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Thu 21 Aug 2008 04:00 AM

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Tour of duty

As the Middle East prepares for another peak season of gigs following the summer, S&S takes a look at some of the best new touring accessories to have hit the market in recent times.

As the Middle East prepares for another peak season of gigs following the summer,
S&S

takes a look at some of the best new touring accessories to have hit the market in recent times.

AKG

The IVM 4 is the first in-ear monitoring system to combine all the features required for professional monitoring in a single, compact device, according to AKG.

The IVM 4 allows the input signal to be processed individually to meet the requirements of both the artist and the sound system environment. This makes it suitable for use in a variety of venue types and acoustic environments regardless of the scale of the show itself.

The company's proprietary integrated signal processing offers a natural listening experience and a complete set of inputs and outputs make the IVM 4 an ideal tool for professional applications, claims AKG.

The IVM 4 can be integrated into a HiQnet system via the optional HUB 4000 Q. With the PC control software System Architect, the IVM 4 can be controlled remotely and monitored from a PC.

The setup and configuration of the frequency management of the entire wireless system is made incredibly easy within System Architect through the use of RF Monitor, Device Manager, Environment Scan and Auto Setup tools, according to AKG.

The system includes one SST 4 transmitter, an SPR 4 bodypack stereo receiver, pair of IP 2 earphones as well as accessories to meet the power and transmission requirements of the system.

Middle East Distributors:

Audio Systems (Egypt); Fowzi Electronic (Iran); Audio Pro (Lebanon); GSL Electronics (UAE); Hamzeh (Syria); Abu Moammar Trading (KSA); Qatar Communications (Qatar); Al-Farsi Enterprises (Oman); Romco Trading (Kuwait); Madar Arts (Bahrain).


L-ACOUSTICS

French audio company L-ACOUSTICS unveils the LA-RAK touring rack. The LA-RAK is the central element of the new L-ACOUSTICS system architecture, built upon the LA8 amplified controller, and offers an advanced drive-rack solution for all L-ACOUSTICS systems, covering signal and power distribution in a comprehensive plug-and-play touring package.

Created as a universal platform to facilitate cross-rental between DOSC NETWORK members and to ensure compatibility with the legacy analogue cabling standard of L-ACOUSTICS systems, the LA-RAK module features a specification, including one 9U rack with LEXAN front and rear covers, three LA8 amplified controllers, an I/O distribution panel for analogue signal, L-NET (control and monitoring) and L-DGA (digital audio) network distribution within the rack and link out with other racks, 2U space for implementing L-NET and L-DGA network switches when operating with a star network topology, and an I/O panel for power distribution of three LA8s, two Ethernet switches and one auxiliary AC outlet.

Featuring a flexible working principle that is entirely modular, the LA-RAK enables the user to physically assemble and interconnect multiple modules to fit a number of applications.

Middle East distributor:

Venuetech (UAE).

Neumann

The KMS 105 microphone is capable of permitting optimal transmission of the human voice making it a popular choice for demanding live applications, according to Neumann. The KMS 105, which has already been available on the market for some time, is an internationally recognised standard in the field of high-quality stage microphones.

Due to their low self-noise and crosstalk behaviour, which is free of coloration, both microphones are well-suited for use with in-ear monitoring systems, the company claims.


With its supercardioid characteristic, the KMS 105 is particularly good at suppressing sounds originating from the entire 180° hemisphere behind the microphone.

The high acoustic resolution and smooth frequency response of the microphone ensures the musician has optimal control of the stage performance at all times.

The studio condenser capsule provides the basis for transmitting all the nuances of the human voice. In comparison with other handheld microphones, which operate mostly with dynamic capsules, the KMS series has a particularly high acoustic transparency, a wide frequency range and a fine resolution of transients.

Carefully adjusted acoustic filters and transformerless impedance converters that can handle very high sound pressure levels, prevent the microphone from being overloaded even by strong plosive sounds, claims Neumann.

In spite of excellent pop protection, sibilants and ‘S' sounds are transmitted with their natural accentuation, as is possible only with condenser microphones, according to the manufacturer.

Furthermore, the above-mentioned acoustic filters are designed so the distinctive directional characteristics of the capsules are preserved even in the bass range. The filters can therefore ensure a very high level of feedback protection for KMS 105 vocalist microphones when they are used with a stage sound system.

The low self-noise level of only 18 dB-A permits both microphones to be used at high gain levels without the risk of additional noise. Even at large distances, the microphones operate with a high signal-to-noise ratio, facilitating the freedom of movement and creativity that are important to the artist.

Due to the transformerless output circuit, the microphone signals can be transmitted even through long cables without loss of sound.


Microphones designed for use on stage require a particularly robust construction.

Therefore the KMS 105 has thick-walled metal housings, which also provide effective protection against handling noise.

Additionally, the microphone headgrilles are made of hardened steel and if required, can easily be unscrewed to permit cleaning of the interior acoustic filters.

Middle East distributors:

Technology KAR (Egypt); BESAT (Iran).

ETC

The SmartFade ML is MA Lighting's super-compact portable control desk, which offers a superior range of features compared to rival offerings in a similar size, according to MA.

 SmartFade ML provides professional features including palettes, parameter ‘fan' and built-in dynamic effects, with an easy-to-learn direct-access style of operation. With a capacity for up to 24 moving lights, an additional 48 intensity channels (dimmers) and the ability to patch to two complete universes of DMX512A (1024 outputs), SmartFade ML provides all the necessary control required for smaller rigs, claims MA.

SmartFade ML's colour-coded backlit keys make it easy to operate in the dark, without requiring additional worklights. The keys and built-in LCD displays also provide status feedback for the rig, without the need for an external monitor.

The latest feature of the SmartFade ML board is the new SmartSoft software available as a free download from ETC's website. SmartSoft organises show content and helps beginners to get comfortable with the SmartFade ML desk.


SmartSoft lets users view, edit and build show data for SmartFade ML, in real-time or before the show.

Its Live Output screen shows intensities and moving-light parameter values. SmartSoft can also be used offline with Capture visualisation software, helping designers prepare shows in advance. SmartSoft currently operates with SmartFade ML.

Middle East distributor:

MA Lighting Middle East (UAE).

Pioneer

In keeping with its strong reputation in the DJ market, Pioneer offers its classic HDJ-1000 headphones. While primarily targeted towards the Professional DJ, the HDJ-1000 is equally suited for studio use, live engineering and of course personal use while on the road.

The HDJ-1000 headphones offer 3500 mW of maximum input making distortion practically obsolete, according to Pioneer. The 50mm dome fully encompasses the ear, giving users the best possible clarity.

With plush padding and weighing only 270g, the HDJ-is comfortable for music professionals to wear for many consecutive hours. The earpad is made of a thin, closed-type material to minimise the potential for rips and tears. The compact folding design and swivel mechanism allow the user to manipulate the HDJ-1000 for maximum comfort. Special screws hold the cord in place, making it simple to replace a damaged cord should the need arise.

"Pioneer designed and engineered the HDJ-1000 based on direct input from the end users," says Karl Detken, director of product planning for the Pro Audio Group at Pioneer Electronics. "Our engineers pulled-off some phenomenal design work in creating a product that both looks and sounds great, with more comfort features than ever before."


Middle East distributors:

Desert Beats Trading (UAE); Gajria Electronics (Bahrain); Qirtas & Gajria (Kuwait); Mohsin Haider Darwish (Oman); Ahmed Ali Badgaish Electronics (KSA); Les Fils De Georges Haddad & Co (Lebanon); El Mobayad & Sons (Egypt).

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