placed on the same source at different distances. Use only the mics you need. Learn the “3-to-1 rule,” which says that the distance between the mics should be three times the distance to the source.

General Good Ideas
First, never point a microphone in the direction of a PA or monitor speaker, which is the fastest way to cause feedback. Second, use directional microphones whenever possible, since you can orient them toward the source, helping to get a good signal, reject leakage from other sound sources and avoid feedback.

Perhaps the most important concept for live sound miking is that even a slight repositioning of a microphone can make a big difference. Don’t be afraid to experiment by moving the mics slightly to solve issues.

Quick Mic Choice and Technique Guide

Vocals: Dynamic mics are still the most popular choice here, and there are a wide variety of impressive handheld vocal mics from manufacturers like Sennheiser, Neumann, Electro-Voice, Beyerdynamic, Audix and Blue, in addition to the ubiquitous Shure SM58. Since every vocalist's voice and mic technique is different, it's good to keep a variety of mics available.


Drums: While kits can be miked effectively with as few as three mics, you'll get better control over the overall sound with a pair of condenser mics as overheads, and closely placed dynamic mics for the rest of the kit. The kick drum needs a mic that can stand up to very high SPL. The snare mic is the one most likely to be inadvertently hit by the drummer, so make sure it's something especially sturdy, like a Shure SM57. Usually the snare mic picks up enough of the high hat, but you can supplement that with a small-diaphragm condenser for extra sizzle.

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Choices in drum mics include kick drum mics like the AKG D12VR and the Heil PR48. A longtime go-to mic for toms is the Sennheiser MD421.

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Some snare and tom microphones can be easily mounted to the drum shell or other convenient attachment point, like the Sennheiser e604, CAD TSM411, Audix D2, snd Audio-Technica ATM230.

Guitars: For electric guitars, a unidirectional dynamic mic placed 1–4" from the grill is standard. Close to the center of the cone gives you more highs, and you can mellow a "spiky" amp by moving the mic towards the edge of the speaker or using a modern, sturdy ribbon mic. For acoustic guitars without built-in preamp/pickup systems, try a small-diaphragm condenser about 6" from the sound hole, slanted towards the top edge of the fretboard. Bass guitars are frequently covered with a D.I. (direct injection) box, but if miked, the same type of mic used for kick drum would be preferred.

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There are many mics that can be used for miking guitar amplifier speaker cabinets, like the Royer R-122 MKIIL and the Sennheiser e906. Miking live acoustic guitars is a little more challenging; try out the Shure SM81, Neumann KM 184, or the Mojave Audio MA-101fet.

Piano: To cover the full range of a grand or upright piano, you need a pair of mics, usually small-diaphragm omnidirectional condensers. Best placement is inside the lid, about a foot from the strings and about the same distance away from the hammers, one covering the bass strings and the other handling the treble strings. Remember the "3-to-1 rule" when placing these mics.

The final tip is to use your ears and adjust mic positions to try and solve problems before resorting to EQs or plug-ins. The better you get it to sound without adding processing, the better the final sound will be.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Signal Processing for Stage: Dynamics

This "Application Series" article gives advice toward the specific areas of business serviced by Guitar Center Professional, including studio recording/film sound, live sound, house of worship, clubs/restaurants, business sound/lighting systems, and more.



The proper use of signal processing in many settings can be confusing even for experienced engineers. To be clear, there are creative uses of signal processing with effects like reverbs, delays and more, but we won’t be getting into that here. Instead, we’re taking a look at one type of signal processing that’s necessary for a positive audience experience (and the safety of your sound system) -- dynamics processing.

Getting Dynamic with Compressors
The easiest way to understand what a compressor does is to imagine a tiny little audio engineer who lives in a box. His or her sole job is very clear: to keep the perceived volume (loudness or quietness) within a certain range. Our imaginary little engineer has incredibly fast fingers that are always on a fader, and can react faster than any real human to adjust the signal up or down, keeping it within a range that sounds good for the overall performance.

Let’s look at a specific example. In a rock band, not all sounds are created equally. A bass player can be thumping along and then decide to start slapping in the chorus, creating a much higher perceived volume. A singer can be practically whispering throughout a verse, and then start screaming his way through the bridge. You get the idea. Music itself is dynamic, and we agree that using a full dynamic range is a good practice! However, we’ve all been through the unpleasant experience of hearing a poorly-mixed band, where the drums overwhelm the rest of the music, or the vocals can’t be heard at all over a feisty guitar player. What compression does is help even out the volumes of these individual sources so that the live sound experience is a little bit closer to the smoothness of recorded music.

Compressors are the key to creating this professional live sound presentation. They are particularly important for sources that have the highest levels, such as kick drums and bass. They are also crucial for sources with the widest range of dynamics, like the human voice. Please be aware that a compressor is not just a limiter, which is a device that stops audio signals from going above a certain range. Compressors also can raise the level of quieter sources so they, too, can be heard clearly.

Finally, from a practical point of view for live sound, compressors can be crucial to protecting the rest of your live sound system. A sudden burst of a very loud signal can damage everything from your console or mixing surface to your entire main PA and stage monitoring system, as well as having a deleterious affect on the audience’s ears. It’s very important to use compression for this reason, if no other.

Under Control
One interesting thing about dynamics processing: if a high-quality compressor is set correctly, you shouldn’t hear it working. It will just do its job, and everyone will appreciate its work (whether they notice it or not). Let’s take a look at what kind of controls are offered on a typical compressor, and how they work together.

“Threshold" allows you to tell the compressor the level at which it can start reducing the amplitude of a signal. “Ratio" lets you set the gain reduction with a ratio. Example: a 3:1 ratio means that if the signal is 3dB over the threshold you set earlier, the output will be 1dB over the threshold. "Attack and Release” lets you control how quickly the gain reduction starts and stops working. “Knee” allows you to choose how the compressor responds to signals that cross the threshold. Finally, "Output Gain” or "Makeup Gain” takes the compressed signal and boosts it so you have the right amount of volume to fit into the mix.


The dbx 166XS, an affordable dynamics processor that's popular in live sound, shows many of the common controls of a compressor including threshold, ratio, attack, release, and output gain.

Plug It In, Plug It In
For a long time, live sound was an area where only hardware devices were trusted for their essential purposes. However, like most other areas of professional audio, software-based plug-ins have made their foray into live sound in recent years. Technology such as Avid’s VENUE live sound systems have allowed performers and engineers to take advantage of the software-based signal processing that they use in studios while playing live. Companies such as Waves, McDSP and others have created software-based dynamics processing plug-ins that work exceptionally well.

Recommended Dynamics Processors





Dangerous Music Compressor








Software-Based Live Sound Processing Bundles



FAQ

Can’t I just have a single compressor that covers the entire mix?
While it’s important to have a compressor available for the complete mix as needed, each source is different in terms of its need for compression. Some instruments and vocalists might not need any compression at all. Others (kick drum, bass, often vocals) need their own types of compressors, each with their own settings, for a professional stage sound presentation. Also, different players tend to play… differently. Some hit the drums or strings harder; others don’t. It’s a wise plan to have compression available based on the style of the player, rather than an overall plan based only on the types on sound sources.

I once used a compressor and it made everything sound terrible!

As we said above, compression is perhaps the most misunderstood tool in the audio engineer’s arsenal. Two things can cause a compressor to do more harm than good: the use of a poorly-made, cheap compressor which doesn’t have enough quality in its parts or design to meet your needs, or (more likely) having an inexperienced engineer who doesn’t understand how to best set a compressor for each source and/or the mix itself. The most common way to mis-use a compressor is to overuse it. Be conservative with your approach to compression, and it will be your friend.

Can software-based dynamics processors really be trusted for live sound applications?

Live sound—both touring and fixed installations—was one of the last holdouts for use of software-based processing, especially for needs like compression. However, over the last decade or so, plug-ins have proven themselves in the largest venues and most high-profile tours. It’s safe to say that if you want to build a system that uses either software exclusively or in combination with hardware gear, you can trust these tools on your most important live sound jobs.

For more information on live sound processors, consult your GC Pro rep. Visit www.gcpro.com to find your local representative.

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About Guitar Center Professional/Guitar Center
Guitar Center Professional is the outside sales division of Guitar Center that focuses on the needs of professional users. Its clientele includes recording studios, audio engineers, producers, recording and touring musicians, live sound venues, post production facilities and more. Emphasizing extraordinary individualized service via local account managers, GC Pro offers expert consultation and a comprehensive selection of the world’s finest equipment for music and audio professionals. More information on GC Pro can be found by visiting www.gcpro.com.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Ocean County Vocational Technical School System

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A student from the Audio Technology Program at the Ocean County Vocational Technical School System, in Lakehurst, NJ, works at a workstation comprising gear sourced through GC Pro.

— GC Pro has been the Ocean County Vocational Technical School Audio Technology program’s partner since its inception, providing it with the right products, platforms, systems, advice and support to enable it to expand and increase its accreditation —

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA, August 31, 2016 — The Audio Technology Program at the Ocean County Vocational Technical School System (OCVTS), in Lakehurst, NJ, provides a challenging academic curriculum for college-prep and adult courses, along with a major in audio production for full time students. The program is literally in its second generation: it was established in 1997 by the late Dennis Bourke, a noted studio owner and engineer in the region and since 2015 has been led by his son, Bill Bourke, along with Zack Slater, himself a graduate of the program and a former student of Dennis’. The mission of the Ocean County Vocational Technical School system is to prepare students for careers or further education, and to that end, the Audio Program has always strived to keep its curriculum and its equipment at the cutting edge, to ready students to enter careers in a fast-changing industry. Guitar Center Professional (GC Pro), the business-to-business (B2B) division of Guitar Center providing highly customized service for professional accounts, has been its close partner for that entire time.

“GC Pro has been our go-to for equipment and expertise for years now, first for my father and now for me,” says Bill Bourke. “Most recently, they were here to upgrade our two Pro Tools systems to Pro Tools HD, which has enabled us to become an Avid Learning Partner and able to provide certifications for our graduates. But my dad was an old-school analog guy, and GC Pro had everything he needed, too. As we grow, they’re there for us.” That’s evident in TechFest, an annual live music festival, a fundraiser that provides scholarship money for the Audio Program. Its sixth edition was held last April in nearby Brick, NJ, and GC Pro provided most of the live-sound technology for the 20 local bands on two stages that operated by the Audio Program’s students. “Now, our students are learning audio for the studio and live, and GC Pro is a big part of that,” says Bourke. Slater adds, “We have always dreamed of giving our students the best real-world experience we can while they are still in high school. GC Pro has helped take our production to the next level and has really enabled us to achieve our goal.”

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Students in the Audio Technology Program at the Ocean County Vocational Technical School System, in Lakehurst, NJ, get real-world experience in all aspects of audio engineering, including tracking live bands in an acoustically treated environment with gear sourced through GC Pro.

The Audio Program’s growth has been considerable: the two-year, fulltime day course is offered to high school and post-secondary students who can now receive college credit for taking the course. In 2017 it’s scheduled to expand to a four-year full-time academy through the OCVTS Performing Arts Academy. Rick Rivera, GC Pro Account Manager based in East Brunswick, NJ, says it’s been a pleasure to have served the program for so long and watch it grow. “Their TechFest is a great event — the music is great and it helps provide scholarship money for the students, so we’ve been contributing gift certificates and other things to help it along,” says Rivera. “We have more than just a sales and buyer relationship — we care about what they’re trying to do, which is give students a first-class audio technology education that really prepares them for a career in music or theater or live sound or whatever they want to pursue.”

The Audio Technology Program at the Ocean County Vocational Technical School has one very unique aspect that students won’t find anywhere else: This campus of the school is located in Hangar One on the Lakehurst Naval Air Station, the very hangar where the ill-fated Hindenburg zeppelin crashed on landing in 1937 (historically seen on the cover of the Led Zeppelin II album). That disaster took place nearly 80 years ago, but what it left behind is intriguing: a massive hangar whose walls produce incredible reverb effects that Bourke has been sampling over the years, using microphones and systems purchased through GC Pro. “We’re talking about ten-second reverb times,” he marvels. “It would make an amazing plug-in — we’ll call it the Hindenverb.”

For more information, please visit www.gcpro.com.

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About Guitar Center Professional/Guitar Center
Guitar Center Professional is the outside sales division of Guitar Center that focuses on the needs of professional users. Its clientele includes recording studios, audio engineers, producers, recording and touring musicians, live sound venues, post production facilities and more. Emphasizing extraordinary individualized service via local account managers, GC Pro offers expert consultation and a comprehensive selection of the world’s finest equipment for music and audio professionals. More information on GC Pro can be found by visiting www.gcpro.com.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Keyboardist Peter Levin

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Peter Levin. Photo credit: Vernon Webb © 2012.

— Best known for his studio and live work with Gregg Allman, Levin’s links with GC Pro’s Judd Goldrich were forged decades ago —

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA, August 16, 2016 — Peter Levin’s discography is both lengthy and deep. The keyboard wizard is known for his piano and clavinet work that offsets the Hammond played by Gregg Allman in his current band, which Levin tours and records with. But his history also includes a genre-busting who’s-who of music: Allen Toussaint, Aaron Neville, Levon Helm, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Bernard Purdie, Lou Reed, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Christian McBride, God Street Wine, Merl Saunders, Phil Lesh and Jackie Green, Vassar Clements and the Oak Ridge Boys, along with session work for Korn, Train, Beastie Boys and Public Enemy. When not on tour with Allman, he has his own gig with the band Moon Palace Revival. He also finds time to work in his personal Brooklyn studio, also dubbed Moon Palace. Another thread running through Levin’s career is Guitar Center Professional (GC Pro), the business-to-business (B2B) division of Guitar Center providing highly customized service for professional accounts, which has been part of Levin’s story for years. GC Pro Account and Artist Relations Manager Judd Goldrich has a personal relationship with Levin going back decades, to when Goldrich was a younger man but still a fixture in the NYC M.I. scene.

The two formed a long-lasting bond that transcended just a transactional relationship. “When I got serious as a touring and studio musician, Judd was the guy I went to when I needed instruments or equipment of just good advice,” Levin recalls. That relationship was strengthened in recent years, when Levin was playing with Gregg Allman on the Mississippi coast and a fierce gulf storm raged through. The storm wiped out a stage, taking with it all four of Levin’s keyboards. “I called Judd, who was then at Guitar Center, and he had a new Yamaha CP-300 piano — the focal point of my rig — and some Moog pedals on the way to me immediately,” he says. “It’s been that way ever since. Whether I need gear for touring or for my studio, I call Judd and GC Pro and it’s taken care of.”

Most recently, Levin bought a Sequential Prophet-6 synthesizer at GC Pro and a Fender silver-face reissue Vibrolux amplifier that he’s using for his clavinet and Wurlitzer electric piano. When he realized that the Vibrolux’s two 10-inch speakers couldn’t deliver enough low end, GC Pro’s specialists suggested a Vibro-King 2x12 closed-back extension cabinet that did the trick. “Anywhere I am in the country, I call GC Pro or go into a store, they have what I need when I need it,” he says. “GC Pro is just the best.”

For more information, please visit www.gcpro.com.

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About Guitar Center Professional/Guitar Center
Guitar Center Professional is the outside sales division of Guitar Center that focuses on the needs of professional users. Its clientele includes recording studios, audio engineers, producers, recording and touring musicians, live sound venues, post production facilities and more. Emphasizing extraordinary individualized service via local account managers, GC Pro offers expert consultation and a comprehensive selection of the world’s finest equipment for music and audio professionals. More information on GC Pro can be found by visiting www.gcpro.com.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Stage Monitoring for House of Worship

This "Application Series" article gives advice toward the specific areas of business serviced by Guitar Center Professional, including studio recording/film sound, live sound, house of worship, clubs/restaurants, business sound/lighting systems, and more.



Unless you’ve spent some time onstage playing in bands of the spiritual or secular variety, the whole concept of stage monitoring might be hard to understand. The most simple way to get it is that if a musician or speaker can’t hear themselves (or other members of their band or choir) while onstage, it’s terribly difficult to put on a top-notch presentation or performance. Therefore, you need a solution in your house of worship that allows musical performances or spoken word presentations to be heard onstage as well as in the audience.

There are two general categories of stage monitoring systems: speaker monitors (also known as floor wedges) and in-ear monitors (IEMs, sometimes called personal monitors). Traditional stage monitors are wedge-shaped speakers that are placed toward the front of the stage, facing back toward the performers. In-ear monitors are exactly as the name implies: like the ear buds in an iPod, they fit into the external ear canals of the person addressing or performing for the audience.

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Some worship facilities use a combination of traditional floor wedge stage monitors along with in-ear monitors for the best of both worlds. St. Andrews Presbyterian Church (Newport Beach, CA).

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Houses of worship that opt for in-ear monitors (IEMs) over stage wedges enjoy a clear, uncluttered stage that can be an advantage for both performers and audiences. Grace Family Church (Lutz, FL).

Wedges vs IEMs
Floor wedges have been around for decades and are very simple in design; they are merely speakers that connect via audio cables to a mixing surface. There is an inherent level of reliability with this low-tech (but time-proven) solution. In choosing between floor wedges and IEMs, be aware that some performers simply don’t like the aspect of having things tucked into their ears while they play. They might find it too isolating from the natural acoustics of the stage and the room as a whole.

But in today’s world, it’s hard to pose an argument against in-ear monitoring. Using them, the performer gets a level of control of volume, panning, and other elements that is simply not possible in wedge monitors. In-ear monitors will never be a cause of feedback, which is always a danger when you have live speakers on stage that can direct sound back into open microphones. Finally, since most IEM systems are wireless, those performers can move about the stage more freely, since their mix is always right there with them. This can be especially good for dramatic performances.

Guitar Center Professional’s account representatives are experts at specifying monitoring systems for houses of worship. In many cases, they can even visit your place of worship to determine what will work best for you.

FAQ
How many floor wedges or IEM systems will our house of worship need?
The answer is dependent on several factors, including the size of the stage and the number of performers/presenters that will using them at once. With wedge monitors, each monitor will disperse sound over a certain area of the stage. In a typical worship band-type music event, it’s a good idea to have at least three wedges at the front of the stage for singers and instrumentalists, and more near the back for drummers, keyboardists, backing vocalists and the like. With in-ear monitors, the answer is more simple: each performer will require his or her own set of IEMs.

Is it complicated to set up and use a wireless IEM system?
No. It can be set up quickly and easily. However, making the most of an IEM system’s advantages (like setting up personalized levels and other settings for each performer) requires a level of aquired skill. In the professional live sound world, there’s a role called a “monitor mixer” whose sole job is to do just this. Your GC Pro rep can assist you in getting your IEM system set up and ready for use.

If we’re building a new facility from the ground up, is it important to take stage monitoring into consideration?
Stage monitoring is of vital importance to the quality of the performance or presentation, and therefore impacts the experience of the audience as well. It should be thought of on an equal degree of importance as your facility’s main PA system, lighting, and more.

What if we can’t afford our stage monitoring system all at once?
First, Guitar Center Professional has excellent financing programs tailor-made for houses of worship. Second, with both wedge speakers and IEMs, your monitoring system can be built and then added to as your budget permits.

Suggested Products






For more information, please visit www.gcpro.com.

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About Guitar Center Professional/Guitar Center
Guitar Center Professional is the outside sales division of Guitar Center that focuses on the needs of professional users. Its clientele includes recording studios, audio engineers, producers, recording and touring musicians, live sound venues, post production facilities and more. Emphasizing extraordinary individualized service via local account managers, GC Pro offers expert consultation and a comprehensive selection of the world’s finest equipment for music and audio professionals. More information on GC Pro can be found by visiting www.gcpro.com.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Sound Designer Travis Powers

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Travis Powers

— From commissioning workstation platforms like Pro Tools HD, to acoustical treatments and monitoring, GC Pro has been Travis Powers’ trusted partner as he works on classic shows like The Simpsons, King of the Hill, The PJs, Dilbert and other major animated hits —

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA, July 21, 2016 — Arguably, the toughest balancing act in audio isn’t in the final mix — it’s in achieving equilibrium between the creative power and the technical complexity of pro audio technology. That’s an equation that Travis Powers has always encountered, first as a musician programming samplers and processing gear, and then later applying the same digital techniques as Sound Designer, Supervising Sound Effects Editor and/or Composer for hit animated television series including The Simpsons, Futurama, Dilbert, The PJs, The Critic, The Tracey Ullman Show and King of the Hill. Powers’ sound effects work has received multiple awards, including a Golden Reel Award for Best Sound Editing, for The Simpsons’ episode “Treehouse of Horror VIII.” For years now, he has turned to Guitar Center Professional (GC Pro), the business-to-business (B2B) division of Guitar Center providing highly customized service for professional accounts, for gear and technical expertise. “I don’t want to spend a lot of time thinking about the technical side of the equipment in my studio, ”You want to deliver really well-prepared material to the final mix, because on the stage it is about merging the dialogue, music and effects, not spending time cleaning up, balancing or modulating the tracks. The high track count, powerful design plugins and sonic clarity of the system Ziv put together for me gives me the confidence that what I’m hearing in my studio translates to what will be heard on the screen. That’s why I’ve been happy for years to leave the technical side to GC Pro.”

GC Pro’s West L.A. location has been Powers’ go-to resource for a long time. There, dedicated personnel such as Ziv Gross (Account Manager) and Derek Snyder (Manager, Strategic Development) have been helping clients pick the right gear for their needs and getting them up and running on it as quickly and transparently as possible. “Travis has been working with Derek and I for quite a while now; we try to anticipate his needs and get him comfortable with new equipment as easily as possible,” explains Account Manager Ziv Gross, who set Powers up with his new Avid Pro Tools HD system and Genelec 8330 SAM® Monitoring System in 2.1. And GC Pro will be part of expanding that system to full 5.1 in the very near future.

Gross recalls, “When we handled the new Pro Tools HD system for him, we also transferred all of his plugins and sound libraries from the old computer, so that he was up and running without having to wait for the process. It was plug and play within just a few hours. My rep from Genelec and I came over to his studio to set up the new system and tune the monitors to the room. No other retailer does all that.”

Powers agrees: “These guys are always on top of it,” he says. “Recommendations for new equipment, new acoustical treatments, letting me know about upgrades — they always keep me up to date. My work never stops, and neither do they.”

Powers’ close relationship with GC Pro, and the gear and setup they’ve assembled together over the years, has helped with the blossoming of an entirely new career – that of Travis’ daughter Veronica Powers, an up-and-coming performer in her own right. As a singer-songwriter and actress in her teens, Veronica has recently broken out with high-profile live performances and her brand new single and video “You’ve Got Something.” Travis notes, “I’ve never put any pressure on her at all to enter show business; it was all organic and natural for her, but growing up in a household with a recording studio certainly an influence, I believe! Getting started years ago, we were able to produce music and videos for Veronica in-house, thanks to the gear setup I’ve been lucky to put together – not to mention the guitar we got her from Guitar Center. Now the opportunities are stacking up, with several producers interested in her moving forward – she co-wrote ‘You’ve Got Something’ with Francci Richard (songwriter for Fergie, Keyshia Cole, Patti LaBelle, JoJo). She is currently writing a song with pop star Pixie Lott, produced Barry Blue, and is managed by vocal coach and talent consultant CeCe Sammy (Pop Idol, S Club Search, The X Factor). I am beyond proud. I guess it’s like a veteran quarterback getting to see their kid grow up into a great football player all their own.”

For more information, please visit www.gcpro.com.

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About Guitar Center Professional/Guitar Center
Guitar Center Professional is the outside sales division of Guitar Center that focuses on the needs of professional users. Its clientele includes recording studios, audio engineers, producers, recording and touring musicians, live sound venues, post production facilities and more. Emphasizing extraordinary individualized service via local account managers, GC Pro offers expert consultation and a comprehensive selection of the world’s finest equipment for music and audio professionals. More information on GC Pro can be found by visiting www.gcpro.com.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

GC Pro Guides Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church

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The AV control center at the Houston-area Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church, featuring a Studer Vista 1 console.

— Large Houston church acquires two Studer digital audio consoles with GC Pro managing a complex transaction from initial planning through installation and commissioning —

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA, June 30, 2016 — The Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church has been among the Houston area’s largest houses of worship for over 60 years. However, through most of that time, it was also a very analog institution, with a pair of analog consoles used for front-of-house mixing and to route audio to congregation overflow and post-production areas. As of this year, however, Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church has entered its own digital age, with the acquisition of two Studer digital consoles, purchased through Guitar Center Professional (GC Pro), the business-to-business (B2B) division of Guitar Center providing highly customized service for professional accounts. GC Pro managed the sale of a Studer Vista 1 desk, which was installed earlier this year, used to route audio to a number of locations around the church campus. A Studer Vista V console intended as the church’s new FOH console was also installed and commissioned at the beginning of the summer. GC Pro’s Houston-based team of account managers and sales associates handled both transactions.

“I knew what I wanted for this,” says Lennon Allison, AV Production & Design Engineer at Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church, of the church’s transition to digital audio technology. “I spent a lot of time researching and even taking training on a number of consoles, to make sure I found exactly the right one for us. Acquisition of equipment is a part of my job, and GC pro is my first choice when it comes to price point and ease of transaction.”

Allison had worked in the past with GC Pro Account Manager Troy Hanchett, including the purchase of the church’s Avid Pro Tools HD and Control 24 control surface for the church’s post-production department. While he had done his homework, Allison still depended upon GC Pro to make sure he got expert help in managing the transition to digital for the church’s key audio platforms. “Troy set up the conference calls between me and Studer, which made sure that we have everything planned out ahead of time,” he recalls. “He’s had a great working relationship with the church even before I took this position three years ago, so he knows our facility and its needs. We really depend on that.”

The first console has already made an impact on the church’s media operations. The audio is always split three ways – to FOH, a broadcast stream and Pro Tools. The church’s “tricaster” stream, which is always uploaded to the church’s website and for a campus-wide broadcast, generally sync’ed the “broadcast” video with the Pro Tools audio – in the past, processed with dynamics and EQ. “But now with the Vista 1,” notes Allison, “the audio being sent to the tricaster is so pristine that we no longer need to do any post-production of audio before posting the video, which means no post-production of audio required at all.” Another issue was inconsistent volume for a video-over-Ethernet signal, which goes straight to TVs in the church’s overflow area. “But now, the Vista 1's accurate metering and exceptional dynamics has made our levels consistent and tackled the problem of music vs. spoken word volume differences,” adds Allison.

For more information, please visit www.gcpro.com.

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About Guitar Center Professional/Guitar Center
Guitar Center Professional is the outside sales division of Guitar Center that focuses on the needs of professional users. Its clientele includes recording studios, audio engineers, producers, recording and touring musicians, live sound venues, post production facilities and more. Emphasizing extraordinary individualized service via local account managers, GC Pro offers expert consultation and a comprehensive selection of the world’s finest equipment for music and audio professionals. More information on GC Pro can be found by visiting www.gcpro.com.