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Orchestral Recording with Behringer B-1 Microphones

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Anonymous
June 17, 2005 12:38:41 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

On Wednesday night, I made my first orchestral recording using the Behringer
B-1 Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphones.

The venue was a former library, with a huge, 100-year-old vaulted ceiling,
making seem a little like an old church roof of the Byzantine design. Reverb
times were akin to the venues that string orchestras used to perform in for
commercial and radio performances in the late 1950s.

The orchestra is a 50-piece affair, with the usual violin, viola, double
basses, brass, woodwinds and a full percussion section.

I assembled an array that holds five mics in a "U" pattern. Picture the
bottom of the U having three mics across its width (Left-Center-Right) and
each wing of the U being a single mic for LR - RR in the surround sound
setup. The front mics are configured O.R.T.F. with a center channel mic in
between. The rear mics are at 90º angles to eachother.

All of this sat on a single stand, with a single cable bundle that I tied
together the night before.
Deployment of the gear went smoothly and quickly.

I ran the cables back to my MotU 896 and plugged into the
appropriately-pre-labeled jacks (labeled for their respective Dolby Surround
assignments). The firewire was connected to my Sony GRX560 laptop with 80GB
5400rpm drive.

The session was also videotaped--I had two 3-chip cameras with high def wide
angle lenses, one on a dolly, the other stationary for the conductor shots.

Some of the orchestra members walked up to me and commented that they had
never seen a microphone configuration like that before. I explained that it
was an experimental recording in Surround Sound. One of the double-bass
players asked if we were making a movie. (Actually, this session was a
documentary about the conductor, who is the son of a famous American
composer).

I recorded in 24/96 samples. Five channels from the mics, and one additional
channel from the conductor's wireless lapel. Fortissimo peak levels were
around -11dB.

Due to the age of the building, retrofitted air conditioning units lined the
two exterior walls of this large room. All of these units were running, and
humming, a nice 60hz hum that pervaded the entire session. Other than that,
the place would have been fairly quiet on a Wednesday night, excepting the
occasional police sirens in the streets below.

The session went smoothly as anyone could possibly ask. I did my homework in
advance, right down to packing 135lbs of gear on one handtruck!

When I returned to my editing suite later that evening, I immediately copied
the 15.1 GB of audio files from the laptop to one of the workstations and
set to work assembling a stereo mix from the RF - LF mics to hear what is
sounded like.

So what about the recording?
Of course, I could hear the a/c running in the background, and that kinda'
destroyed the noise floor throughout the session, but the orchestra sounded
sweet and opulent! It sounded like the best of the audiophile CDs that I
own, only more crisp and well-defined. With the memory of how the orchestra
sounded still clear in my head, I set the playback levels on the big house
system and just took it all in. In stereo, the soundfield was wide and
spacious. Balance from top to bottom was perfect. High end was soothing and
silky. Bottom end was warm and not overdone. The recorded needed NOTHING
done to it. So I left it alone, other than normalizing it to get it above
the noise floor of my Turtle Beach sound card. FFT analysis of the cymbal
crashes in one number showed energy going up to 35KHz. The acoustics of that
old library (about 60x80' with a vaulted ceiling maybe 30' at the peak)
reminded me of the first "beautiful music" recordings, back in the days of
Ted Wheems and David Rose. Just enough reverb time to augment the
performance, and very retro in feeling, (which went along with the music
format). So it was like I was back in 1959 again, but with 2005 gear!

This was the first of two rehearsal sessions before the concert. Session Two
is tonight. Concert is Saturday night and will be "Retro Pops" format. I am
recording all three. By the time all is said and done, 261 gigabytes of
digital video + audio will have been generated!

If the remainder of these sessions goes this well, I'll be very pleased.
Editing in post is going to be interesting, to say the least.

--
Best Regards,

Mark A. Weiss, P.E.
www.mwcomms.com
-
Anonymous
June 17, 2005 1:31:33 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <l_vse.6006$eM6.1588@newsread3.news.atl.earthlink.net> mweissX294@earthlink.net writes:

> On Wednesday night, I made my first orchestral recording using the Behringer
> B-1 Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphones.

> Of course, I could hear the a/c running in the background, and that kinda'
> destroyed the noise floor throughout the session, but the orchestra sounded
> sweet and opulent! It sounded like the best of the audiophile CDs that I
> own, only more crisp and well-defined. With the memory of how the orchestra
> sounded still clear in my head, I set the playback levels on the big house
> system and just took it all in.

Well, that's a good illustration that it's not so much about which
microphones you use, but where you put them and how the orchestra
sounds in the room. You might have liked $1,000 mics a little better,
but if you're happy with what you got, that's fine.

And if it was a lousy room or the mics were in the wrong place, simply
substituting $10,00 worth of mics wouldn't have saved the day.


--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
Anonymous
June 19, 2005 5:09:03 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Mark & Mary Ann Weiss <mweissX294@earthlink.net> wrote:
> On Wednesday night, I made my first orchestral recording using the
> Behringer
> B-1 Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphones.
> The venue was a former library, with a huge, 100-year-old vaulted
> ceiling,
> making seem a little like an old church roof of the Byzantine design.
> Reverb
> times were akin to the venues that string orchestras used to perform
> in for
> commercial and radio performances in the late 1950s.
> The orchestra is a 50-piece affair, with the usual violin, viola,
> double
> basses, brass, woodwinds and a full percussion section.
> I assembled an array that holds five mics in a "U" pattern. Picture
> the
> bottom of the U having three mics across its width (Left-Center-Right)
> and
> each wing of the U being a single mic for LR - RR in the surround
> sound
> setup. The front mics are configured O.R.T.F. with a center channel
> mic in
> between. The rear mics are at 90º angles to eachother.
> All of this sat on a single stand, with a single cable bundle that I
> tied
> together the night before.
> Deployment of the gear went smoothly and quickly.


Hello Mark,

Listen very carefully and you will find out that 17 cm ORTF for stereo
is fine, but a center mic in between is not good for the sourround
sound front. Also the rear mics seem to be to close to the front.
The coloration of large diaphragm mics are also not ideal.
I know you are just starting. Good luck.

Cheers Jens
Related resources
Anonymous
June 20, 2005 11:53:38 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

> > setup. The front mics are configured O.R.T.F. with a center channel
> > mic in
> > between. The rear mics are at 90º angles to eachother.
> > All of this sat on a single stand, with a single cable bundle that I
> > tied
> > together the night before.
> > Deployment of the gear went smoothly and quickly.
>
>
> Hello Mark,
>
> Listen very carefully and you will find out that 17 cm ORTF for stereo
> is fine, but a center mic in between is not good for the sourround
> sound front. Also the rear mics seem to be to close to the front.
> The coloration of large diaphragm mics are also not ideal.
> I know you are just starting. Good luck.
>
> Cheers Jens
>

I didn't mean to give the false impression that I've just started making
recordings. I meant DIGITAL recordings with Behringer mics. Actually, I've
been recording concert bands since 1977, but this is the first time I've
done it with the Behringer mics and digital audio chain. :-) In the old
days, I used reel to reel decks and analog mixers for these gigs.
I used to be a big fan of small diaphragm condensors, but after hearing the
transient response of the B-1s, I'm sold on the sound. What coloration? What
I heard in my headphones and what I heard without the headphones sounded
damned near identical, save for the time and delay differences between my
position the the mics'.
I chose to go a little more than 110º angles between the front L-R mics,
knowing there would be a center channel. The stereo mix sounds "discreet" as
a result, but with the center mix in there, it meshes nicely.
As for the rears, the mics are all cardioides, and I don't want to distort
the delay factors by moving them far away from the fronts. They are maybe
25cm back from the fronts and completely isolated by the back pattern
rejection.
I'm in the process of capturing the videotapes to the HD array at the
moment. Video from three cams has to be synched, then the audio's 6 tracks
(includes an LFE channel that I may or may not use -- because the bass drum
player was too timid to really whack that thing) will be synched to camera
audio and all heads trimmed to the same start point.
The challenge comes from having so many options before me. In the past, I
had only two channels to work with in post. There were few decisions to
make.
But I'm sitting here listening to the stereo mix I derived from R-L in 24/96
and boy does it raise the goosebumps! This has more of that "you are there!"
feeling to it than anything I have on CD from Telarc, Phillips, et al. The
freedom from any hint of hiss is also refreshing. Something the Big Boys
haven't seemed to address.


--
Best Regards,

Mark A. Weiss, P.E.
www.mwcomms.com
-
Anonymous
June 20, 2005 10:33:42 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Mark & Mary Ann Weiss wrote:

>> I know you are just starting. Good luck.
>>
> I didn't mean to give the false impression that I've just started making
> recordings.

I guess he just scanned through it. I don't see a newbie splashing out on
MULTIPLE Neumann mics only to sell them almost immediately afterwards.

>
> --
> Best Regards,
>
> Mark A. Weiss, P.E.
> www.mwcomms.com
> -

--
JP Morris - aka DOUG the Eagle (Dragon) -=UDIC=- jpm@it-he.org
Fun things to do with the Ultima games http://www.it-he.org
Reign of the Just - An Ultima clone http://rotj.it-he.org
d+++ e+ N+ T++ Om U1234!56!7'!S'!8!9!KAW u++ uC+++ uF+++ uG---- uLB----
uA--- nC+ nR---- nH+++ nP++ nI nPT nS nT wM- wC- y a(YEAR - 1976)
Anonymous
June 21, 2005 9:40:44 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

> >> I know you are just starting. Good luck.
> >>
> > I didn't mean to give the false impression that I've just started making
> > recordings.
>
> I guess he just scanned through it. I don't see a newbie splashing out on
> MULTIPLE Neumann mics only to sell them almost immediately afterwards.


I'm also a longtime audiophile with a sound system worth more than my house.
:-)
That decision took a LOT of sanity checks. But I feel quite good about it as
I review the tracks I captured Saturday night. At first, I thought they
seemed a bit bright when listened to on the Dynaudio Acoustics, but on the
Wilson Bischops, I am "there!"


--
Best Regards,

Mark A. Weiss, P.E.
www.mwcomms.com
-
Anonymous
June 23, 2005 11:49:10 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Some samples at last:

The orchestra was recorded with a five mike array that I assembled. (You can
see it over the conductor's head in the principal shot). The array consists
of an O.R.T.F. pair, with the addition of a center channel mike in between,
plus another stereo pair at 90º angles to eachother for the rear surround
channels. It is deep into the center of the orchestra, so the violin section
and celli will appear come from the rear channels, while the brass and
percussion are in front.
One additional mike was placed out by the double-basses and bass drum and it
drives the LFE channel.

The streaming Windows media files are version 9 and require the Pro Audio
5.1 Surround CODEC for the audio. Multiple cameras were placed around the
orchestra. This is a rough cut edit. The video is not complete yet, so the
editing may appear choppy:

www.tinyurl.com/dws47

www.tinyurl.com/9aoub



--
Best Regards,

Mark A. Weiss, P.E.
www.mwcomms.com
-
Anonymous
June 25, 2005 12:17:22 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Mark & Mary Ann Weiss wrote:

> Some samples at last:

The video is good and helpful.

> The orchestra was recorded with a five mike array that I assembled.

Recently posted my thought on such an array, don't want to re-iterate.

> The array ... is deep into the center of the orchestra,
> so the violin section and celli will appear come from the
> rear channels, while the brass and percussion are in front.

In the context of the music in question it is - to me - a strange
choice. It would make more sense to me to have the surrounding noises be
the surrounding sound, ie. to have the mic stand home more
conventionally placed in the focus of the orchestral sound, which -
usually - is behind the conductor.

> One additional mike was placed out by the double-basses
> and bass drum and it drives the LFE channel.

It will take some effort to convince me that any other location than
mic-cluster center is appropiate, please try.

> The streaming Windows media files are version 9 and require
> the Pro Audio 5.1 Surround CODEC for the audio.

Which means that it is probably not fair to comment on a stereo
playback. Comments made would be less than completely favourable. It is
in my opinion an error to have a mic stand under that canopy, I think
that that is what makes the overall sound "contained". Also the 10 kHz
range appears exaggerated, but this is based mainly on the cymbal sound,
and cymbal sound can vary greatly.

DPA made some 5-1 mic setup experiments, probably wortwhile reading
material. A good presentation, including playback of audio samples, was
arranged by the danish chapter of the AES a couple of years ago. Which
is why I didn't rush to get a FR2, I want a FR4, 6 or 8 .... O;-) ...
from the 197x discrete four channel recordings that I have heard 4
tracks is enough, and it should be possible to re-matrix into any
relevant distribution format. My understanding of these matters is
possibly very incomplete.

> www.tinyurl.com/dws47

> www.tinyurl.com/9aoub

It could be helpful to have the discrete audio tracks for those two
snippets, and it would certainly make evaluating the mics somewhat
easier.

Thank you very much for illustrating your post with examples, very
interesting ones. I would try two changes to the setup: move the
mic-cluster to a more conventional location for the surround to be what
actually surrounds and move the lfe mic to cluster center. I have yet to
try such a setup, so I can not promise that the changes will work better
than your initial try.

> Mark A. Weiss, P.E.
> www.mwcomms.com


Kind regards

Peter Larsen


--
*******************************************
* My site is at: http://www.muyiovatki.dk *
* The Vienna Copyright convention applies *
*******************************************
Anonymous
June 25, 2005 12:17:23 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

> The video is good and helpful.
>
> > The orchestra was recorded with a five mike array that I assembled.
>
> Recently posted my thought on such an array, don't want to re-iterate.

URL? Subject line?


> > The array ... is deep into the center of the orchestra,
> > so the violin section and celli will appear come from the
> > rear channels, while the brass and percussion are in front.
>
> In the context of the music in question it is - to me - a strange
> choice. It would make more sense to me to have the surrounding noises be
> the surrounding sound, ie. to have the mic stand home more
> conventionally placed in the focus of the orchestral sound, which -
> usually - is behind the conductor.

Logistics dictated the position to a large extent. I wanted the mics in a
central location (behind the conductor and overhead would have been great,
except that it would have been in the "traffic" area of the stage, where the
conductor walks to and from a house PA microphone), but not directly behind
the conductor, who's body would interfere with the sound, unless I had some
way to hoist the mics really high up. Another factor was this being an
outdoor concert, we had to compete with city noise and traffic. I started to
look at the surround channels as additional channels of sound, rather than
ambient noise pickup as a result.


> > One additional mike was placed out by the double-basses
> > and bass drum and it drives the LFE channel.
>
> It will take some effort to convince me that any other location than
> mic-cluster center is appropiate, please try.

A very clear reason, in fact: There was no bass to be heard at the mic
location. The bass drum head was perpendicular to the mic array, meaning
that bass drum output (a bass drum radiates like a dipole, with a huge null
in the middle) was toward the back of the stage and toward the front outside
of the stage. Since there are no solid walls to bounce the bass, the bass
drum was completely inaudible at this location. Hence the placement of a LFE
channel mic on-axis to the bass drum head.


> > The streaming Windows media files are version 9 and require
> > the Pro Audio 5.1 Surround CODEC for the audio.
>
> Which means that it is probably not fair to comment on a stereo
> playback. Comments made would be less than completely favourable. It is
> in my opinion an error to have a mic stand under that canopy, I think
> that that is what makes the overall sound "contained". Also the 10 kHz
> range appears exaggerated, but this is based mainly on the cymbal sound,
> and cymbal sound can vary greatly.

I too noticed this on lesser speaker systems, such as the Dynaudio Acoustics
monitors that I mix on. However, on the Wilson Bischops, the high end sounds
exactly as it did when I recorded it. This particular orchestra has a
somewhat thin middle to lower range and a bright, tends-to-be-brittle high
end. Particularly challenging to get this to sound balanced.



> DPA made some 5-1 mic setup experiments, probably wortwhile reading
> material. A good presentation, including playback of audio samples, was
> arranged by the danish chapter of the AES a couple of years ago. Which
> is why I didn't rush to get a FR2, I want a FR4, 6 or 8 .... O;-) ...
> from the 197x discrete four channel recordings that I have heard 4
> tracks is enough, and it should be possible to re-matrix into any
> relevant distribution format. My understanding of these matters is
> possibly very incomplete.
>
> > www.tinyurl.com/dws47
>
> > www.tinyurl.com/9aoub
>
> It could be helpful to have the discrete audio tracks for those two
> snippets, and it would certainly make evaluating the mics somewhat
> easier.

I'm thinking about making a stereo submix, derived from the front & rear
channels. Extensive listening tests will be a factor in my decision to
downmix, all to aware of potential phase/comb filter effects that may arise.


> Thank you very much for illustrating your post with examples, very
> interesting ones. I would try two changes to the setup: move the
> mic-cluster to a more conventional location for the surround to be what
> actually surrounds and move the lfe mic to cluster center. I have yet to
> try such a setup, so I can not promise that the changes will work better
> than your initial try.


I'm negotiating a contract with a professional orchestra in another city,
and that concert will be indoors in a fine acoustic space, a concert hall.
I've discussed the idea of flying the mic array, and in such a case, I can
derive LFE from the center channel mic. In a hall, the bass output will be
reinforced by the boundaries of the space, eliminating the need for a
localized LFE mic.
Getting the mics further away will dry out the upper register considerably.
I've also noticed that this other symphony orchestra has a less brilliant
high end. The sound is spectrally more balanced than it is with the symphony
I just recorded last weekend.

In a perfect situation, I would do things differently, but since these were
concerts and not recording sessions, the recording had to take secondary
place in importance and thus mic placement.

Thank you for listening and commenting!

--
Best Regards,

Mark A. Weiss, P.E.
www.mwcomms.com
-
Anonymous
June 25, 2005 3:36:23 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Mark & Mary Ann Weiss wrote:
>
> > The video is good and helpful.
> >
> > > The orchestra was recorded with a five mike array that I assembled.
> >
> > Recently posted my thought on such an array, don't want to re-iterate.
>
> URL? Subject line?

This forum, orchestral mic(s) or sumthing, here is the essence:

Brucks sputnik however is a square frame, probably 6 to 8 inches each
side with a cardiod at each corner, and thus 90 degrees between each and
every. Output is discrete 4 channel. I would probably not do it quite
like that, imo it is possibly better to have all 4 cards on the same
cross-bar.

The modern version would be to use 5 cards on a ring at most 1 foot in
diamater, probably as small as can be - ie. so that the XLR plugs touch
in the center, it can not be smaller. Perhaps even with a central omni
for bass only. Just an idea, not tested, a paraphrase over a DPA
suggestion for deploying omnis ....


More comments later, no time right now ...


Kind regards

Peter Larsen


--
*******************************************
* My site is at: http://www.muyiovatki.dk *
* The Vienna Copyright convention applies *
*******************************************
Anonymous
June 26, 2005 7:06:42 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

> This forum, orchestral mic(s) or sumthing, here is the essence:
>
> Brucks sputnik however is a square frame, probably 6 to 8 inches each
> side with a cardiod at each corner, and thus 90 degrees between each and
> every. Output is discrete 4 channel. I would probably not do it quite
> like that, imo it is possibly better to have all 4 cards on the same
> cross-bar.
>
> The modern version would be to use 5 cards on a ring at most 1 foot in
> diamater, probably as small as can be - ie. so that the XLR plugs touch
> in the center, it can not be smaller. Perhaps even with a central omni
> for bass only. Just an idea, not tested, a paraphrase over a DPA
> suggestion for deploying omnis ....
>
>
> More comments later, no time right now ...
>

I see. That configuration appears to be ergonomically-based, rather than
inter-aurally-based. I chose the 17cm spacing to retain the dimensions of
the ear-to-ear spacing of human heads. Both configurations are similar in
other respects.
I'm busy editing the second half of the concert now. I have to edit in audio
clips that the conductor played as part of the introductions to musical
interludes, as well as slides he used. Many tracks of a/v material coming
together as one program. About 14 audio channels in all, with the house mix
feed and camera audio included.


--
Best Regards,

Mark A. Weiss, P.E.
www.mwcomms.com
-
Anonymous
June 26, 2005 11:19:43 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Mark & Mary Ann Weiss wrote:

[quoting me]

>> Brucks sputnik however is a square frame, probably 6 to 8 inches
>> each side with a cardiod at each corner, and thus 90 degrees
>> between each and every. Output is discrete 4 channel. I would
>> probably not do it quite like that, imo it is possibly better
>> to have all 4 cards on the same cross-bar.

>> The modern version would be to use 5 cards on a ring at most
>> 1 foot in diamater, probably as small as can be - ie. so that
>> the XLR plugs touch in the center, it can not be smaller.
>> Perhaps even with a central omni for bass only. Just an idea,
>> not tested, a paraphrase over a DPA suggestion for deploying omnis ....

> I see. That configuration appears to be ergonomically-based,
> rather than inter-aurally-based.

Yes, practicalities matter, but it is in fact based on the paper "The
Stereophonic Zoom" (around 1983) by Williams.

> I chose the 17cm spacing to retain the dimensions of
> the ear-to-ear spacing of human heads.

Reading that paper will alter your understanding of stereo and it was
because of having read it I included also the larger base circle as a
suggestion, even if somewhat impractical as seen from a locationists
point of view. The concept being that it might be that the
de-correlation between front L, C and R would otherwise be too small.

> Both configurations are similar in other respects.

Yes, which is why I found your concept most interesting. While searching
for that Williams paper I found another one:

http://iem.kug.ac.at/%7Esontacchi/2001/page/surround/wi...

and then of course there is the DPA compendium, it may be available on
their site. They played an interesting recording of a drumkit made with
omni's on a hula-hop ring at the AES event mentioned.

> Mark A. Weiss, P.E.


Kind regards

Peter Larsen

--
*******************************************
* My site is at: http://www.muyiovatki.dk *
*******************************************
Anonymous
June 27, 2005 11:14:28 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

> Yes, practicalities matter, but it is in fact based on the paper "The
> Stereophonic Zoom" (around 1983) by Williams.
>
> > I chose the 17cm spacing to retain the dimensions of
> > the ear-to-ear spacing of human heads.
>
> Reading that paper will alter your understanding of stereo and it was
> because of having read it I included also the larger base circle as a
> suggestion, even if somewhat impractical as seen from a locationists
> point of view. The concept being that it might be that the
> de-correlation between front L, C and R would otherwise be too small.
>
> > Both configurations are similar in other respects.
>
> Yes, which is why I found your concept most interesting. While searching
> for that Williams paper I found another one:
>
> http://iem.kug.ac.at/%7Esontacchi/2001/page/surround/wi...
>
> and then of course there is the DPA compendium, it may be available on
> their site. They played an interesting recording of a drumkit made with
> omni's on a hula-hop ring at the AES event mentioned.
>


Thank you for the interesting whitepaper. Information, ideas and theoretical
concepts are the food for experimentation.

I have a new clip of an indoor recording, which addresses some of the issues
talked about earlier in this thread.

This particular session was recorded at the Danbury Music Center, a former
100 year old library with nice vaulted ceilings and pleasing acoustics,
remeniscent of the radio orchestra settings of the late 1950s.

You'll hear a lot of incidental noises, like talking, because this is a
rehearsal and the orchestra members are taking notes and asking eachother
questions.

Recording setup is 6 Behringer B-1 large diaphragm condenser mics and a Mark
of the Unicorn 896, 8-channel, 96KHz, 24-bit A/D converter with individual
phantom-powered mic preamps. DAW is a Sony laptop computer running Vegas 4.0
multitrack software.

This MP3 clip was from the second rehearsal, June 17th. I managed to get
them to turn off the a/c for the first 56 minutes and we got some nice
audio! This is just a sample of the Left Front and Right Front mic channels,
for a basic stereo recording:

http://www.dv-clips.com/MP3/magnificent_seven_44khz_nor...


--
Best Regards,

Mark A. Weiss, P.E.
www.mwcomms.com
-
!