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January 1993: Volume 1, Number 1


Tour of Q107 FM/AM 640

A tour of the new Q107 FM/AM 640 facility by Director of Engineering, Rob Enders.

SONY of Canada will also offer an overview of the newly introduced Minidisc, "the new state of the art in personal and portable audio."



Phone National Mail Box at (416) 922-8122

Space is limited to 90 people, and reservations are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Pre-meeting "Dutch Treat" dinner, 6:00 pm at Cuisine of India Restaurant, 5222 Yonge St (one block south of Q107).

AES What's Inside

AES This Month's Meeting Preview

Q107 FM/AM 640... A New and Creative Environment

Located at Toronto's Yonge-Norton Centre, the new home of Q107 FM/AM 640 is considered to be one of the finest facilities of its kind in North America. Completed in January 1992, the facility is the product of a collaboration between McGill Commercial Construction, the design firm of Edwards and Associates Incorporated, and the Westcom Radio Group.

To alleviate the inherent problems of noise in a high rise tower, McGill worked closely with acoustic consultant Group One Acoustics to design and construct the floating studio block.

The McGill team redesigned the office space to house a new and creative environment. Among the many features included in the design are full height interior glazing and doors on both the 14 floor administrative offices and newsroom, and the 15th floor studios. The decor strives to maintain a balance between the corporate and creative elements of the business, while capturing the feeling of both the downtown Q107 and uptown AM 640.

The technical plan of the new facility was created by G.S. Broadcast Technical Services keeping in mind the following guidelines:

1. Build a complete and interactive broadcasting facility capable of producing all forms of program material.

2. All control rooms must feed any transmitter.

3. All studios must work with any control room.

4. All large office areas must work with any control room.

5. All large areas must be wired for sound, thereby allowing broadcasting from anywhere in each of the two rooms.

6. All On-Air control rooms must be technically identical in equipment and placement, and the operating FM master room must not differ technically from the operating AM master room.

For engineering flexibility, consultant John McCloy designed two custom switchers-- the first, a transmitter network switcher with four Ganiner audio switchers, and the second, an announce booth switcher, which functions to turn mics on and off from custom turrets, route the monitor and talk back, control the delay ready and dump functions, and steer the telephone system audio into the appropriate control room.

To enhance program flexibility, a Sierra (SAS) 96 X 32 Routing Switcher is utilized to route 32 stereo and 64 mono channels of audio to all on-air, production and newsroom facilities.

The On-Air console is the Audiotronics 800, which allows for separate voice and music bussing, four stereo outputs, two mono outputs, and extensive machine control.

Q107's 24 track recording studio is considered the best of its kind in North America for recording jingles, commercials, film and TV scores, as well as mixing live-to-air programming. For recording, a SONY 3036 24 track console and SONY APR 24 track tape machine is used, and for editing, a SONY 7000 DAT editing system is available.

Improved listener access to the station is provided with the installation of the Gentner "PeopleLink" On-air phone system in six on-air rooms.

The 21,500 square feet of office space is also shared by The Rock Radio Network, Westcom Radio Sales, Westcom Music Corp. and Midtown Sound. The consolidation of the two stations enables both to operate more efficiently and to better share ideas ad resources.

In Toronto, Anne Reynolds

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AES Last Month's Meeting Review

The AES Meets the Phantom of the Opera

A technical tour of the Phantom of the Opera's Canadian road company setup at the Centre in the Square in Kitchener, Ontario was conducted on Saturday, November 21. The tour was a joint effort of the Toronto Section of the Audio Engineering Society and AOI Pro Audio of Kitchener. Drama and performing arts students from area school boards were also invited to participate. Turnout for the event was close to two hundred.

The tour began with a greeting by Dan Mombourquette, Chairman of the Toronto Section of the AES followed by an address by Dan Donaldson, manager of the Centre in the Square.

Mr. Donaldson explained to the audience that the Centre in the Square is a modern facility seating two thousand and offering many desirable and useful features to both performers and audience. Among these are an orchestra pit which can be raised or lowered on hydraulics, balconies and rows of seating configurable to a show's requirements, an extendible stage, controllable acoustics, a CADAC house sound console and a movable loudspeaker array which can be raised or lowered at need.

It was also pointed out that the hall was a preferred recording locale for several classical ensembles and record labels. After the address the audience was broken into several small groups to be toured through the Phantom setup by Phantom and theatre staff.

The Centre's House Sound man, Bob Luffman, demonstrated the features of the house console and outlined the criteria behind the selection of the equipment. The Console is a 40 input CADAC F Series, and the loudspeaker cluster consists of Altec drivers with Bryston power and B.S.S. crossovers.

The Phantom tours with its own CADAC console configured to the show's needs. Henry Zmijak is the show's Head of Sound and a veteran of several other Lloyd-Webber productions. He outlined the sound setup as well as illuminating some of the details of how cues are handled, pre-recorded effects worked into the show and actors miked. Pre-recorded effects originate from a pair of eight channel 1/2" tape machines located with the wireless microphone receivers.

One of the more interesting and challenging aspects of a show such as this are the special considerations which must be given to miking the actors on stage. This is accomplished through the use of Sennheiser wireless microphones incorporated into the actor's makeup and costume. Diversity antenna systems receive the signals which are routed to a rack of receivers below the stage. The receivers are monitored by computer and the best signal selected for the mix. A computer monitor at the mix console duplicates the display at the rack for the benefit of house sound.

Paul Harvey, Assistant Sound, has the responsibility of caring for the wireless system and the two tape machines. Paul spoke of the details and difficulties of working with wireless technology. He then toured groups through the amplifier room and the power distribution for show sound. A quick peek was allowed at the pneumatic creation that allows the Phantom to "disappear" through the stage floor.

The Phantom stage setup is very elaborate for a touring company and faithfully duplicates all the effects seen in the more permanent Phantom. Modifications had to be made to the facility to accommodate some effects. Jim Constable, the show's chief carpenter, explained some of the details. The stage is especially designed for the Phantom and travels with the company from venue to venue. This stage incorporates all the effects and controls necessary for the show including the infamous trap door and the hundreds of "candles" which can rise from the stage on command. Many of the mechanisms are unique to the Canadian production.

Head electrician Mike Vollhoffer outlined some of the details of lighting such a show. Among lighting's responsibilities is control of the dry ice machines. This effect consumes phenomenal quantities of solid C0-2, much to benefit of local suppliers. Lighting has its own power distro to the many racks of dimmers.

Perhaps the most famous of the Phantom effects is the crashing chandelier. The chandelier in question is one of a series, built in England to show specs; it is of the same design as those used by the "uptown" Phantom. The controls for the "fall" are elaborate and detailed with many fail-safes built into the system. Details of these and other controls were discussed by Kevin Dixon, the Automation Carpenter in charge of the chandelier and other mechanical effects.

The huge direct current winches and the braking systems that control the descent of the chandelier were prominent in his talk. Kevin explained how the cues and effects are coordinated via computer. He also demonstrated one of the "candles" that rise from the stage during the performance and explained the development of the mechanism.

Steve Crouch, Senior Stage Manager, spoke of the logistical difficulties of a large show like the Phantom and explained some of the day to day organization involved. He outlined how the show and the production company head office were linked to keep things running with optimal efficiency. Daily checklists that show staff are obliged to follow and the organization of all the various cues were discussed as well.

When all the tours were concluded and the various groups reunited, Dan Mombourquette thanked the staff of both the Phantom and the Centre for a first rate effort. As a special treat for all those present, the Phantom people demonstrated the rising candles and then staged a spectacular chandelier crash. These demonstrations of the show's special effects were much appreciated by all those present and were a great send off to a great tour.

In Kitchener, Denis G. Tremblay

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AES Announcements

AES Toronto welcomes two new Section members

Peter Cook, Digital Audio Editor with the CBC Broadcast Centre, is a new member of the AES Toronto executive.

Formerly an instructor in the Sound Recording program with McGill University, Peter received his Master of Music in Sound Recording degree from McGill, and worked as digital editor for McGill Records. He worked in New York at Classic Sound as editor, and since joining the CBC, is editing their SM5000 recordings on the Sonic Solutions CD pre-mastering system.

Peter is a founding member and former Chairman of the AES McGill Student Section.

Ziwei Bao has recently immigrated to Canada from China, where she was a Professor at the Institute of Acoustics, Nanjing University.

She has served on the executives of the Acoustical Societies of China and of Jiangsu Province (where she was also Chief Director of the Section of Speech, Hearing and Musical Acoustics), the Society of Radio and Television, the Society of Speech and Language, and the Association of Musical Instruments, all of Jiangsu Province.

She was Deputy Director of AES China and is a member of the Audio Engineering Society.

Not that we're desperate, or anything...but!

New members, especially executive, are always welcome! We shall be announcing the 1992/93 executive committee nominations soon. We are looking for new faces, and for new ideas. If you are interested, contact our chairman Dan Mombourquette, at (519) 748-2780, or wear a sandwich board out to the next meeting, announcing your intentions!

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Logo Copyright 1993, Audio Engineering Society Toronto Section Bulletin

Articles may be used with the Author's Permission. Contact the Bulletin Editor: earlm@hookup.net

Editor: Earl McCluskie Assistant Editor: Anne Reynolds Layout Editor: Lee White

The Bulletin is prepared in print by Lee White, and on Horizon and the Internet by Earl McCluskie.