Meeting Topic: Careers in Audio: What’s your connection?
Moderator Name: Jay Dill
Speaker Name: Ted Chandler, Markey’s Rental & Staging; Lesley Ann Fogle, AES Columbus Section Chair; Paul Kavicky, Columbus Association for the Performing Arts
Meeting Location: virtual (Zoom)
This joint virtual meeting of the Indiana and Columbus, OH sections began with introductions from the diverse group of panelist. Paul Kavicky serves as the head of audio-video production at Columbus Association for the Performing Arts (CAPA), where he serves as department head for audio at show sites where audio is produced internally. Ted Chandler worked his way through the hierarchy of Markey’s, ranging from driver to on-site audio technician, and most recently as Training and Development Manager. In addition to her work in location sound and audio post production, Lesley Ann Fogle also serves as adjunct faculty at Capital University’s music technology program where she coordinates student internship experiences.
The discussion began with Markey’s internship program, which focuses on immediate hands-on application of audio skills, but quickly expands to other trades such as video and lighting. CAPA’s internship program typically places participants at a smaller (500-seat) theatre where production is handled in-house. Both allow interns to learn the intangibles of work pacing and inter-department coordination. Certain audio skills are assumed, but an intern shines through a strong work ethic, contentiousness, people skills, and a focus on accomplishing the task at hand. For Markey’s having a secondary knowledge in staging, lighting, video, or others can also be a huge asset. All agreed that applying knowledge to new situations and troubleshooting were also important.
Preparation for an internship is critical, as well. Leslie starts students by conducting research about companies before reaching out about an internship. Persistence and proper self-presentation are key components, as well. A well-formed resume and cover letter showing effort are important, and presenting a professional image with appropriate dress and punctuality is critical. For Paul, applicants may be brought on for a single gig to showcase both hard and soft skills.
An intern’s duties vary, as well. For both CAPA and Markey’s, interns not only focus on their production specialty, but will also expand in their range of experience to other disciplines. Hands-on work begins on day one with the expectation that interns both work and observe, and may quickly find themselves serving a role within a production, given the right attitude and skillset.
The session concluded questions from the audience. Questions touched on topics such as unpaid internships, opportunities for military veterans and less client-facing roles within the industry, and ways to make yourself stand out on the job.
Speaker Name: Trevor Gibson, Klipsch; Gary Mielke, Tech Rep; Stan Stivers, Klipsch; Trey Cannon, Klipsch
Other business or activities at the meeting: Notes about upcoming virtual career panel, information about Klipsch internships, and information about AES membership.
Meeting Location: Indianapolis, IN, USA
The meeting opened with host Trevor Gibson from Klipsch providing some history and evolution of Klipsch, started by Lieutenant Colonel Paul W. Klipsch in 1946 in Hope, Arkansas while stationed at the Southwest Proving Grounds. Klipsch pioneered corner horn loudspeaker design (which is still manufactured today) and developed a reputation for being a design-driven company, with a focus on quality sound. At present, Klipsch boasts its position as the number one selling speaker company in both the US and Canada, with an export market that outpaces domestic sales, and includes a number of commercial partnerships. More recently, Klipsch has rebranded as Premium Audio Company, as they now serve as owner or importer for such brands as Jamo, Integra, Pioneer Elite, and Onkyo.
Following the opening presentation, the attendees split into three groups to rotate through different sections of the facilities. The first of these groups moved to an outdoor courtyard area to view and listen to a three-speaker landscape loudspeaker system produced by Klipsch, featuring a half-buried subwoofer (unburied for the demo) and a network-controlled amplifier and DSP unit with 110° coverage area.
The second station took attendees back in the building for a look inside the prototyping and engineering facilities. The prototyping lab provides engineers with a full array of 3D printing and CNC capabilities for realizing models and testing novel designs in the adjacent testing facilities. The premiere testing room is the in-house anechoic chamber, built from a separate slab and resting on a coil-spring suspension. The room boasts a 24dB C noise floor, despite being mere hundreds of feet from a busy interstate highway. The room also features a unique door design with a corner entry via a four-sided spinning door mounted on an axil. This allows for differing conditions including hard boundary and anechoic conditions, all sealed with inflatable O- and C-rings.
The final station brought attendees to the listening lab where a set of Klipsch Forte three-way loudspeakers powered by tube-based monoblock amps, providing an exciting listening experience to round out the evening.
Meeting Topic: Technical Tour of Westfield’s Grand Junction Plaza
Moderator Name: Jay Dill
Speaker Name: Russ Hopple, IMEG Corp; David Wright, IMEG Corp; Brian McCullagh, New Era Technologies; Chris McConnell, Westfield Parks & Rec
Other business or activities at the meeting: Brief announcements were made about membership, membership levels (associate vs. full member) and the change in name to the Indiana Section was officially announced.
Meeting Location: Grand Junction Plaza, Westfield, IN, USA
The Indiana Section toured Grand Junction Plaza, a unique, new six-acre park in Westfield with multiple zone-based audio systems and a number of performance venues, all with integrated wireless control. Russ Hopple and David Wright from the local engineering firm on the project opened our tour with a discussion of the planning and design of the park. The park was envisaged with an ice rink, a smaller amphitheater adjacent to a creek running through the park, a permanent structure for a café, and a large amphitheater with a band shell. The ability to use the park for a variety of events, or consolidate all technical functionality to support a single large concert was considered from the outset, along with maintaining a semblance of acoustic support from the surrounding buildings. In particular, special consideration was taken with the exterior design of the café situated opposite from the main stage, which features a faceted exterior stone wall facing the amphitheater to provide diffusion. Chris McConnell, the park superintendent, joined the discussion and explained that the park opted to purchase all audio systems, with the main stage featuring L-Acoustic line arrays with smaller center hangs and front fills, with Danley and Renkus-Heinz all-weather speakers distributed throughout the park. The system is managed via a Q-SYS platform for day-to-day operation, and Yamaha CL3 connected via Dante serves for larger shows, along with a full complement of analog lines. The FOH position is connected through subterranean conduit terminated in a buried cement electrical vault, which in turn houses a stainless steel outdoor electrical box populated with Neutrik weather-resistant connectors.
The constraints of municipal funding necessitated value engineering during the design phase. The most impactful change was the decision to defer construction of the band shell. The shell included an enclosed area which housed the central machine room for network and audio infrastructure across the park. Brian McCullagh from the audio integrator on the projected described the changes to cable runs, including increased distances, caused by the move of the machine room to the adjacent green room building. Knowing that the rack room may be relocated when the band shell is completed, the installers left cabling to allow wiring to be pulled back to the original location. Likewise, rigging for the center array was converted to a temporary solution due to the band shell change. The tour concluded with listening to the main amphitheater sound system.