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Manifold Recording - Studio Tech Thread
Old 6th February 2010
  #1
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Manifold Recording - Studio Tech Thread

With the encouragement of this community, I'm starting a studio tech thread for Manifold Recording. I will continue posting photos and progress of the construction of Manifold Recording, but I will focus those posts on the work that my General Contractor is doing. As you all know by now, there's a lot of technology involved in the acoustics of that space, and I'll certainly continue to provide updates and insights into why the construction is being done in one way rather than another, but when it comes to audio signals are flowing as electrical currents, that will be this thread. Thus,

Foundation to rooftop (and all building elements in between): Manifold Recording - Studio Construction Thread

Wall panels to patchbays (and all equipment either plugged in or in between): Manifold Recording - Studio Tech Thread

How does that sound?
Old 6th February 2010
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
TimeBandit's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
This is AWESOME.This is a great way for everyone to learn,and not just learn at someones home studio,but at what could become a World Class Facility.This is how the Big Dogs do it.There wont be many other studios quite like yours,and there are some amazing things going on behind the sceens.This is great.I am looking forward to learning from your thread.

Thanks

Justin
Old 6th February 2010 | Show parent
  #3
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rainsinvelvet's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Having just completely re-done our patchbay setup I'm looking forward to watching someone else's approach !

Good times!
ERIc
Old 7th February 2010 | Show parent
  #4
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
This is awesome! Can't wait to see all the tech stuff.

-Dave
Old 7th February 2010 | Show parent
  #5
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G Davis's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Very excited to see the tech goodies and geek out. A big part of my daily work is wiring and designing technical systems in different studios, so it will be cool to see your take on this.

Good luck!

G
Old 8th February 2010 | Show parent
  #6
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Glad to see there are some folks eager to read/participate. It will be a few more days before I start posting real stuff, but probably by the end of this week.
Old 20th February 2010 | Show parent
  #7
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
Bump..Bump! heh

Just didn't want you to forget about this thread. I thought I would post a few questions that I have been wondering about. As I do TV stations for a living I always wonder what other companies or individuals do for deliverable's.

Who is the Engineer designing the tech system?
How are they documenting this? (Autocad, Vidcad, Stardraw, etc)
What type of a documentation package are you expecting from the engineer?
(Rack Layouts, Panel Layouts, Head, Power, Cable, and Connector counts?)
Could you post some examples when you receive them?


Tech Questions:
What brand of cable?
Standard analog cable or 110ohm to dual allow any line to carry AES/EBU?
What type of video systems will be installed?
Any is there going to be a SAN system?

I'll stop there..thats didn't mean to bombard you with a ton of questions but its hard not too! I kind of geek out on that stuff.

Dave
Old 20th February 2010 | Show parent
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsoukup ➑️
Bump..Bump! heh

Just didn't want you to forget about this thread. I thought I would post a few questions that I have been wondering about. As I do TV stations for a living I always wonder what other companies or individuals do for deliverable's.
Thanks for the nudge.

Quote:
Who is the Engineer designing the tech system?
How are they documenting this? (Autocad, Vidcad, Stardraw, etc)
What type of a documentation package are you expecting from the engineer?
(Rack Layouts, Panel Layouts, Head, Power, Cable, and Connector counts?)
Could you post some examples when you receive them?
The video part is being engineered by Joel Appelbaum of Bigger Half Media Systems Inc., leveraging drawings from Wes Lachot.

The audio part is a collaboration between myself, Thom Canova, and Ian Schreier (with help from Harrison, API, Sonic Circus, and others). Ted Dunn is helping with the integration between the video and audio worlds.

We are using AutoCAD for the tech drawings (which includes floor plans, rack elevations, risers, wall panels, and presumably the patch bay and other elements). We're right in the middle of this part right now.

I'll post up some examples after I've talked with our participants and they are ready to have their names on the drawings...

Quote:
Tech Questions:
What brand of cable?
I don't have the final list yet.

Quote:
Standard analog cable or 110ohm to dual allow any line to carry AES/EBU?
110ohm

Quote:
What type of video systems will be installed?
We'll use a Blackmagic Design VideoHub (full 72 x 144 switching router with 3G HD SDI on all inputs and outputs) as the facility router, plus a Broadcast Pix Slate system for production switching. We're still evaluating whether to get a 1ME or a 2ME system. Beyond that we're looking at an AJA interface, Final Cut Pro for editing, and Colin Broad for sync.

Quote:
Any is there going to be a SAN system?
Yes, although we have not yet selected it yet.

Quote:
I'll stop there..thats didn't mean to bombard you with a ton of questions but its hard not too! I kind of geek out on that stuff.

Dave
There will be much more to geek out on in the next few weeks.
Old 20th February 2010 | Show parent
  #9
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
That's awesome. I spec the Broadcast Pix stuff all the time at work. We I just finished up a proposal for a TV studio that is going to put in a Slate 3000. That's a 1 M/E switcher with 16x16 HD-SDI Panacea Router from Harris. Although once you go that route you need a bunch of terminal gear for audio embedding. A great system for someone that doesn't need the Sony's, Ross, or GV productions switchers. We also do a lot with XSAN and Final Cut for TV stations.

Looking forward to seeing more!

-Dave
Old 6th March 2010 | Show parent
  #10
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Panel 1

Alright...time to get cracking.

Here's a sketch of Panel 1, the central panel under the window between the Music Room and the Control Room:



There are a total of 10 wall panels in the acoustic spaces:
  • Music Room: Panels 1, 2, 3
  • Booth A: Panel 4
  • Booth B: Panel 5
  • Booth C: Panel 6
  • SoundLock 1: Panel 7
  • SoundLock 2: Panel 8
  • Control Room: Panels 9, 10

Panel 1 is embedded in the skin of an RPG A block, which is slightly narrower at its face than a standard CMU, hence the 14" dimension instead of the typical 15-5/8" dimension.

The Mic inputs are as expected (they appear as Mic Tie Lines on the console patchbay) and the Line jacks are outputs that typically carry aux signals from the console. The ELCO-56 connector carries 16 balanced signals: 12 aux outputs (4 of which mult Line 1-4) and, in the Music Room, four additional mic inputs (13-16).

Thus we have 36 mic inputs in the Music Room without any special cabling, and 48 mic inputs if we go all out. We don't really expect to have more than 24 mics active in that room at one time, but you never know...

The MADI in and out cables give us 32 digital inputs and outputs at 96 kHz, and basically allow us to connect to multitrack digital audio systems in any acoustic environment. If somebody wants to be really tweaky about short analog runs before hitting our digital infrastructure, we're ready!

IP 1 and 2 are Instrument Passthroughs.

SP 1 and 2 are Speaker Passthroughs.

The 4 SDI outputs and inputs give us multichannel 3G SDI video at every wall panel.

REF is the Video clock reference, and W.CLK is the analog audio clock signal.

AES 1 and 2 are stereo pairs, again for folks who like doing their own A/D and D/A before hitting our digital infrastructure, but who don't have a full-blown MADI interface.

HP provides four powered headphone connections to an Aviom system (or the like).

LAN provides 1G over copper (although we'll use cable that can reach 10G). With Power Over Ethernet, these can provide single-plug connections to an amazing array of PTZ cameras.

The 10G fiber slots are just reserving space for the day that people want to switch video over TCP/IP instead of dedicated clocked circuits (if that day ever comes).

The VCAT slots are Video-over-Cat6 connections, and they are paired with the VF Video-over-Fiber multimode 50um fiber links.

Finally, the CAM-1 connector is a SMPTE 311M connection that supports full control of a broadcast pedestal camera. There will be 2 such connectors on Panel 2, one each on Panels 3, 4, 5, 7, and 10.

Next up...the patchbay.
Old 9th March 2010 | Show parent
  #11
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The Patchbay

As promised, here's a PDF file showing how we intend to lay out the patchbay. Alas, this is not a proper CAD drawing (yet), but rather a spreadsheet, and a somewhat compacted one at that.

First of all, if you haven't yet seen the announcement, we're going to install a 64-channel API vision, and we've upgraded the number of Harrision digital IO points to complement the console as well. In January we visited MTSU to spend some time in front of their 48-channel Vision console, and it really confirmed that the API Vision is the perfect match for the environment we are creating. It really is a thing of beauty.

Second of all, I must confess that I am not a real spreadsheet jockey. Some people know how to format rows and columns so that they are different sizes with respect to each other, but not me. Because API formats their patchbays to be 32-across, and because we also have some additional patchbays that will be 48-across, I chose to format the spreadsheets according to the common denominator of 16 elements per patchbay. Therefore there are two API signals per cell in the console part of the patchbay and there are three user signals per cell in the part of the patchbay representing the credenzas. This has confused everybody the first time they look at the file, but as soon as I explain it (as I just have), it all becomes clear.

Here is the PDF (which prints on two 19"x13" Super-B pages--you can ignore the blank 3rd page until I figure out how to delete it).

About the normalling. The top two rows (lime green) are the mic tie lines. The top row is not normalled and the 2nd row is normalled to Mic Pre inputs. From the Mic Pre inputs to the bright red OSC outputs (and mults, etc) are wired according to API standards, more or less.

The bottom six rows are defined and normalled as follows. The first of the six are mults of the Direct Outs, and they are normalled to A/D inputs (the second row). The third and fourth rows (1-48) are the left credenza and not normalled, while the fifth and sixth rows (1-48) are the right credenza and also not normalled.

Things get a little more interesting for rows 3-6 in positions 49-84. The orange stripes are AUX tie lines to the wall panels and the red stripes are MULTs. The idea is that we can patch any console output to a mult that's copied up to 5 times. We can then patch these mults to the wall panels, using mult-ing Y cables if need be, so that our AUX tie lines at each wall panel have the appropriate console output signals. Thus we can build custom cue mixes on the console and deliver them in analog to the wall panels for amplification into headphone distribution systems AS AN ALTERNATIVE/COMPLEMENT TO AN AVIOM SYSTEM.

Finally, rows 3-6 in positions 85-96 provides non-normalled "guest" IO so that a visting producer can connect up to 24 I/O channels to our credenzas, 12 for each, without requiring us to unplug the credenza. But if somebody wants to roll out our credenzas in favor of their own, then can do that by disconnecting the ELCOs at the wall panels and plugging in their own gear.

Another note about the API area is that we've configured the console to have 212L preamps over 215L filters, which leaves space for 30 compressors and gates in the options area. In addition, we'll have two penthouses above the PB hold 12 500 series modules each for a total of 24. Thus we can mix and match the best of the "Legacy" series with the best of the new 500 series while still having 42U of gear in the credenzas.

That's 31 * 64 points + 4 * 96 points = 2368 patch points.
Old 14th March 2010 | Show parent
  #12
Moderator
 
Lindell's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Congratulations on the API Vision! It's a stunning console......and patchbay! heh

I only have one patch advice; Half normal as much as you can heh
Old 15th March 2010 | Show parent
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lindell ➑️
Congratulations on the API Vision! It's a stunning console......and patchbay! heh

I only have one patch advice; Half normal as much as you can heh
Thanks!

One of the more controversial "tech" decisions is the idea of removable credenzas in the Control Room, and I bring it up here to stimulate some discussion.

First, let me say that I am not alone here. ARC Studios also wanted a credenzas that could be rolled up to, or away from, the console mix position. And if you have a keen eye, you'll see that with a Fairchild or two the gear in those credenzas is not exactly what most engineers would kick to the curb. And yet Mike Mogis can roll them away.

We have some sweet gear in our credenzas as well, but for all that sweetness, I am strangely attracted to the idea of a really naked control room, with just monitors and a console and a playback source. I'm not saying that this will be the only or even the preferred configuration, but as an option--nothing behind the engineer--it will provide new creative opportunities. Maybe!

The credenzas will be 3 bays each of 14U bays. Each bay will have 16 I/O, so that each credenza will have 48 I/O. Plus each credenza will have I/O points for 6 Mic inputs, 12 Guest I/O, and 12 AUX output lines that can be locally accessed by guest equipment. Here's Control Room Panel 10 serving the right Credenza. Panel 9 is similar, but without support for a SMPTE 311M camera:



One feature of this scheme is that an individual bay can be disconnected and an alternate bay could be connected simply by swapping out ELCOs.

As for what's in our bays right now:

TubeTech MP-1A, PE-1C, SMC 2B
DW Fearn VT-2, VT-4, VT-7
Millenia HV-3D-8
BAE 1084 (4 channels in an 8-channel rack)
Manley Massive Passive and Vari-mu
Distressor EL8-SX
API 2500
Alan Smart C-2
UA 1176LN (stereo pair), Teletronix LA-2a (stero pair)
GML 8034, 8200, 8900
SPL TD-4
Weiss DS-1 Mk III

Time will tell whether the credenza's should have been a fixed option or a moveable/removable one. I'm interested to hear your thoughts and predictions.
Old 15th March 2010 | Show parent
  #14
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3 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clueless ➑️
Time will tell whether the credenza's should have been a fixed option or a moveable/removable one. I'm interested to hear your thoughts and predictions.
Are you thinking that the down side of moveable is the extra set of connections? I like the idea of being able to mod the setup to suit needs.

Somebody was up early today...
Old 15th March 2010 | Show parent
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Syncamorea ➑️
Are you thinking that the down side of moveable is the extra set of connections? I like the idea of being able to mod the setup to suit needs.
We're not worried about the extra set of connections.

I myself see more upside than downside, which is why I spec'd it, but it's an unconventional choice, and it does mean that there will be some exposed wires between the credenza's and the wall panels. Those wires won't be in a traffic path, but they will be visible.
Old 18th March 2010 | Show parent
  #16
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What do do with MIDI?

Speaking of busy panels, you might notice that our panels don't have any explicit MIDI connectors. One reason is because our space is so large that we actually exceed the parameters of the 15m maximum for MIDI cable length.

There are MIDI transceivers that work across CAT5/6, and we have plenty of that at the panels and jackfields in our main equipment room, so the theory is that if somebody wants to send/receive MIDI signals, they can connect up to a transceiver, make a patch in the closet, and feed a MIDI I/O box that then feeds a DAW.

A competing theory is that the only place we really need to support MIDI is for folks who are bringing in producer racks into the Control Room. In this scenario we just collect MIDI to a MIDI I/O box and use a USB extender to feed that back into the DAW.

If you are a MIDI freak or geek, how would you want your MIDI to work?
Old 4th April 2010 | Show parent
  #17
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Preliminary RT60 measurement

I took an Acoustilizer AL1 into the Music Room this weekend and did an RT-60 measurement.

I measured 1.53 sec (+/- .02 sec) at 500 Hz and above. (I didn't have a good source for measuring lower RT60 values.)

Note that the Music Room is largely untreated...and without doors or windows. Adding the doors and windows will add something, and putting in the cloud and soffit treatments will take something away. However, as they say in Chariots of Fire, "you can't put in what God has left out". Starting with 1.5 seconds gives us a nice chance of getting a really full, really flat 1 second RT60, which is the initial design goal.
Old 2nd May 2010 | Show parent
  #18
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🎧 15 years
FWIW I love the idea of the removable credenzas. I also have elcos as the main hookups in my control rooms and use that to move the preamp rack around depending on who needs it. Flexibility was my design goal. Lotsa cat6 and bnc to use for whatever the needs of the moment are.

OK, now for the serious part, what the grounding scheme for audio signals? Console-centric? Forward referencing? Star?

What's the plan, Stan.....

-ashley
Old 3rd May 2010 | Show parent
  #19
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clueless ➑️
Speaking of busy panels, you might notice that our panels don't have any explicit MIDI connectors. One reason is because our space is so large that we actually exceed the parameters of the 15m maximum for MIDI cable length.

There are MIDI transceivers that work across CAT5/6, and we have plenty of that at the panels and jackfields in our main equipment room, so the theory is that if somebody wants to send/receive MIDI signals, they can connect up to a transceiver, make a patch in the closet, and feed a MIDI I/O box that then feeds a DAW.

A competing theory is that the only place we really need to support MIDI is for folks who are bringing in producer racks into the Control Room. In this scenario we just collect MIDI to a MIDI I/O box and use a USB extender to feed that back into the DAW.

If you are a MIDI freak or geek, how would you want your MIDI to work?
As I understand it, and this could be manufacturer specific, you can also carry a midi signal across MADI. The SSL and RME converters are a couple that I can think of off the top of my head that perform this way. They aren't Meitner's but they aren't stock Digi I/O's either.

As a prog hip-hop head how you midi up is not really a concern for me. I would simply run a 1-bar intro click for tracking and we would line it all up later. What I would be more concerned about is getting that fatness with that gorgeous API you got yourself into. Now that's all kinds of "oh boy"!

If you don't mind:
1) What did the base 64 channel hit your pockets for?
2) How did you trick it out with 225's and 550's and such?
3) What was the final damage on it after you tricked it out?
4) Did you get any idea from API on whether they were thinking about producing a surround compressor for the masses like the one they made for Galaxy?

Thanks!
Old 3rd May 2010 | Show parent
  #20
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2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
How does the studio engineer wanna setup his midi.... If he tracks a guy who does piano on his roland RD masterkeyboard and the guy "sucks alil" having his midi data together with the audio might be a good thing.....

There are ethernet to usb extenders. So in the studiorooms there can be usb to midi patchbay...

My Roland UM880 is a great piece of kit...
Old 23rd October 2010 | Show parent
  #21
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More tech updates

Time for some more tech updates.

For network equipment I selected HP ProCurve 2910al boxes. The 48-port model has a 176 Gbps switching fabric with up to 131 Mpps switching performance and can drive 54V PoE+ on up to 12 ports (24 ports with optional external PSU) or normal PoE on 24 ports (48 ports with optional external PSU). The ability to install up to 4 10Gb ethernet ports makes it a snap to tie these switches together, as well as to interface our 1Gb network to a 10Gb network in the future.

We're installing a Digium SwitchVox PBX with Polycom IP phones for both voice service and intercom throughout.

All our fiber runs are less than 300m, so we're able to use 50um SR fiber. We're using SPF+ terminations for 10Gb ethernet and there are a few places where we'll use LC terminations for 1Gb fiber.

I'm still looking at a variety of options for the first few storage boxes. There are so many choices...I just have to make a decision.
Old 23rd October 2010 | Show parent
  #22
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Interesting that you chose to use PoE in a studio environment. I realize that theoretically any signal would be above the audible frequency spectrum, but the remaining potential for increased interference seems unnecessary.

Is this primarily for video cameras? Do you have it separated from other ethernet/audio/power?
Old 23rd October 2010 | Show parent
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by locutus ➑️
Interesting that you chose to use PoE in a studio environment. I realize that theoretically any signal would be above the audible frequency spectrum, but the remaining potential for increased interference seems unnecessary.
I have no idea why you would say that. PoE is DC, not AC, and thus has a frequency of zero, which would be lower, not higher, than the audible frequency spectrum.

Now, if you are talking about the actual frequency of ethernet, yes, it's way above the audio spectrum (Gigabit ethernet is way, way up there.) Plus, it's located in separate conduit, so the total interference opportunity is a few inches of cable a several inches away at the panel.

Quote:
Is this primarily for video cameras?
Both PTZ cameras and IP phones, plus whatever else may come along.
Old 23rd October 2010 | Show parent
  #24
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Clocking decisions

We're going with a pair of Antelope Trinity clocks and a 10M superclock. The Trinities are nice because they have so many clock outputs, and we need a lot of clock outputs for all our wall panels. Having two Trinities hanging off a single 10M is nice because it means that all the clock signals throughout the facility are going to be nice and coherent. (Or not, if we choose to run them at different sample rates when the to rooms are running at different sample rates on different projects.)
Old 1st December 2010 | Show parent
  #25
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
This is a fantastic project that I've been following for some time!

The thought you are putting into it and the lack of compromise makes it educational for all of us I think.
Old 1st December 2010 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
What artist headphone systems are you thinking of Michael? Aviom, HearBack, Roland, something better? There's not a huge choice available.
Old 5th December 2010 | Show parent
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vinnieRice ➑️
What artist headphone systems are you thinking of Michael? Aviom, HearBack, Roland, something better? There's not a huge choice available.
We will offer the following choices:

1. Analog monitoring from the API console (up to 12 signals per wall panel)
2. Aviom system (up to 16 signals)
3. MADI outputs (up to 32 channels @ 96K)

Seems like a fairly large choice to me!
Old 5th December 2010 | Show parent
  #28
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clueless ➑️
We will offer the following choices:

1. Analog monitoring from the API console (up to 12 signals per wall panel)
2. Aviom system (up to 16 signals)
3. MADI outputs (up to 32 channels @ 96K)

Seems like a fairly large choice to me!
Cool. Interesting.

I meant there wasn't a huge choice in the market, not in your spec!
Old 7th December 2010 | Show parent
  #29
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Clueless's Avatar
Finally getting some glass installed in our Loggia...

Old 7th December 2010 | Show parent
  #30
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johndykstra's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
very "high tech" glass heh
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