The NSCA (National Systems Contractors Association) has created a new regional training course, Audio Hardware Applications, known as AHA.

Designed as a followup to the NSCA's popular TFA, or Technical Fundamentals of Audio, AHA is an addition to the growing regional training courses offered by NSCA throughout the year. "The NSCA is committed to providing audio technicians with superior training that keeps them on the cutting edge of today's technology," said Matt Marth, NSCA education director.

According to Marth, Audio Hardware Applications (AHA) is a two-day training course led by Ted Uzzle and devoted to audio products, including how they are made and work, how to interpret published specifications, and how they may fail. Categories covered in the course include microphones, mixers, signal processing, power amplification, and loudspeakers. Students benefiting from this course could be salespeople, manufacturers' representatives, designers, and installers.

Students should have a basic understanding of audio technology fundamentals. Previous attendance at TFA is not a formal requirement, but a good way to acquire skills in decibel use, basic electrical circuit analysis, the psychology of hearing, and elementary acoustical concepts.

In 2000, AHA will be offered in conjunction with TFA, a course co-sponsored by S&VC magazine. Participants will have the option of taking TFA, AHA, or both.

Following is a schedule of classes and locations: New York City: TFA, May 15-17, AHA, May 18 and 19; Chicago (Columbia College): TFA, June 5-7, AHA, June 8 and 9; Los Angeles (USC): TFA, July 10-12, AHA, July 13 and 14.

To register for AHA, TFA, or both, call NSCA at (800) 446-6722 and request a registration form.

The recent production of the musical Play On at the Crossroads Theatre in New Brunswick, NJ, gave me the opportunity to mix on the Soundcraft Broadway console. Though it's a board designed with the trials and challenges of the Broadway musical in mind, its use in the theatre has thus far been limited. Sound designer Eric Talorico decided to take a leap of faith and use it on this production. I served as assistant sound designer/engineer.

I have had a good deal of experience with automated consoles and show control systems, from CADAC to Libra Live, and the Broadway is one of the easiest and most user-friendly consoles I have used. Everything you need is within reach at the touch of a button. The console is very well laid out and responds very quickly. With the new operating system updates, it should be even faster.

The Broadway was a cinch to program and maneuver through the various menus and screens. The touch-screen is a huge advantage once you figure out what angle to hold your finger; you can also use a pencil eraser to navigate more quickly. This came in very handy since for various reasons we did not have a full tech process. However, the dial should be more active; it would save even more time if you could use it to scroll and then click,as opposed to moving to the touch-screen to enter the menu or by using the wheel.

The production, starring Leslie Uggams and Stephanie Mills, included a variety of period costumes, as well as many hats and wigs. This made the EQ cueing very important, to correct for hats-on and hats-off situations within numbers. I was also able to make subtle adjustments on the fly and either update the cue or let the preprogrammed EQ ride out of the cue. The mixing took place mostly on the master surface, which holds the first eight VCA faders, as well as the touch-screen that displays the cue list and the next button. I kept one of the input surfaces on the input screen and one on the VCA screen. This allowed me access to all VCA faders as well as all input channels at the turn of a page, 20 at a time. These elements combined to allow adjustments to any subtle shift in performance from moment to moment.

The Soundcraft Broadway is a valuable tool, and I hope to see it on more theatrical productions.

Haren, Holland-based Hof Audio has entered a business partnership with Meyer Sound; Hof Audio is now the new Dutch contact for sales, service, and maintenance of Meyer Sound systems....AC Lighting Ltd. has appointed Sebastian Williams to its team of technical support staff at their High Wycombe headquarters.Williams, who received a degree in theatre design from the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, previously worked on a number of projects, including running a series of trade shows for Virgin Cola....Oregon Stage Lighting & Sound (OSL&S) has expanded into the Portland, OR marketplace opening an office offering full production capabilities in lighting and sound, as well as sales inventory and a full line of rental equipment. New address: 1138 NW 17th Ave. Portland, OR 97209-2403; phone: (503)224-2450; fax: (503) 224-4085; email: info@oregonstage.com....Vega Wireless has hired Jim Watson, formerly of Anchor Audio, where he served as vice president of sales and marketing, as its new sales and marketing manager. Watson is responsible for both domestic and international sales, and will guide the overall marketing direction of the company. He is also charged with realigning and expanding international distribution networks. Watson's appointment highlights what the company calls a "strategic expansion of Vega's sales and marketing efforts, following the company's acquisition by Vitec Group plc in October, 1999." In other Vega news, the company has appointed Rick Sanchez as its new product manager for wireless systems. Sanchez is responsible for all product marketing, including Internet operations, advertising, trade shows, publications, and training programs. In addition, he will participate in product definition and strategic planning. Sanchez was formerly sales and marketing manager with Intercom Specialties of Burbank, CA, and has held other sales and marketing positions at Vega and production positions with Disney....Audio, video, and multimedia company Sharff Weisberg has hired Tony Rossello as a project manager. Rossello comes to Scharff Weisberg from the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel, where he was audio-visual and production director....Loudspeaker designer David Gunness, inventor/designer of the KF900 Series loudspeaker system, Phased Point-Source Technology (PPST), Super-Sub, and its derivatives, MQ Series loudspeakers, and many others, has been appointed director of research and development for Eastern Acoustic Works (EAW). Gunness previously served as senior engineer/team leader and head of EAW's custom product design group; in his new role as director of research and development, Gunness will continue to ply his talents to fundamental research and new technology development, while at the same time developing a more formalized, yet dynamic, structure in which this work is done by the EAW engineering team....San Francisco-based AV Images is expanding its Las Vegas operation and has relocated its office to a larger facility, located at 6285 S. Valley View Blvd, Suite G, Las Vegas, NV 89118...California Country Trees, which creates interior naturescapes, has changed its name to NatureMaker Monumental Trees. Recent projects include several Las Vegas casinos, themed environments in the US and overseas, and the musical version of Jane Eyre....CEO Joseph Calzone III has combined Anvil Case Company, Calzone Case Company, and Majecal Case Company to form the Caltron Packaging Group. Retaining its primary base of operations in Bridgeport, CT, the Caltron Packaging Group will offer manufacturing, distribution, and customer service from three locations. These locations include both coasts and the greater southwest region. Anvil and Majecal Case Companies retain their facilities in City of Industry, CA, with Calzone increasing the production capabilities of both its Dallas and Bridgeport facilities. In staff switches, Mike Herman of Anvil Cases has been named vice president of administration, and Marge Murphy has been named engineering and sales manager. Both will maintain their offices at Anvil's west coast facility in City of Industry....Bob Cannon, former owner/partner of Bash Theatrical Lighting, joins 4Wall Entertainment to head up its used lighting division and website, www.Usedlighting.com....Tascam has hired two new product specialists: Daniel Keller, who has worked in the pro audio industry for more than 20 years, including stints with Hybrid Arts and Artist Relations and Shure Brothers in Europe, and Jace Nuzback, a musician/jingle writer and former floor manager at Guitar City. Nuzback will be on the road, "integrating with dealers and reps"; Keller will promote Tascam on the company's website, www.tascam.com...