Buyer's Guides

Large-Format Digital Consoles

Large-Format Digital Consoles

George Petersen
Buyer's Guides

When it comes to really big shows, sometimes size does matter. We checked out a some large format digital consoles and found models to fit nearly anyone’s needs, especially if your channel count requirements hover in the near-100 (or more) range.

To download a PDF of the FOH Oct. 2014 Buyers Guide, CLICK HERE

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Active Direct Boxes

Active Direct Boxes

George Petersen
Buyer's Guides

Active direct boxes take many forms, from solid state circuits to tube-based designs and single channel to stereo and multi-channel versions. Active units are often the preferred choice for connecting to passive pickups, vintage basses and piezo rigs on guitars and stringed instruments, although most are versatile enough to handle nearly anything on stage. And while many instrument amplifiers are equipped with XLR direct outs, having a separate direct box available is good insurance against those instances where the musician-supplied signal may be fraught with a buzz or a ground loop.

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FOH Sept 2014 Buyers Guide - Column Array Speakers

Column Array Speakers

George Petersen
Buyer's Guides

When you think of vertical column array speakers, if the first image that comes to mind is a pair of vintage Shure VocalMaster columns on a church wall or at a wedding band gig, then you need to re-think how this category has evolved over the past 50 years. Modern column array designs offer high intelligibility, wide bandwidth (especially if used with a companion subwoofer) and a huge new bag of tricks including flexible, secure mounting; various powering options; and in many cases, the ability to “steer” audio directly to the intended location. With that in mind, here’s a selection of what’s available from close to two dozen manufacturers.

To download a PDF of the FOH Sept. 2014 Buyers Guide, CLICK HERE

FOH April 2014 Buyers Guide - Digital Wireless Microphones

Digital Wireless Microphones

George Petersen
Buyer's Guides

Just as consoles, signal processing and system control have eased into the benefits of digital, it’s little surprise that wireless mics are also making the transition. And wireless audio is ideally suited for the digital domain, whether for the precision of packing more frequencies into smaller bandwidths, applying security encryption or simply taking advantage of transmitting an unaltered digital stream. We looked at some recent offerings and found systems for nearly any application or budget. Speaking of pricing, these are omitted here as systems can vary widely depending on transmitter/receiver options, mic/capsule choices and accessories, such as external antennas. Manufacturer URLs are provided if you need more information.

To download a copy of the April 2014 FOH Buyers Guide, CLICK HERE

FOH August 2014 Buyers Guide - Earpieces for IEM Systems

Earpieces for IEM Systems

George Petersen
Buyer's Guides

In-ear listening/monitoring systems have made a major impact in the way concerts are presented. A rock-solid wireless transmitter combined with beltpack IEM receivers and accurate earpieces can significantly improve nearly any show or presentation. Not only can performers hear themselves far better than stage wedge mixes, IEM use results in lowered stage volume. With a great IEM mix, the FOH engineer’s task becomes simpler, audience get better sound and artists are happy — a definite example of a win-win-win-situation.

To download a PDF of the FOH August 2014 Buyers Guide, CLICK HERE

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Miniature Headworn Microphones

Miniature Headworn Microphones

George Petersen
Buyer's Guides

Over the years, headworn microphones have evolved from clunky, low-fi affairs into lightweight, nearly invisible transducers capable of serious audio quality, equaling many handheld models. We checked out some low-profile headworn mics that are suited for theatrical applications. In this quest, we encountered a wide selection at a variety of price points (all given in MSRP; street prices may vary). There is also a variety of terminations for different systems, and both headband and earworn styles to fit the individual preferences of any performer. It should be noted that most suppliers also carry headworn mic models in other styles and prices, and websites are listed if you require additional information.

To download a PDF of the Feb. 2014 Buyers Guide, CLICK HERE

FOH Buyers Guide, July 2014 - Handheld Condenser Microphones

Handheld Condenser Microphones

George Petersen
Buyer's Guides

Dynamic microphones have pretty much been the standard in vocal performance mics for decades. However, if you’re looking for extended bandwidth and fast transient response in a handheld, a condenser mic is just the ticket. With that in mind, we present this look at some current condenser models. All models listed require phantom powering. No frequency response data is given; simply stating that a mic has a 20 Hz to 20 kHz spec is fairly meaningless, and many models include LF or upper mid presence boosts to add character or intelligibility, so a “flat” response is rarely desirable. Weight is often a factor, particularly when using a handheld mic over extended periods with certain vocalists. And MSRP list pricing is listed; microphones are often greatly discounted and “street” pricing can vary dramatically.

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Medium-Format Line Arrays

Medium-Format Line Arrays

George Petersen
Buyer's Guides

The massive, “big gun” 12- and 15-inch line arrays typically grab most of the attention in the pro audio press, but sometimes it’s the “little guy” mid-sized boxes that are the workhorses of the industry. This month, we turn our attention to line arrays based around 8-inch woofers, which are more compact than their 10- and 12-inch cousins and larger than the “mini” 4- to 6-inch enclosures. Yet, like Goldilocks’ preferences, these 8-inch wonders are often “just right” — whether for smaller gigs, club/theater/H.O.W. installs or used as front/down-fills, under-balcony reinforcement, delay lines — the list goes on and on.

To download a PDF of the Feb. 2014 Buyers Guide, CLICK HERE

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FOH Magazine Buyers Guide, June 2014: Loudspeaker System Controllers

Loudspeaker System Controllers

George Petersen
Buyer's Guides

Thanks to affordable, better sounding DSP, what was once a simple speaker crossover unit has evolved into versatile system controllers offering delay, equalization, dynamics, and more — all from a compact rack enclosure. Most of these systems adapt freely to provide processing of various third party speakers systems; however, we did not cover products that are highly integrated to handle only speakers from a single manufacturer, such as VUE Audiotechnik’s V4/V6 Systems Engines or L-Acoustics’ LA4/LA8 Amplified Controllers. That said, if you’re searching for a processors for your rig, your first call might be to the speaker manufacturer to see what they recommend. However, given the options and flexibility of these offerings, a little customization might be just the ticket for your system.

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Kick Drum Microphones buyers guide, FOH magazine, Jan. 2014

Kick Drum Microphones

George Petersen
Buyer's Guides

Once upon a time, choices for miking kick drums were few — RE-20’s, D12’s, MD421’s and the occasional M88. But as bass drum became more prominent in music mixes, a market opened for specialized microphones for kick applications, with new high-SPL, plug-and-go models that required little or no EQ to provide a solid kick sound. Today, there are dozens of such models available — and even more if you consider all the boundary-style mics suitable for the task. We looked into some current market offerings and found a huge selection to fit anyone’s taste or budget. Speaking of price, all include an MSRP here, although street prices can vary widely if you shop around. So get kicking!

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