{jcomments on}MicA friend recently told me a true story that highlights the ‘outsideʼ view of live sound.

It begins with a veteran club comedian being booked by a well-to-do sporting club to entertain an audience of around two hundred. Accepting the booking, our comic pointed out that he would need a microphone and asked whether the club had one. They had not, so he passed on details of a local PA hire operation and thought no more of it. Unfortunately...

Wizard of OzObsessions and collections made a good start to my blogging on Fast-and-Wide. Dipping into the history of the ill-fated Birotron keyboard exposed the joys, absurdities and contradictions that a passion for recording and equipment almost necessarily invites.

But who would build a fantastically successful sound business based on that very same kind of passion, and then not want to celebrate it?

Imogen HeapGrammy winner Imogen Heap recently staged a live show that was as close to completely ‘green’ as possible.

Timed to coincide with Earth Day – an annual event intended to raise environmental awareness – the performance took place in the garden of Heap’s home in the UK, in front of 80 specially invited guests – plus an audience of 500,000 who watched a live relay via Facebook and the artist’s website.

Vinyl‘People can say that they like the ‘sound’ of analogue, but to say that analogue recording systems are superior to digital systems is flying in the face of all the evidence.

‘I know that analogue tape recorders sound excellent on some types of recording, but they sound worse on others – and there are other ways of achieving analogue sounds, without suffering the sonic limitations that go with them.’

Bluegrass UndergroundWhile the Tennessee weather reports made unwelcome reading during February, the temperature was rising in the Cumberland Caverns, a series of underground caves more than 300 feet below the earth’s surface where Bluegrass Underground was being filmed.

To get to the concerts, tour guides led patrons through the cave and down the 333 feet to the cave past underground waterfalls, water pools and stalactites.

AidaWhile not convinced by other aspects of the production, the Telegraph newspaper found praise for Isabella Bywater’s set design at London’s current production of Verdi’s Aida. It even made mention of Bobby Aitken’s sound design, declaring the amplification ‘properly unobtrusive’.

A look behind the scenes reveals the full extent of the technology and ingenuity so simply dismissed – and uncovers the secret of the sound localisation.

Prime FocusI visited a new postproduction house in London’s Soho a few years back. Along with vast attention to equipment and interior design, it came complete with a backstory involving a crashed spaceship and technology from another world. It was pretty amazing.

But there was something deeply troubling about the gauze covering the monitor speakers – it helped with the story but it wasn’t going to do anything for the sound…

MonkMusicIt became clear during 2011 that there was a resurgence in big room recording studios. Defying expectation, the kind of studio that had most readily been undermined by the falling cost of equipment and the project rooms that followed was making a comeback.

The trend continues in the early months of 2012, first with Village Studios in China, and now with MonkMusic in New York.

Kilden

Norway’s new Konserthuset Kilden (Kilden Performing Arts Centre) is being billed as one of the largest and most technologically sophisticated arts venues in Scandinavia. Equipping the four halls on the 15,000-sq-m was a demanding job, and one that fell to territorial distributor. LydRommet.

The centre provides the home for the Agder Regional Theater, Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra and Opera Sør – the regional opera company.

Village StudiosThree years in the making, a new studio represents the future of China’s recording industry – and a bold move in a superstar’s long-term career plan.

Designed by Walters-Storyk Design Group, the Village Studios project is a good reflection of the interaction of company’s international offices. ‘It is interesting to note that neither distance nor language presented insurmountable barriers to our collaboration,’ WSDG principal John Storyk observes.

HakaIn 2011, I made a radio documentary for the BBC called The Sound of Sport. Although this was a radio piece, most of what it concerned itself with was television sports sound.

We think of the dominant sound of sports broadcasts as the commentator, but this is really about all the other sounds – the sounds underneath the commentary, the sounds of the event itself, and how they get onto your TV.

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