Thursday, February 4, 2016

Junkie XL Outlines His Workflow Built with the Help of GC Pro


Tom Holkenborg, aka Junkie XL.

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA, February 3, 2016 — Tom Holkenborg, also known as Junkie XL or JXL, is one of the top film composers working today, and he took a unique route to get there – aided in part by the sourcing power and expertise of Guitar Center Professional (GC Pro), the business-to-business (B2B) division of Guitar Center providing highly customized service for professional accounts. Having achieved worldwide success as electronic artist Junkie XL, licensing music to video games, films and commercials, and topping the charts in 24 countries with his remix of Elvis Presley’s “A Little Less Conversation,” he decided it was time for a change. Twelve years ago, the Dutch multi-instrumentalist, remixer, producer and engineer relocated to Los Angeles to add a “film composer” credit to his name. And the move was attempted somewhat naively, admits Holkenborg. “I came here and said, ‘Let’s score movies!’ I sat in with Harry Gregson-Williams — still one of my favorite film composers — and saw how he worked, how he combines the orchestra with other elements, and how he dealt with meetings with the studios, and I realized that it is not as easy as it looks.”

So Holkenborg decided to take a back seat, working as an assistant for various composers while also composing music for projects as they came. And more and more came in, and Holkenborg steadily built a reputation as one of the hardest-working and talented composers in Hollywood. By 2015, those 12 years of hard work have more than paid off, with composer credits on several major motion pictures: for example, Run All Night, Mad Max: Fury Road, Black Mass, Kill Your Friends, and Point Break just in 2015 alone. As 2016 gets underway, his music will be heard in Deadpool and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, with more to come as the year progresses.

The point at which a film composer is brought into a project can vary. “I’m now working on a science fiction movie that comes out in a year or so; I got the script in March 2014. Fury Road I got almost two years ago,” he says. “But then there are movies like 300: Rise of an Empire or Black Mass that come in five weeks ahead. That’s a whole different set of challenges.” If no film has been shot yet, he says, “If you’ve got a script your head takes you to places that are not connected to the images yet. I start to think about the story and what would fit the characters and the movie.” Initially, he says, he would read a script, put it down, and immediately start working. But now, “I tend to take more time to think about it. At a certain point it starts playing in my head, which comes after years of making music. Then I start working.”

Holkenborg and his family recently moved into a house in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley, converting an entire wing into a series of studios, including his main writing and mixing room, which features two enormous modular synthesizers. “I’m particularly fond of rooms that have a liveliness to them, like this room,” he says. “When I mix here, at first it sounds very cluttered because of the reverb and slapback, but if I can get a mix really tight in this room then it will sound really awesome in a theater.”

As for a DAW, “I’ve been going between Cubase, Pro Tools, and Logic since the beginning of time. For the last three and a half years it has been Cubase. It’s been really wonderful; I’ve been able to build a massive template that runs really smoothly. The Cubase machine is a super-fast PC. Linked to that are six server units running VSL [Vienna Symphonic Library] Pro. Cubase comes with a ridiculous amount of plug-ins, so I pretty much have everything that’s available.” He continues, “The speakers are very important to me. I’ve had the Dynaudio AIR 25s almost 14 years. They really work for me. I get good mixes out of them, and it’s a pleasure to listen to them for a long period of time.” Holkenborg also has racks of hardware, including a pair of early-1980s Yamaha REV7 reverbs and a Korg DRV-3000 multi-processor, but notes, “Outboard gear is essentially irrelevant when it comes to working in-the-box. But it’s super important when creating sounds or during recording.”

GC Pro has been a key partner throughout. Holkenborg notes, “I've known Derek Snyder [currently Director, GC Pro Business Development] at GC Pro for 14 years now. He has always had my back for any technical or gear challenge that I have faced. To have a relationship like that is very important to me. It keeps the creative energy flowing. Whether its guitars, amps, software or hardware, I always rely on his expertise.”

He has no standard approach to composing: “I love to be as original as I can. I usually end up with a score that is quite left of center.” But composing music for motion pictures is not like making a record, he stresses. “It’s not about the music, it’s about the film. Your prime responsibility is to enhance the film and come up with something that really fits the film.” Once he is confident with his direction and has some music recorded, Holkenborg sends what he calls his sketchbook to the film director. “As a music product it’s finished, but it’s a sketchbook in the sense that I want to show my ideas to the director. We’ll use that as a template. I’ll ask, do you recognize your movie in this? It’s not even to picture. We start a discussion. I’ll take chunks of the music and rework it to a scene and see the director’s response. It’s teamwork. There are people who think that the composer can determine what’s going to happen in a film score. That’s not true — the director steers the ship.”

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, January 27, 2016

Glen Glenn Is Reborn as Deluxe with the Help of GC Pro

A theatrical mix stage at the Glen Glenn Sound facility, the center of audio post-production operations for Deluxe.
A theatrical mix stage at the Glen Glenn Sound facility, the center of audio post-production operations for Deluxe.

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA, January 27, 2016 — There was a time when the name Glen Glenn Sound was at the top of a very short list of sound-for-picture facilities. Founded by film and television audio pioneer Glen R. Glenn, a Canadian electrical engineer who migrated to Los Angeles in 1931, Glen Glenn Sound was established in 1937 and quickly became the go-to supplier for post-production sound services for films and later for the then-new medium of television. The company, which grew to 14 studios at three locations and became the largest independent audio post-production company in the world, was involved in the audio post for over 20,000 theatrical films and television shows, until it was acquired by an equally iconic brand in the sound-for-picture business, Todd-AO, in 1986.

Fast forward to today, when Deluxe — yet another truly iconic name in media, founded as a film lab that grew into an innovative creative services and delivery solutions provider, and which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year — revitalized the Glen Glenn Sound building on Seward Street in Hollywood, part of a restructuring of the media giant’s content development facilities. The Glen Glenn Sound name will remain on the side of the building, built in 1981, a reminder of its historic legacy, but inside, Deluxe Audio Seward, as the facility is now known, will be at the cutting edge of modern audio post-production technology and workflow. This transition was accomplished thanks to products, service and support from Guitar Center Professional (GC Pro), the business-to-business (B2B) division of Guitar Center providing highly customized service for professional accounts.

As much as half of the building’s 40,000 square feet are taken up with five theatrical mix stages, with three functioning as Dolby Atmos and DTS-X immersive rooms. Stage 5, formally an ADR-only stage, was converted to a hybrid mix/ADR room that functions as a premier TV mixing stage. Stage 7 is unique in that it can transition between home and theatrical immersive formats, giving valuable real world translation experiences for the content creators.

“When you see the name on the side of the building, you’re immediately reminded of the immense history that comes with this place, which is that it’s one of the few large buildings in the world ever purpose-built from the ground up specifically for audio,” observes Doug Higgins, Director of Audio Operations for Deluxe. “Once you step inside, it doesn’t feel like you’re in a thirty-something-year-old building. The technology is cutting-edge.”

A significant amount of the equipment was sourced and supplied through the Los Angeles office of GC Pro. Deluxe Seward took delivery of a massive amount of systems, platforms, and products from brands including Avid, JBL, Crown, Focusrite RedNet, Evertz, Waves, Izotope, Audioease, Neyrinck and Panasonic. “Working with the team at GC Pro was fantastic,” says Higgins. “They gave us the attention we needed to get through an aggressive transition period.”

Equipment and technology decisions were made based on which ones could not only give the facility the ability to match a wide range of client needs but do so at a level without compromise — part of Deluxe’s strategy is to be one stop solution for its clients — and keep efficiency high, but also adapt to changes in workflow, technology, and the industry environment around them going forward.

Several processes were implemented to achieve all of this. For instance, audio signal flow around the facility is a hybrid of MADI, Dante, and BLU-based digital audio networking. All of the facility’s mix stages are utilizing MADI I/O to help efficiently deal with immersive audio, such as Dolby Atmos and DTS-X. From MADI, the signal then is sent to the Focusrite RedNet 6 box for conversion to Dante. From there, audio as networked data is distributed to Dante-enabled BSS BLU-806 BLU-Net processor that communicates via BLU Link to the Crown amplifiers — where all of the D/A conversions take place — for the audio monitoring chain.

That signal flow configuration will take on even more importance for monitoring as the number of film-sound speaker formats continues to expand, with the now-conventional 5.1 and 7.1 being joined by Dolby Atmos and DTS-X immersive format with up to 64 discrete speakers in a room. Stage 1 currently supports the Cinema Giant Screen (CGS) format, whose images are more than 65 feet wide and 35 feet tall.

“We have significant needs for audio signal-distribution throughout the building, and much of it is literally running across ethernet and coaxial cables,” Higgins notes. “We can change formats, configurations, and destinations very quickly.”

In addition, a KVM (keyboard, video, mouse) system from IHSE is implemented throughout the facility, allowing very flexible and efficient workstation management across the mix stages so that authorized users can remotely and securely connect to any workstation, providing a huge boost to workflow efficiency, Higgins says. “This is what makes the facility dynamic,” he explains. “A multi-workstation project can be moved from room to room with very little setup time. In addition, our 10 gigabyte fiber ring to our other Deluxe worldwide facilities truly helps meet our customer’s needs.”

In some cases, the market helps make technology decisions. Higgins cites the ubiquity of JBL speakers in cinemas globally for Deluxe Seward’s choice of that brand for most of its cinema monitoring, including the JBL High Powered Screen Array Cinema system. “We wanted to have high quality audio monitoring with very strong translation into the real world,” he says.

In 2015, most of the Deluxe audio group in Los Angeles moved into Seward, which includes Chace Audio in Burbank, best known for their proprietary restoration processes. “Having our Los Angeles audio groups finally come together into one building gives us a tremendous amount of talent, resources, flexibility, and efficiencies in one location. While we have embraced an all digital workflow, we still provide servicing for over 85 legacy audio formats, which allows us to provide many end-to-end services to customers.” says Higgins.

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.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

TEC Award Winners & GC Pro's Unofficial Runners-Up


Another NAMM Show is behind us, and while we could complain about our sore feet after walking 27 miles of aisles over the past four days, instead we’d like to tip our hat to winners and nominees from the recent TEC Awards, held during NAMM to recognize the technical and creative achievements in our industry. We’re also including our own picks for runners-up in each category, in a completely unauthorized and unofficial way, because we’re like that.

You can get more detailed information on any TEC Award-worthy product listed below by contacting Guitar Center Professional at 877-687-5404.


AMPLIFICATION HARDWARE - STUDIO & SOUND REINFORCEMENT
Antelope Audio: Satori Monitoring Controller


Antelope Audio: Satori Monitoring Controller

The winner in the amplification category is a worthy one. Satori is a true analog monitoring and summing system that is one of the best ever made. Great for both commercial and project studios, Satori has carefully-designed analog circuits and fast, transparent relay attenuators to ensure the audio integrity throughout the whole signal path. Everything about the Satori, from its gold-plated relays and precise resistors to its features that include four independent headphone amps, analog summing functionality, and eight stereo inputs and four stereo outputs in a 1U rack space should tell you that this is worth our attention.

GC Pro’s Runner-Up: QSC’s GXD Series, power amps that are ideal for portable sound reinforcement applications and installations with demanding DSP requirements and flexibility at a cost effective price.

QSC’s GXD Series

ANCILLARY EQUIPMENT
Rupert Neve Designs: RNDI Active Transformer Direct Interface


Rupert Neve Designs: RNDI Active Transformer Direct Interface

It always seems like “Ancillary Equipment” is a catch-all category for audio products that can’t be wedged into other definitions (because that’s pretty much what it is). But in this case, the winner is something that will be valuable in any studio or live sound environment. The RNDI is a direct box that goes above and beyond the norm with custom Rupert Neve-designed transformers and class-A biased, discrete FET amplifiers. It delivers a powerful and vibrant direct sound capable of reproducing the full harmonic depth of basses, guitars, acoustic instruments, and professional line level sources.

GC Pro’s Runner-Up: Radial Engineering JDX-48 Reactor Guitar Amp Direct Box. We love the wide range of utility products made by Radial, and the JDX-48 is definitely one of them. It captures the sound of both the head and the cabinet of an amp, and works equally well on electric guitar and bass with 100% discrete class-A circuitry.

Radial Engineering JDX-48 Reactor Guitar Amp Direct Box

COMPUTER AUDIO HARDWARE
Universal Audio: Apollo 8p Thunderbolt 2 Audio Interface


Universal Audio: Apollo 8p Thunderbolt 2 Audio Interface

Thousands of GC Pro customers already are aware of the power of Universal Audio’s Apollo line of audio interfaces. Since their introduction, this product series has continued to get even better, and the TEC Award-winning Apollo 8p is one of the best ever made. It delivers a 16 x 20 Thunderbolt 2 interface featuring eight onboard mic preamps, making it perfect for mobile rigs and tracking full bands. Apollo 8p also features powerful UAD-2 QUAD Core processing, letting you run UAD Powered Plug-Ins in real time.

GC Pro’s Runner-Up: There were so many great products nominated in this category, like Waves DiGiGrid iOS, Apogee’s Ensemble Thunderbolt, and Dangerous Music’s Convert Series, that you almost couldn’t go wrong no matter what you choose. We’re giving the unofficial runner-up award to Focusrite for the Clarett 8Pre, a box that is renowned for excellent sound with up to 119dB dynamic range, superbly low noise, precision 24/192 conversion and eight specially-designed mic preamps.

Focusrite Clarett 8Pre

HEADPHONE / EARPIECE TECHNOLOGY
Audio-Technica: ATH-R70x Pro


Audio-Technica: ATH-R70x Pro

When we found out that Audio-Technica was creating their first pair of open-back reference professional headphones, we wondered, “What took you so long?” And then we listened and understood. They are the new flagship for A-T’s lineup of professional studio headphones, and they feature specially designed drivers and acoustically transparent housings fashioned from aluminum honeycomb mesh, and provide even greater comfort during the prolonged use often required in professional settings.

GC Pro’s Runner-Up: Shure’s PSM 300 is an excellent choice in personal monitoring for musicians, houses of worship, and other live sound situations where a powerful but affordable system is required.

Shure’s PSM 300

MICROPHONE PREAMPLIFIERS
Manley Labs: Manley FORCE


Manley Labs: Manley FORCE

Mic preamps are extraordinarily difficult to judge... what sounds perfect for one source might not be right at all for another, which is why the best studios and production facilities in the world often have a multitude of preamps to choose from. We certainly can’t argue against this year’s TEC Award winner; EveAnna Manley and her company make fantastic preamps, and Manley FORCE is a meticulously hand-crafted box that offers four channels of vacuum tube microphone preamplifiers, housed in an exquisitely gorgeous chassis.

GC Pro’s Runner-Up: Once again, it’s hard to say that any of the 2016 TEC nominees in this category wouldn’t serve as excellent preamps, from the AMS Neve 1073DPX to the Focusrite RedNet MP8R and the rest. However, our unofficial runner-up is the Chandler Limited REDD.47. Decisively old-school in design, it’s a recreation of the original tube line amplifiers used in Abbey Road Studios’ heralded EMI REDD.51 recording consoles circa 1959-1968, with an unmistakably punchy, aggressive character that you associate with Beatles tracks recorded in the mid-60s.

Chandler Limited REDD.47

MICROPHONES – RECORDING
Neumann: U47 FET


Neumann U47 FET

It can’t be a surprise to anyone that this recreation of a coveted mic is a winner out of the gate, and voters for the TEC Awards this year apparently agreed. This collector’s edition of the famous Neumann U47 fet is based on the original mic’s production documents and schematics. This world-class condenser cardioid microphone, available via GC Pro, offers a wide dynamic range, a switchable low-cut filter, and switchable attenuation.

GC Pro’s Runner-Up: So... hard... to... choose! Microphones are one area where studios of all sizes should have a variety to accommodate the wildly different vocal and instrumental sources that they may encounter, so there’s rarely a right or wrong answer at this level. The Audio-Technica AT5045 is an outstanding side-address mic with a huge diaphragm surface area. The Blue Microphones Hummingbird is a fantastic small-diaphragm mic that’s both innovative (with a 180-degree rotating head) and super affordable. But we’re going to give our prize to Royer Labs’ R-122 MKll Active Ribbon Microphone. Sure, it may just be an update to the original R-122, but this industry-standard ribbon mic now adds a switchable -15 dB pad and a switchable bass-cut filter, making it even more flexible for more sound sources.

Royer Labs R-122 MKll Active Ribbon Microphone

MICROPHONES – SOUND REINFORCEMENT
Shure: 5575LE Unidyne 75th Anniversary Vocal Microphone


Shure: 5575LE Unidyne 75th Anniversary Vocal Microphone

Talk about a classic! The Shure 5575LE is a limited-edition mic that you probably associate from its days starting 75 years ago on the desks of announcers and talk shows. Designed specifically for vocal and speech miking, we’re pretty sure that its combination of vibe-filled sound and great design is what captured the votes for this year’s TEC Award.

GC Pro’s Runner-Up: There are many great mics to choose from in a category that can span from hand-held mics for bands up to the podium mics that will spread the word to thousands at a large house of worship. Our pick is the Earthworks High-Definition 40kHz FlexMic, which is a series of some of the finest high-definition podium microphones ever made. Available in multiple lengths and both cardioid and hypercardioid patterns, these mics will handle up to an astonishing 145dB SPL with high rejection of sounds to the rear of the microphone, and incredible gain before feedback.

Earthworks High-Definition 40kHz FlexMic

MUSICAL INSTRUMENT AMPLIFICATION & EFFECTS
Eventide: H9 MAX


Eventide: H9 MAX

Okay, this may look like a typical small stompbox at first glance, but it’s actually like some crazy effects device from the future. The H9 Max includes tons of algorithms from Eventide’s acclaimed effects from over their long history, including Time, Mod, Pitch, and Space, and even includes all future algorithms created for the platform at no additional charge.

GC Pro’s Runner-Up: Two of Moog Music’s great stompboxes in their “Minifooger” range, the MF Flange and MF Chorus, both got well-deserved nominations. But our choice is the Grace Design FELiX Studio Quality Instrument Preamp/EQ/DI, a two-channel design that blends acoustic instrument and mic preamp for working musicians, engineers, sound companies or venues looking for the highest quality solution for amplifying stringed instruments. With more and more venues looking for quality of sound over quantity, FELiX brings open, musical and nuanced preamplification to any performance situation.

Grace Design FELiX Studio Quality Instrument Preamp/EQ/DI

MUSICAL INSTRUMENT HARDWARE
Moog Music: Modular Recreation


Moog Music: Modular Recreation

Moog stunned the synthesizer world last year by releasing three incredible recreations of their classic modular analog synthesizers with the System 55, the System 35, and the Model 15. It’s no surprise that this limited-run return to the original world standard in music synthesis captured the fancy of TEC Award voters and GC Pro customers alike.

GC Pro’s Runner-Up: Roger Linn Design’s LinnStrument is an incredibly innovative 200-pad MIDI controller that captures three dimensions of each finger’s movement for subtle and precise control of note volume, pitch and timbre, polyphonically. It is about as mind-blowing as any kind of instrument controller we’ve ever seen, and opens the door to entirely new areas of creative expression. We love it.

Roger Linn Design’s LinnStrument

MUSICAL INSTRUMENT SOFTWARE
iZotope: Iris 2


iZotope: Iris 2

Who said that a great software synth has to be exorbitantly expensive? iZotope’s Iris 2 lets you create sounds that have never been heard before and to discover sounds you've never heard. An inspiring sample-based synthesizer, Iris 2 is immediately playable, combining the power of a sampler, the flexibility of a modular synth, and the fun of spectral filtering.

GC Pro’s Runner-Up: Spectrasonics’ Omnisphere 2 offers a massive variety of new synthesis options, a staggering audio library with over 10,000 sounds, a new interface with an enhanced sound browsing capability, a new and enhanced arpeggiator, 25 new effects units with flexible attributes, and more. For producers, composers, and sound designers, it doesn’t get much better than this. Contact GC Pro for details.

Spectrasonics’ Omnisphere 2

RECORDING DEVICES
Zoom: F8 MultiTrack Field Recorder


Zoom: F8 MultiTrack Field Recorder

Hats off to Zoom for a worthy TEC victory with this 10-track, 8-channel multitrack field recorder, which offers eight XLR inputs with independent gain control, limiting, panning and delay, and support for 24-bit/192kHz audio.

GC Pro’s Runner-Up: A perfect audio recording solution for filmmakers, TASCAM’s DR-70D is a four-track recorder with four balanced XLR mic inputs, and is designed to work in conjunction with DLSR cameras.

TASCAM’s DR-70D

SIGNAL PROCESSING HARDWARE
Tube-Tech: HLT 2A Equalizer


Tube-Tech HLT 2A

Even in a field crowded with great nominees, the Tube-Tech HLT 2A is a very worthy victor. It’s an all-new kind of equalizer, combining high and low shelving EQ plus hi and low cut filters with an innovative T filter “tilt” midrange EQ… the first time this combination of filters has been designed in the analog domain, with a resulting ton of very nice EQ shaping possibilities.

GC Pro’s Runner-Up: Greg Scott of Kush Audio describes his Tweaker Sidechain Shaping Compressor as “... my masterpiece, four years in the making. I haven't found a style of compression it can't do masterfully – clean, gritty, subdued, hammered, whatever.” We can’t argue this. Contact your GC Pro rep to learn more about this fantastic dynamics processor.

Kush Audio Tweaker Sidechain Shaping Compressor

SIGNAL PROCESSING HARDWARE (500 SERIES MODULES)
Solid State Logic: 500-Format LMC+


Solid State Logic

It’s pretty sweet that SSL took their Listen Mic Compressor from the legendary SL4000E console and made it available in a 500 Series format. They also enhanced it with high pass and low pass filters, a side chain feature, and more.

GC Pro’s Runner-Up: 500 Series processors have been among the most popular items for GC Pro customers over the past five-plus years, and this year’s crop of TEC nominees were filled with great products like LaChapell Audio’s 583S mk2 and the Space Heater 500 from Radial Engineering. Our pick for runner-up, if you force us to make one, is BAE Audio’s 1073MPL, a simply stunning hand-wired Class A mic pre in a 500 Series format.

BAE Audio 1073MPL

SIGNAL PROCESSING SOFTWARE (DYNAMICS/EQ/UTILITIES)
iZotope: RX 4 Complete Audio Repair & Enhancement


iZotope: RX 4 Complete Audio Repair & Enhancement

This kind of software blows our collective minds. iZotope’s RX 4 is noise reduction software that allows you to repair, enhance, and restore problematic production audio — from plosives to microphone bumps to inconsistent levels — and dramatically improve sound quality and clarity. iZotope has already introduced an updated version RX 5, by the way.

GC Pro’s Runner-Up: Lots of great nominees in this category, from Focusrite’s Red 2 & Red 3 Suite to Universal Audio’s Neve 88RS Channel Strip Collection. We’re going with the Waves Butch Vig Vocals plug-in that faithfully recreates some of the signature vocal sounds this producer achieved with Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Foo Fighters, Green Day and his own band Garbage.

Waves Butch Vig Vocals

SIGNAL PROCESSING SOFTWARE (EFFECTS)
AMS Neve: AMS RMX16 Digital Reverb Plug-In For UAD-2 Platform


AMS Neve: AMS RMX16 Digital Reverb Plug-In For UAD-2 Platform

Designed for the Universal Audio UAD-2 platform, this sweet plug-in offers the reverb sound from thousands of seminal recordings form the ‘80s, with an instantly recognizable lushness found from music by U2 and Peter Gabriel to Radiohead and Rihanna.

GC Pro’s Runner-Up: We are digging McDSP’s FutzBox Rack Extension Plug-In, a distortion and noise generator plug-in for creating low fidelity versions of audio signals, like simulations of radios, cell phones, and televisions. But our unofficial runner-up award goes to Audio Ease’s Altiverb 7.2.6, the latest and greatest version of their industry standard convolution reverb plug-in. It features top quality samples of real spaces to create reverb, ranging from Sydney Opera House to the cockpit of a Jumbo Jet.

Audio Ease’s Altiverb

SMALL FORMAT CONSOLE TECHNOLOGY
Avid: Pro Tools | S3


Avid: Pro Tools | S3

No one was surprised at the TEC Awards that the Avid Pro Tools | S3 took home the curvy gold prize at the TEC Awards. The S3 is a compact, EUCON-enabled, ergonomic desktop control surface that offers a streamlined yet versatile mixing solution for the modern sound engineer, delivering intelligent control over every aspect of Pro Tools and other DAWs. It’s the perfect solution for everyone from project studios to the largest, most demanding facilities.

GC Pro’s Runner-Up: If for no reason other than its uniqueness, we have to hand it to Radial Engineering for their Space Heater, an 8-channel tube overdrive that can be used as a stereo summing mixer or as multi-channel studio distortion. With complete control over each tube circuit, the Space Heater can provide everything from subtle transformer warmth to full on harmonic distortion. Your GC Pro rep can fill you in on the rest of the details.

Radial Engineering Space Heater

SOUND REINFORCEMENT LOUDSPEAKERS
Meyer Sound: LEOPARD


Meyer Sound: LEOPARD

A company that deserves the utmost of respect in live sound, Meyer Sound’s LEOPARD is ideally suited to everything from mid-sized touring and live theatre to worship and live performance installations, and from symphony music to heavy metal.

GC Pro’s Runner-Up: An excellent and affordable choice for musicians, DJs, houses of worship and more, Electro-Voice’s EKX series combines legendary EV sound quality and reliability with the latest technology, all in a compact package that is suitable for a wide range of sound reinforcement scenarios.

Electro-Voice EKX series

STUDIO MONITORS
Genelec: 8351A SAM


Genelec: 8351A SAM

A leader in studio monitor innovation for decades, Genelec took home the TEC Award this year for the 8351A, a totally unique monitor speaker that produces controlled directivity over a very wide bandwidth. It’s an outstanding choice for music studios, post-production houses, edit suites, radio, TV and outside broadcast applications.

GC Pro’s Runner-Up: Here’s a case where a product category is so subjective, it’s impossible to offer a consolation prize to any of the other excellent nominees. But we will say that GC Pro’s account representatives are experts in all professional-quality studio monitors, and can set up a demo or offer suggestions for a system perfectly suited to your space and your tastes. Contact us for details.

WIRELESS TECHNOLOGY
Sennheiser: Evolution Wireless D1


Sennheiser: Evolution Wireless D1

For vocals, instruments, headmics, and lavaliers, Sennheiser’s Evolution Wireless D1 is a simply terrific system for any environment where no-compromise live sound is a necessity. It can run up to 15 output lines in parallel and independently adjust the sensitivity of every transmission.

GC Pro’s Runner-Up: While excellent systems from AKG and Audio-Technica were nominated, we’re throwing our runner-up vote toward Shure’s QLX-D Digital Wireless System. Available in a wide number of configurations, it’s a fantastic wireless system for bands, churches, presentation rooms, and much more.

Shure QLX-D Digital Wireless System

WORKSTATION TECHNOLOGY
Avid: Pro Tools 12


Avid: Pro Tools 12

Come on, what else did you expect? The industry choice for composing, recording, editing and mixing pro audio for music, film and TV remains as vibrant and pervasive throughout the world of audio today as it always has been. More artists, producers, and mixers use Pro Tools than any other DAW. With the redesigned Avid Audio Engine and 64-bit performance, you get multiple times the processing power Avid Audio Engine of previous versions of Pro Tools on the same hardware configurations.

GC Pro’s Runner-Up: Pro Tools isn’t the only DAW in town. There are always more choices than you first realize when looking for the right workstation software platform. Another nominee this year was Steinberg for their Cubase Pro 8/Artist 8 apps, with their exceptionally intuitive workflow in a sleek, efficient environment. GC Pro will help with any question you have regarding which DAW is right for you... contact us today!

Cubase Pro 8/Artist 8

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Yaniv’s Studio Again Turns to Guitar Center Pro

gc pro, guitar center professional, studio design, installation, neve genesys
Yaniv Farber, seated in Yaniv’s Studio – a facility outfitted from top to bottom by GC Pro.

— Loyal GC Pro customer acquires AMS Neve Genesys G32 console —

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA, January 19, 2016 — Woodland Hills, California-based recording facility Yaniv’s Studio is the dream project of Yaniv Farber, also known as the longtime proprietor of Sandy Ceramic and Stone, Inc., a high-end tile, granite and marble installer in southern California. In the decades spent building up Sandy Ceramic and Stone, Farber was diligently recording in a home space, and the time was right a few years ago to take the plunge and create a state-of-the-art studio space. And it was outfitted from top to bottom with equipment sourced through Guitar Center Professional (GC Pro), the business-to-business (B2B) division of Guitar Center providing highly customized service for professional accounts. The studio features a great collection of microphones, preamps and outboard gear, and recently Farber made another big leap: he upgraded his studio by acquiring an AMS Neve Genesys G32 console, featuring 32 inputs, 16 Neve 1073 mic pre’s, eight 88R EQ’s, eight 1084 EQ’s and 16 VCA compressors – and again he turned to GC Pro for the consultation, gear and support.

The Genesys joins the existing products purchased for the studio by Farber through GC Pro in the last few years: an Avid Pro Tools HDX system, Apogee Symphony I/O converters, Focal SM9 monitors and a wide microphone and outboard collection from Manley, Universal Audio, Tube Tech, Lexicon, Bricasti, API, SSL, AKG, Neumann, Blue, Royer and Telefunken to name a few.

“We can do live sessions here, and it’s a great-sounding room to record in, so I am doing a lot of tracking of trios and smaller groups, all the way up to very large bands or sometimes just a vocal session,” stated Farber. “As work picked up, it was clear to me that the time was right to move to a more powerful console. I called up Ziv [Gross, GC Pro Account Manager], and we explored a few options. After testing out some different products, the Neve Genesys was the clear solution for what I needed.”

Farber has been able to streamline his workflow with the new console: “With the Genesys, I got it pre-loaded with EQs and compressors – as a result, the audio doesn’t route around to different components as much as it used to, so there is more integrity of sound, and more headroom overall. It gives me a stronger ability to really tweak the sound, and it makes recording and capturing audio a real pleasure. Also, I really appreciate the recall ability when mix time comes around. I’m pleased with every aspect of it. And when a client steps in the room, the Genesys sends a very strong message that they are in a truly professional facility with someone who takes his work – and their music – very seriously.”

Farber expands on his affection and respect for GC Pro: “I cannot express how appreciative I am to the fact that Ziv is only one phone call away, and basically every time I needed anything, he just finds the time to basically show up and walk me through any issue! Ziv is my man, and the others at GC Pro I have dealt with are great too. Working with GC Pro continues to be a very positive experience.”

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.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

University of Chicago Lab Schools Turns to GC Pro

gc pro, education, music lab, computers, microphones, speakers
The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools Digital Music Lab, featuring gear sourced through Guitar Center Professional. Photo courtesy of Francisco Dean. © 2015.

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA, December 7, 2015 — Francisco Dean is a music instructor at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, a pre-K-through-12 private school affiliated with the U of C that is considered one of the top preparatory schools in the U.S. He’s also a long-time client of Guitar Center Professional (GC Pro), the business-to-business (B2B) division of Guitar Center providing highly customized service for professional accounts; about two years ago, a trip to the nearby Hobart, Indiana Guitar Center location resulted in the store’s equipping the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools’ brand new Digital Music Lab with most of its gear – more than 100 items of equipment in all.

“About two years ago I needed a small MIDI controller and went to [GC Pro Account Manager] Ryan Nigh for assistance,” said Dean. “I got to talking to him, and when I told him I taught music technology to high school music students and was looking for gear for our not-yet-built Digital Music Lab, Ryan told me about GC Pro’s educational program. I knew then that it was just what we needed. The timing was perfect, as I was working on the school’s syllabus for the upcoming year and the planning for the lab.”

GC Pro works directly with people like Dean and offers special educational discounts. In addition, students can get the benefits of the GC Pro program, such as discounts and free shipping from their local store no matter where they live.

The U of C Laboratory Schools’ Digital Music Lab features 16 independent workstations where students can compose and record music. The workstations are equipped with AKAI Professional MPK249 Performance Keyboard Controllers, AKAI APC Mini Compact Ableton Live Controllers, Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 USB audio interfaces and more. Each workstation is linked to a central USB hub and their computers are linked to the Lab’s local area network via Ethernet. If desired, a single workstation can be moved to another location for remote recording.

Since live recording is a key focus of the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools’ music program, GC Pro supplied a variety of dynamic and condenser mics from Sennheiser, Rode, AKG, Shure, SE Electronics and Electro Voice. “Our students learn how to mic and record everything from vocals to brass, woodwinds and percussion, so we needed to build a mic locker that would include mics for all applications,” said Dean. A selection of Sennheiser headphones, KRK Rokit powered studio monitors, cables and other gear rounds out the Digital Music Lab’s equipment complement.

“We were building the lab from scratch and had never done anything on this scale before,” noted Dean. “Ryan Nigh was invaluable in giving us the advice we needed regarding which products would be the best for our needs, and offering the tech support we needed to make everything work together. Usually I would just tell him what we needed in terms of what the products had to do, and Ryan would make recommendations based on which products would best serve our requirements.”

“In working with Ryan, I had the peace of mind that I was getting unbiased recommendations, not a sales pitch that would be forgotten the minute I walked out of the store. Because he’s in the field making recordings and doing mixing on his own, Ryan knows how equipment works in the real world.” Since the Digital Music Lab went into operation, everything has been working without a hitch.

Dean likes to stop by his local Guitar Center frequently for the music supplies he requires for his classes – and because like most of us, he’s an inveterate gearhead. “Having Ryan around is like having my own personal tech support assistant. Ryan and GC Pro really made it as easy as possible for us to set up the Digital Music Lab in providing their expert assistance on this project.”

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, November 30, 2015

GC Pro Helps Burt Assembly of God After Devastating Fire

— GC Pro personnel in San Diego and Detroit teamed up to source a new sound system for the International Outreach & Training Center, an integral part of this house of worship in Burt, Michigan, and to act as the interface for the church with its insurance company’s claims adjuster —

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA, November 30, 2015 — When the Burt Assembly of God Church’s International Outreach & Training Center was heavily damaged by fire in 2014, the facility, located in Burt, Michigan, faced a devastating loss that also included the center’s music and sound systems. However, the loss was remedied, thanks to the national reach offered by Guitar Center Professional (GC Pro), the business-to-business (B2B) division of Guitar Center providing highly customized service for professional accounts.

GC Pro teams in San Diego, California, and Detroit, Michigan, acted as the interface between the church, still reeling from its loss, and the church’s insurance adjuster, assuring that the systems that needed to be replaced would benefit from the newest technologies and products. GC Pro analyzed the International Outreach & Training Center’s needs and specified a wide range of M.I. and pro audio systems and products, all of which were sourced through GC Pro’s massive inventory. These included a JBL PRX PA system powered by Crown amplifiers and mixed through a Soundcraft Si Expression 2 digital FOH console; Shure wired and wireless microphone systems; Pearl, DW and Zildjian percussion items; and other pro audio and M.I. products. The items were specified by the GC Pro San Diego office, which has had extensive experience dealing with insurance companies and adjustors and was able to help guide the church and the center through the difficult and often-confusing claims process. The eyes on the ground assessing the situation, and later the project manager for the installation of these products and systems, was the GC Pro Detroit office, which called upon HD2 Sound, a member of the GC Pro Affiliates Program, to handle the systems installation and integration.
 
“We worked closely with the church and with their insurance company’s claims adjustment service to determine what they lost, the value of that and the replacement values, as well as what the best replacement products and systems would be,” explains Kevin Hewitt, Account Manager at the GC Pro office in San Diego. “We also worked closely with our office in Detroit, the closest one on the ground to the church. Together, we were able to efficiently and effectively assess the situation and decide what would get them back on their feet.”
 
As Hewitt handled the logistics of the project, Paul Johnson, Account Manager at GC Pro’s Detroit location, handled system design, driving two hours each way to the work site, often several days a week. “When I got there, the building was a total loss,” he recalls. “I became the on-site project manager for the audio systems, measuring during the reconstruction process and letting Kevin know what the dimensions would be. We established timelines for deliveries and installation, coordinating between the insurance company, our vendors, our integrator, the construction crews at the site, and the church and center leaders. It was a huge undertaking, but the church was very excited to see that we could manage their project on a national basis.”

The church leaders quickly realized that GC Pro brings an enormous amount of power — in the form of resources and expertise, as well as our experience with loss claims — to a project. Especially for one like this, where they had suffered such a massive loss, GC Pro was the only provider that could manage this effectively from beginning to end. “Today, the church and the center are back,” says Johnson, “and it was gratifying for all of us at GC Pro to have played such an important role in that.”

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, November 25, 2015

Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship Takes Control of Its Sound

house of worship audio lighting projection
The main worship space at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, featuring an extensive arsenal of sound, video and lighting components sourced through GC Pro and installed through GC Pro’s Affiliate Program by affiliates Crown Audio Video and Trinity Group International.

— In addition to sourcing a wide array of audio, video and lighting components for an extensive upgrade to the Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship’s facility, GC Pro’s Affiliates Program connected the church with two highly specialized systems integrators for AVL and system control —

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA, November 25, 2015 — Dr. Tony Evans understands the need to make the message clear. He’s the pastor of the 10,000-member Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship (OCBF) church in Dallas, Texas, which he founded with wife and ministry partner Dr. Lois Evans in 1976, as well as president of The Urban Alternative radio broadcast that can be heard over 1,000 outlets daily throughout the U.S. and in over 100 countries worldwide. So when the OCBF needed more sound, video and lighting earlier this year, the church turned to Guitar Center Professional (GC Pro), the business-to-business (B2B) division of Guitar Center providing highly customized service for professional accounts, to both select and source the right components and to match the best systems integrators for the AVL and control systems.

The project was substantial, says Jeff McDaniel, Account Manager based at the GC Pro location in Dallas. “This is a large facility building, across from the church’s main campus, that houses their activities areas, such as their youth centers,” he says. “They needed a lot of additional audio, including a lot of speakers and DSP processing, as well as new video displays and new lighting. But they also wanted to add more sophisticated control over the AVL systems, to enable a wider number of users to access and configure the systems as needed more easily. That called for a Crestron control system. Installing audio, video and lighting requires one set of specialized skills, and programming a complex control system requires a different set of skills. So we matched Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship with two different Affiliate Program member integrators for this project.”

Crown Audio Video was assigned to the Crestron programming tasks while Trinity Group International took on the job of installing new audio, video and lighting. The latter aspect of the project included over a dozen ceiling-mount QSC speakers, including in-ceiling subwoofers, with QSC processing and amplification for the main activities hall; Community Sound all-weather speakers for outdoor use; an LG 47-inch LCD display and a Blackmagic Design HDMI SDI-to-HDMI conversion unit for one of the building’s youth centers and a Sennheiser wireless microphone system for a second youth center on another floor. Chauvet LED lighting components were also added to several areas. All of these were sourced through GC Pro.

house of worship audio lighting projection
Walter Jones, Media Director at the Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship.

“It was a pretty sizable project,” observes Walter Jones, Media Director at the Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship. “The main entrance area is huge at about 30 feet wide and about 300 feet long, and it serves as the main artery that leads to the other areas of the building. We wanted to have a zoned sound system in that area to support live events, background music and announcements. The video screen is now used as confidence monitor for those using our ProPresenter software. We also added LED lighting to the stage and some additional acoustical material in the second floor youth room. A major part of the project was the activation of our Crestron control system. Our first floor youth room is loaded with high-tech AVL systems. We really needed an easy way for our not technical staff and volunteers to be able to access and control those systems. I knew the programming would be intensive, but it had to be done right.”

And it was, thanks to GC Pro’s extensive inventory of technology products and its wide range of integration partners through the Affiliates Program, which allowed them to allocate the right resources and expertise to each aspect of the project. “Anyone who needs to use any of the spaces can access the audio, video and lighting from the Crestron control panels on the wall,” says Jones. “Working with Jeff was great on this project, and the choices of Crown Audio Video and Trinity Group International met our installation needs. We had a vision of what we needed to achieve here, and Jeff and GC Pro had the resources to pull that all together and make it happen. It all worked out exactly the way it was supposed to.”

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.