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Articles May - June 2019

THE FAMOUS STORY

Armed with a degree in Marketing and Finance and International Business from University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, and Aston University respectively, and after learning the dynamics of the Indian business world at Fanatic Sports and GVK..... read more

FIXINTOGETMIXIN with Brad Divens

Renowned FOH engineer Brad Divens who is currently mixing for Enrique Iglesias and has mixed for Linkin Park, Garbage, Cyndi Lauper, HIM, Bob Seger and countless others in the past, was in Mumbai for doing what he loves to do most...... read more

BToS Productions - The Rising Star

Nazeef Mohommed, the frontman of an immensely young, passionate and growing enterprise – BToS Productions talks to Ankita Bhadrawale about their overall plans for the future and his recipe to designing, curating and executing the event..... read more

The Next Dimension Of Stage Production

Popularly referred to as India’s equivalent of the Academy Awards; the 64th edition of the Filmfare Awards, presented by The Times Group, continued its legacy of honouring artistic and technical excellence in the Hindi film industry of India......... read more

Complete Audio Solutions from Honeywell

Honeywell is the new entrant on the block in the professional sound segment with ‘Honeywell ProSound’. The series is a perfect adjacency to Honeywell’s current PAVA business offering solutions to new verticals like hospitality, entertainment...... read more

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11 Questions with Wolfgang Fraissinet ------January February 2017 Issue!


Global President of Neumann GmbH - Wolfgang Fraissinet has worked for Neumann since more than two decades and in this 11 Questions section he talks about his journey in the pro audio industry with Neumann, the company’s focus on the revolutionary AMBEO technology and his observations of the Indian studios and technicians.

 

1. For decades, Neumann has been a standard-setting, leading manufacturer of studio microphones. What is the main philosophy behind the decades of success?

I think one of the main philosophies of Neumann has not changed over the 88 years of Neumann history and that is to capture sound sources – be it the human voice or be it a musical instrument or anything else, in the most natural way possible. We don’t want to colour or add anything to what has been recorded; we want to keep the sound as natural as it is. Neumann’s sound philosophy has also been to be always state-ofthe- art in audio engineering.



2. What according to you are the three main milestones in terms of product development in the almost 90 year history of Neumann?

The first milestone in the history of the company, I would say is that, Neumann was responsible for the first industrially manufactured studio condenser microphone in the world. The first studio condenser microphone which had been produced in an industrial manner, not made just piece by piece, but in serial production, was started by Neumann. Since the 1930s Neumann started manufacturing disc cutting blade systems with which vinyl discs are made and that was another milestone in Neumann’s history. The third milestone was making mixing consoles and today in the microphone industry Neumann is again the leading manufacturer for digital microphones. I think digital technology in the microphone industry is led and mentored by Neumann to a certain extent and that is a position which we are trying to keep for ourselves.


3.Tell us a little about yourself. Since how many years have you been with Sennheisher?

I’m longer with Neumann than I am with Sennheisher. I started with Neumann 26 years ago in 1990 and since 1991 we belong to the Sennheisher family. My time with Neumann encompasses 26 years in various management positions. I’m now the President of Neumann since 2000. Before that I was working for Zeiss. I was there for seven years. Then I was working in public relations for a German newspaper for a while and I was also four years in an international advertising agency handling only premium brands of premium manufacturers, which brings me back to Neumann because that’s where I was introduced to Neumann which was already a premium brand in the audio industry and I knew how to do marketing for a company like this. Ever since then I’m with Neumann.

4. Which of the Neumann studio microphones would you say is your favorite and why?

There is no one favorite microphone. I’m producing music myself and there is a difference whether I need a microphone for a violin or for a piano or for a female voice with higher frequencies or for men’s voice with different frequency range. It also depends on whether I record something outside on the street or here in a closed environment. Having said that, one of the most favorite microphones is of course the U 87, but it’s not the only one. I also personally like very much the M 149 tube and the D-01 which is the first digital microphone with 15 different polar patterns and with a lot of other additional functions.

5. Neumann’s studio mics have always been popular for their superior quality. But would you say that quality has improved even more after the move to Sennheisher?

No I would not say it has improved, because Neumann used to be a leading edge manufacturer in the microphone industry long before Sennheisher was part of the Neumann history, and Neumann achieved this level of acknowledgment and this level of engineering and audio quality long before Sennheisher came in. Sennheisher however played a big role to maintain this position in the last 25years through its state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities. This helps a lot because we have specially dedicated Neumann production facilities within the Sennheisher factory with really state-of-the-art modern technology. The synergy between Neumann and Sennheisher being in one big organisation is a big plus.

6. Neumann even ventured into the field of mixing desks; why was that stopped and how is the studio monitors segment doing for the company?

We stopped manufacturing mixing desks in 1993-1994, because by then the studio landscape in the audio industry had changed. Pre-fabricated serial products had become the preferred choice rather than customized mixing consoles. But we have maintained the service for all the consoles that we had delivered, for example, the Berlin Philemon house and other concert houses and broadcasting stations.

The studio monitors segment is something which we have been doing since a little more than six years now and that has proven to become a very successful addition to Neumann’s audio business. Neumann was earlier known to make very good microphone transducers which convert the natural sound signal into an electronic signal. So for obvious reasons it was also possible for us to easily take care of the other side of the signal processing chain and convert an electronic signal into natural sound again. So what we did was to use up all the knowledge that we have of Neumann’s history as a manufacturer for microphones, mixing consoles, disc cutting blade systems and many other things and use it to our advantage into studio monitor engineering. At the same time we took the studio monitor line from an older German manufacturer called Klein & Hummel, which was a brand that sold studio monitors until 10 years ago. When Sennheisher took it over, we reengineered the products using Neumann sound philosophy (that we talked about earlier) and today we are very successful. This segment gives a lot of work to a lot of people in the company and there are thousands of studios in the world which are using our studio monitors now, which includes India too.

7. What is your vision for Neumann as a company for the next five years?

I think from a professional audio engineering point of view we will see many more surround sound productions in the near future. Audio has evolved from mono in the1950s to the world of stereo in the1960s-1970s, and then came the Quadraphonic sound and a lot of other different technologies where people wanted to use more speakers for proper spatial representation of sound. Since quite recently, surround sound recordings and surround sound images, especially in the movie industry, has become popular. The future will be that of three dimensional images with the sound travelling exactly the way you see that three dimensional picture, and this requires a lot of audio engineering so that people hear a natural sound, though its created artificially. Neumann and Sennheisher are creating a lot of new product solutions and new audio solutions which come under one name called AMBEO, which means ambience + stereo. This AMBEO technology is going to become a huge part of our audio engineering in the next five years for Neumann as well as for Sennheisher. So there will be a lot of other products like virtual reality microphones, which will be the new standard in 3D audio capture, lifting VR audio production to a new professional level.

8. Is there a demand for digital mics in music recording studios across the globe or is there a resistance to switch from analog mics to digital mics?

Yes there is a demand, especially, in newer parts of the audio industry. I know that there is a hesitation from many engineers for using digital microphones. Many sound engineers, have been raised and trained with analog microphones and they are used to the analog world. But at the same time the audio industry is changing from just recording for CDs, DVDs and blue ray discs to recording for video games for example. Recording for video games would mean you need to create libraries of sound which do not exist, for example sound of two space ships crashing in the orbit into each other. In reality there is no sound because there is no air, but we need to create that sound and that is a challenge to do because it needs very unusual amounts of high frequencies when you have metal crushing into each other. There is also a lot of necessity to record sounds without self-noise distortion from the electronics. So the choice is between no self-noise with digital microphones or 15 db self-noise with analog microphones. This is the big difference when choosing microphones in audio production for video games and for movies etc.

9. Tell us a little bit about your engagement with the Indian market and have you enjoyed it?

Last time I was here was six years ago and in the last six years a lot has changed for the positive. I see people being very open to new technology. Today I see people producing content that is more modern rather than just doing traditional things which have been always done. I see there are new studios coming up and I see that people are talking about their work. They are very national minded with everything they do and that is also what Neumann does since 88 years. We are an international supplier of audio gear for the recording industry and India has become more and more important and a major part of Neumann world services.

10. What is your observation about the Indian studios?

I have seen young composers today in studios and I have been to some recording studios today like YRF studios. During my time there, I was explaining why I’m here and why I think Indian musicians, composer and recording engineers are so important to us as a company and to me specially because I’m also producing music myself. So I’m not only delivering mics and speakers to the market, I’m an actual user and a colleague of these people in the studio. We were discussing about different recording techniques and the perception of sound and the difference between the technical aspects and creative aspects of audio recording, when a young female talent who was rehearsing in the studio and watching us from the window and listening to our conversation (as she had the headphones on) came over and conveyed her interest to participate in the discussion. So that was good to know that even the talent in India is interested in the technical aspects of recording.

11. Any message for your customers in India?

“Keep on going the way India is going right now.” I’m not just here to tell your readers or the people here what I know and what should be done. I’m here to learn from the people of India how your audio engineers produce music; so I’m here in your country to see it from that perspective. Whatever I can learn here from the people I have been meeting helps us to be a better supplier for the Indian market and to serve you for your own recording work. I’m not here to be the teacher but to represent the manufacturer who listens to the customer and supplies what is needed. So I’m here to learn and I’m here to serve at the same time.




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