November 27th – Shanghai Marlins 3-3 Century Park

The pristine pitch at Century Park continued to be treated like a dictator’s palace with Shanghai Marlins once again forced to get changed on the wrong side of the fence. The squelchy conditions made it even more frustrating for Steve Fishwick’s men as basic sportsmanship and etiquette continue to be ignored in favour of (insert valid reason here) by the Century Park hierarchy.

Following the surprising defeat two-weeks ago, Fishwick was searching for a term coined by  the ugliest man in football (Iain Dowie) bouncebackability. The Marlins’ manager just wasn’t expecting it to be displayed on more than one occasion during the game.

Unfortunately for the Man City lover and Man Utd hater, his squad diminished during the course of the week due to work commitments, injuries and illness. This resulted in a squad of 15 players which included the slightly injured duo of Jon Banks and Dale ‘Ginger Chaser’ Johnson as well as two new recruits, Côme Doleac and Tom Elsden.

Prior to kick-off, Fishwick reminded his players to keep their heads even if they concede. Within the first 15-minutes, that request was very much tested.

It was a steady start to proceedings as Century Park passed the ball back and forth across their backline until it reached growth-spurt 2000 for a long ball into the channels. That tactic essentially led to their two goals that for Shanghai Marlins, felt undeserved.

After the second goal, Banksy had to come off such was the extent of his hamstring injury and cue the respectfully aggressive entrance of Dave Watson.

With a little over half an hour played, Wilson Scott latched on to James Moss’ ball before drilling home from a difficult angle.

At 2-1, the Marlins were very much in the tie but the unwelcoming home side restored their two-goal advantage with around five-minutes of the half remaining.

Another body blow that would knock most teams out like one of Jamie Gerrard’s doomed opponents. But Shanghai Marlins aren’t like most teams, a simple check of their fashion sense on a Saturday night and narrow range of vocabulary would confirm that. And despite half-time fast approaching, they still managed to once again reduce the deficit.

Mossy – the man who chins TVs, often by accident – was played in over the top by Andrei Ghicu before dragging his shot past the keeper.

At half-time the score was 3-2 to Century Park. Fishwick maintained the positivity, keen not to lose the momentum Mossy’s goal brought with it.

That momentum was increased a somewhat over five minutes into the second period following a clear foul on debutant Doleac.

One of Century Park’s more experienced players reacted by manhandling the referee which warranted a straight red card. Suddenly the game was evened up as Century Park could ill-afford to try and maintain possession for quite as long as they did when they had 11 men on the field.

From then on, Shanghai Marlins pressed for an equaliser while Century Park looked for a quicker route to their pacey wingers on the counter.

Despite the pressure, the Marlins were foiled by some good goalkeeping as Gui Leclerq, Elsden and Jamie Lally were all denied the much sought-after equaliser.

Amongst all the chaos of the second half, Marlins’ keeper, Johnson, pulled up with a calf-injury that restricted his kicking ability throughout the game. Banksy took responsibility and got suited up to fill his own shoes that Johnson was wearing. The Scouser has performed the sort of retreat this season that’s commonly associated with Wayne Rooney’s hairline and any French Army.

As time was running out, Mossy played a long ball into Century Park’s penalty box. Pete Rosselli tried to get a flick on and in doing so put off the keeper’s attempted punch. The ball fell kindly for Elsden who capped his debut with a coolly taken goal to draw the scores level.

The Marlins’ tails were up, as they could sense a dramatic winner was on the cards. Sadly, the referee had other ideas as he added one-minute of injury-time despite the fact that it took several to calm things down during the sending off, a few to replace Johnson in goal and countless substitutions by both sides.

Alas, the final whistle blew and both teams had to settle for a point. Century Park would be pleased to have held on given they were down to 10 men for the majority of the second half. Shanghai Marlins, meanwhile, can take great pride in not only bouncing back from their last game against Lions, but also responding twice to being two-goals down against the team that had yet to concede until this match.

Naturally, the boys in blue would have wanted the win but there’s more than just the points to take from this game. Shanghai Marlins are back on track as they enter the Christmas break to get positively Neil Ruddock…drunk and overweight.

Men of the Match: Dan Griffiths and Tom Ryan put in solid defensive displays throughout the game and deservedly shared the honour as voted by their teammates.

What’s The Earpiece Performers Put On Whilst Performing

Every time a singer gets on stage, he or she wants to put on his/her best performance ever. This is why he/she will try to avoid any distraction that might otherwise affect his or her performance in a negative way. They will ensure that their concentration is really high and that they can hear themselves sing during that moment. One of the distractions that is usually in almost every concert is noise. The noise can be coming from the speakers, the echoes and even form the audience itself.

The music and the song that is normally heard when a singer is performing is referred to as house mix while the song that the singer hears from the speakers is referred to as monitor mix. Usually, a singer stands at the back of the main speakers that are normally placed in front of the audience. Most of the time especially on a big stage, the song that reaches the audience is reflected back to the stage (but not immediately). Such background music will prevent the singer from hearing his or her voice.

Stage monitors are small speakers that are directly aimed at the singer for him or her to hear himself or herself sing. Stage monitors were previously used in concerts and they are still being used on some small venues where cover bands do gigs e.g. in some private parties, bars etc. In the current concert venues, stage monitors do not work very well. This is because singers and musicians move a lot on stage when they are performing. Although the stage monitors enable the singer to hear the music on the stage, they are not as clear as personal monitors (referred to as earpieces, very different to Radio Earpieces).

Earpieces give the singer a detailed information regarding his or her performance. They make him/her hear both the song and the orchestra. They enable the singer to constantly hear his/her song regardless of his or her physical movement on the stage. This is unlike the stage monitors that usually provide the band’s and the singer’s voice based on their distance from the speaker. With stage monitors, the sounds usually vary especially if the singer is moving all over the stage.

When a singer has the earpieces on, he gets to choose what he wants to hear. For instance if he wants to hear himself sing or even hear the lyrics, he can. The earpieces help in drowning out the background sounds like the noises made by the crowd or even those from the band. In fact on average, the earpieces can help the singer reduce the background noise by up to 30 decibels. This can extremely help the singer during the performance.

Usually, the earpieces are tailor- made to perfectly fit the singer. They also come in different styles and colors and therefore the singer can pick the one that suits his/her outfit on the stage.

The most important benefit of having the earpieces on is that, they help the singer in eliminating or reducing the echoes. In an auditorium specifically built for concerts, sounds usually radiate through the entire building when the singer is performing. The audience really enjoy the music that echoes back to the stage however, the singer can easily get confused with such echoes. Note that, by the time the echo reaches the stage, it will be one or two seconds off from what the singer is singing at that moment.

Earpieces also help in blocking the sounds that are coming from the band. The instruments are extremely loud especially those that use electric amplifiers. This noise can make it really hard for the singer to hear himself or herself sing.

The earpieces give the singer the sound feedback and therefore he/she is able to hear everything that is in the song. This makes it easier for him/her to keep on with his or her performance.

Sometimes, you may notice that some garage bands who work in small areas are not using earpieces. The members of such bands usually monitor one another while performing to ensure that they keep up and stay in tune during the performance. However in large crowds of say a 100000 people (i.e. in huge stadiums), one will definitely need earpieces otherwise he/she may not hear anything and may even end up with off key sounds.

How Many Walkie-Talkies Can Operate on the Same Channel?

Theoretically, you can use an unlimited amount of walkie-talkies on the same channel (although in practice you might experience a few problems if you took that suggestion literally). Basically, there isn’t really a set limit. You could use as many as you like provided they are set up correctly. Anybody set to the right channel and in range at the time of transmission would then be able to pick up the signal and respond to it.

Most radios have access to 8 channels. These channels each have 38 separate ‘identification tones’. The user sets his/her channel up with the desired tone and then only other users who know the channel/tone will be able to hear the transmissions. As a result, there are, in any given area, about 304 different combinations, so signal interference is unlikely to affect you.

Please do not interpret this answer as saying that your radio has access to 304 possible channels. It does not. It will likely only have access to 8. Some less reputable manufacturers tend to falsely imply access to 304 channels; this is simply not the case. You will have access to 304 possible tone/channel combinations, that’s all.

To better explain the CTCSS codes and how they work; we’ll include a little information from’s FAQ page.

“CTCSS stands for “Continuous Tone Coded Squelch System”. These codes are also often called “Privacy codes” If a CTCSS tone is selected; a CTCSS sub-audible tone is transmitted along with the regular voice audio by the transmitting radio. The receiving radio, set to the same CTCSS tone, will only receive audio if it contains that sub-tone. Interference from other users on the same frequency is therefore rejected (unless they are also on the same sub-tone). This is a way of allowing groups of users of walkie-talkies on the same channel to avoid hearing messages from other nearby users”.

So, in conclusion, you can probably use as many walkie-talkies as you like on the same channel. As long as the units in question are of the same type (either VHF or UHF) and have the same CTCSS setup, then you simply shouldn’t have a problem. You also shouldn’t suffer from signal interference due to other users (although you may still experience signal loss/interference/degradation from other sources). We have talked about combating signal loss elsewhere, so please see the other questions if you have any problems in this area.

November 13th – Shanghai Marlins 1-7 Lions

It’s just like watching Brazil

As Shanghai Marlins arrived at Waigaoqiao in dribs and drabs, they were welcomed by a surprisingly warm Sunday afternoon despite it being mid-November. Unfortunately, that wouldn’t be the only surprise of the day as they took on reigning champions, Lions.

The hour leading up to the 2 p.m. kick-off saw a variety of transports used to arrive at the pitch at equally varying times. James Moss cut it tightest with a dart around the enthralling cricket match with just a few minutes to spare.

Manager, Steve Fishwick, had a total of 15 players to choose from which was pleasing given the number of absentees that forced a slight reshuffle of the pack.

Having seen Lions drop two-points against Japan a fortnight ago, the Marlins knew this was an opportunity to extend the gap between them and their rivals.

The opening stages were scrappy and there was no opportunity for any fluency as the referee impersonated a traffic warden with the big boss in town, fully equipped with a new shiny whistle. The frequent and often unnecessary stoppages (advantage and contact is allowed in football) were mutually unappreciated by both sides.

But on the half hour mark, the Marlins broke the deadlock thanks to one of the few passing moves of the game. Michael McGirr found himself in the pocket of space between the Lions midfield and defence which allowed the white feather to slip a pass for Pete Rosselli towards the right channel. The lanky forward had temporarily lost his marker and with both vocal and physical support from Wilson Scott who was making a run through the middle. Rosselli back heeled a first time pass for the Bearded Magician to curl his shot from the edge of the area. The Lions keeper couldn’t get a strong enough hand onto the effort as it bounced over the line to give the Marlins the lead.

There were few clear chances during the first period but Shanghai Marlins looked the more threatening in the final third and deservedly led at half-time.

Fishwick, whilst pleased with the general performance and score line, wanted more intensity from the boys in blue, citing a flatness that isn’t common for this particular fixture.

The start of the second half saw Marlins threaten to double their lead through set-pieces with the Lions keeper often caught out of position. But less than ten minutes after the break, Lions were level.

A corner to the far-post was headed in from point-blank range and that triggered a monumental shift in momentum.

A few minutes later, Lions took the lead with a well-struck shot to the far corner. A couple of minutes after that, it was 3-1 when a lunged volley (might be a thing) drifted into the far top corner.

Shanghai Marlins were shell-shocked at the transformation but with half an hour remaining and a less than convincing Lions backline, there was still time to make a comeback.

But despite a couple of near misses that would have made the game interesting, another lapse of concentration saw Lions score a fourth then a fifth with 75-minutes gone.

It became a matter of restoring some pride but as a team, that didn’t materialise. Those wearing blue shirts may as well have been cones as their opponents showed their ruthless streak to claim two more goals and run out emphatic winners.

Ironically, the Marlins found themselves desperate for the frequently blown whistle to bring an end to proceedings. It’s a first, and hopefully last, capitulation for a team often associated with battling until the end and always competing.

There was little that could be said apart from Fishwick correctly pointing out that if the players aren’t willing to put the effort in then neither is he.

Things nearly got from bad to worse when Mossy thought he’d lost his phone and some of the players had left the kit and balls in a taxi. But just before Mossy was about to put on the waterworks, his phone was found after it was handed to reception by a good citizen. The taxi driver showed his virtuous side by returning to Blue Marlin with the kit and balls, refusing Simon Moore’s offer of 100rmb as a thank you by instead requesting one of the balls such is his love for the game.

The positives didn’t end there as the majority of the squad displayed its famous team spirit by heading back to Blue Marlin for a much needed drink. The upcoming get together will also provide another opportunity for rebuilding bridges and strengthening team unity ahead of their next fixture against much fancied Century Park on 27th November.

Until then, the Marlins have some time to dust themselves down and decide whether this match paralyses or galvanises. How they respond to this setback will determine whether the league is lost or won.

Motorola Solutions CTO: Public Safety Will Be Transformed By Data-Driven Communications

The good old walkie talkie will still have a place in most businesses, but Motorola being a technology company they are always innovating, they are underpinning their future communications on data, currently date networks cannot cope with this but as the technology grows, Motorola will be able to produce handsets, motorola accessories and communications that will seamlessly use this without any problem, we look forward to the future. 

Motorola Solutions CTO Paul Steinberg explains how data and enhanced communications can make cities safer – even if they’re not smart just yet

As CTO of Motorola Solutions (MSI), Paul Steinberg says he has three broad remits.

paul-steinberg-motorolaThe first is to advance the company’s technology with his team of engineers and data scientists, the second is to drive its patent strategy (“What patents we get and what we do with them”) and the third is to invest in startups so MSI can get access to something it doesn’t have.

“It keeps you humble because there’s always someone else doing things faster and better than you,” he tells TechWeekEurope.

Public safety

Motorola Solutions now only deals with public safety communications systems. It was spun off from the Motorola Mobility handset business that was sold to Google (and later Lenovo) in 2011 and sold its handheld computing division to Zebra Technologies in 2014.

This might seem like a very narrow focus but it’s a market in which the present day Motorola senses a great opportunity as emergency services update their infrastructure to improve service and cut cost.

In the UK, MSI is working with EE to help deliver the £1 billion Emergency Services Network (ESN) – a 4G platform that will allow for data-enabled services alongside critical communications – and save the government £1 million a day

These upgrades will power what MSI sees as the big trend in public safety: the coupling of communications with data analytics, a vision it recently outlined at Critical Communications World (CCW) in Amsterdam.

“[Mission critical communications are] every bit as important as they have been and we expect [them] to be tomorrow,” explains Steinberg.

“Mission critical intelligence brings in connecting things – data. It becomes more about context and situational awareness. The investments we’re making are more in that direction.

“One of the things we’ve been working on is the connected first responder. What we did was we built a context engine that’s at the heart.”EE 4G (3)

Context engine

The ‘context engine’ built by MSI brings together various different inputs. For example, Bluetooth connectivity can unite weapons, body sensors and imaging equipment to give a police force a greater overview of a situation.

Steinberg explains a scenario where if the context engine detects a weapon has been fired and a policeman is not at a station or at a firing range, their video camera will automatically switch on. Other situations could give a paramedic of firefighter additional information, possibly through wearable technology.

“Why did we do the Context engine? ‘Eyes open, hands free’: keep focussed on what you’re doing and keep your hands available to do what you need to do,” said Steinberg.

“We envisage this working as an ecosystem with well-designed interfaces around the core context engine. We see ecosystem partners offering applications and hardware. And some pieces of those we will offer as Motorola. We see it increasingly as a software problem.”

Connected platform


Steinberg favours acquisitions as a way of advancing his goals and MSI has venture capital operations to fund the third part of his remit. MSI monitors the development of numerous early stage companies with a view to boosting its own business.

Motorola Solutions public safety (3)“[Takeovers] give us technology or a skillset that we can’t do properly [ourselves],” he explains. “If the concept looks like it has legs, that’s when we make the decision. In some cases we don’t proceed.”

Sometimes the target is more established. MSI has bought Airwave for £817 million, a move which it is believed will help accelerate the transition to next generation systems. Airwave currently powers the pre-ESN communications capability of the UK emergency services and Steinberg sees the acquisition as a method to migrate customers rather than innovate.

“It brings us another data point but it doesn’t really change how my team works,” he says. “It’s a company that helps us ensure we have an orderly migration.”

Smart cities and smart vehicles

MSI says the Context Engine and its vision of data-supported communications will be strengthened by the parallel development of smart cities; even if it’s too early to have any impact right now. Steinberg describes ‘shotspotter’ technology capable of detecting when and where a gunshot is fired, aiding emergency services, and believes smart cars will also play a role.

“I think as the city becomes smarter, we can benefit from the environment,” he predicts. “We can fuse that together and help facilitate real time decision making. The next mobile platform is the vehicle. I think that will create some interesting opportunities for us.”

But the very nature of emergency services means technological jumps are not to be taken lightly. A technical hiccup can mean the matter between life and death and although political reasons might have delayed the transition to LTE, concerns about reliability will have played a role too.

Steinberg agrees and is adamant that no matter what advances are made, MSI will not jeopardise the basics.

“The foundation of our business is communications and it always will be,” he states. “Making sure our platform is resilient, usable and mission critical in harsh environments while layering on this intelligence.”


October 30th – Shanghai Marlins 12-0 Galacticos

Steve Fishwick’s Shanghai Marlins ventured to Waigaoqiao to take on Galacticos in their fourth game of the season.

There was mild concern that the Marlins would be low on numbers due to absentees and suspensions. Fortunately, it was just another case of Captain Banksy miscalculating, much like he does when ordering post-match drinks or measuring his penis. He means cm not inches.

The 16 players (eventually) provided Fishwick with the luxury of squad rotation for a match his side were odds on favourites to win, even with Dave Watson deputising like a Geordie Claudio Bravo for the cat-napping, digital-watch illiterate, Dale Johnson.

Johnson’s need for an early afternoon snooze forced Adam Christy and Dan Griffiths to arrive at the pitch with little time to warm-up, or in Dan’s case, prepare his latest Ryan Gosling look.

It was the first time the boys in blue had played at Waigaoqiao and the field was far from conducive to the style of football the Marlins like to play, which only Banksy is fully aware of.

With Banksy and Tom Ryan displaying their team spirit and babysitting skills on the sidelines due to their one-match suspensions, the game got underway.

It wasn’t long until Jamie Lally opened the scoring with a left-foot drive that was too hot to handle for the Galacticos keeper.

Around 10-minutes later, Peter Rosselli converted Lally’s cut-back following a surging run down the right. Rosselli’s shot managed to find a gaping hole in the roof of the net but with assured conviction and a reputation for not being a bell-end, he made his way back to the halfway line as a sign to the referee that it 100% went in.

Shanghai Marlins had to wait a little longer before Steven Fong opened his Marlins’ account with a penalty which he had won despite his best efforts to excuse the defender’s clumsy challenge.

New daddy, Tony Love, came on to score a brace before half-time with two close-range efforts, but disappointingly, no Bebeto cradle celebration.

At half-time, Fishwick encouraged a faster tempo when possible having earlier alluded to players not just going for the glory goal. Johnson got excited until he realised the Gaffer had said “goal”, not “hole.”

Soon after the break, Lally doubled his tally for the match with a deflected effort that fellow Scouser, Banksy, was keen to note as an own-goal. The chance was set-up by Gui Leclerq but instigated by Griffiths’ (Gosling’s) cheeky back heel.

Wilson Scott, with boots that wouldn’t look out of place at a Saturday Night Fever themed party, went clear down the right channel and slotted past the onrushing keeper.

James Moss – who had hit the post during the first half – made it lucky number eight (Chinese reference, culture vulture) with a lob that peaked at 7-feet off the ground. The keeper’s suspect positioning and handling skills ensured Mossy added to his season’s tally of three.

Man of the match Lally would go on to complete his hat-trick by rounding the keeper after capitalising on a defender’s inability to clear Rosselli’s through ball.

Scott then finished off one of the goals of the game to make it 10. Leclerq had been longing for a Hollywood assist throughout the second half and the Bearded Magician duly obliged when his well-timed run, allowed him to barrel chest the inch-perfect 40-yard ball and open up the goal for a tap in with the keeper left stranded.

Mossy got his brace for the day after finishing a move that saw Leclerq and Scott combine around the Galacticos penalty area.

With several minutes of the game remaining and Johnson enjoying a quiet second half in goal, Lally couldn’t help but get into an argument. However, for once it wasn’t with himself. The forward didn’t take too kindly to what he perceived as unnecessary complaints when a tall and slim Galacticos player suggested to the referee that Lally had trodden on his foot. The words, “F**k off you lanky twat,” naturally saw Rosselli’s ears prick up, only to realise the phrase wasn’t directed at him for a change.

Not to be outdone by Lally’s jealous potty-mouth, Leclerq had the final say with the last kick of the game by providing a real thunderbastard from 25-yards out. The Frenchman was getting increasingly frustrated with his shooting throughout the second period but channelled that anger into a shot that three keepers – three of this keeper anyway – couldn’t stop. The ball flew into the top-right stanchion. Blink and you’d have thought it hit the bar. Both teams gasped as the referee brought proceedings to an end.

The comfortable win might not have fully tested the Marlins but they’d be glad to get more minutes on the pitch together ahead of a crunch game against reigning champions, Lions, in two-weeks.

October 16th – Shanghai Marlins 6-1 Krauts

After a break for the National Holidays, Steve Fishwick’s Shanghai Marlins took on their sponsor rivals, Krauts, at the Jinqiao pitch in their third game of the season.

Determined to come out of the traps early on and utilise his squad of 15, Fishwick opted for an anti-Mourinho (attacking) line-up that would go on to stamp its authority on proceedings.

James Moss opened the scoring following a one-two with Peter Rosselli before beating the Krauts’ keeper from the angle. It was Moss’ first goal for the Marlins and the start of what would turn out to be a very good game for the young Englishman.

Soon after, Jamie Lally capitalised on a goalkeeping error that not only doubled the Marlins’ lead but also forced the bizarre substitution of Krauts’ keeper who was understandably far from impressed by the decision. The disgruntled goalie had spilt Tom Ryan’s in-swinging cross allowing Lally to open his account for the season with a diving header.

Moments later, the Krauts clawed one back as they were able to create a chance from one of their many attempted counter-attacks down the wings. Their centre-midfielder halved the deficit as he struck his shot into the corner following a pull-back from the left.

Not to panic like Dale Johnson receiving a bill, Shanghai Marlins once again built up from the back and looked to get in behind their opponents’ full-backs with some neat interchanges in the attacking third. Lally managed to work his way down the right before cutting back onto his left and clipping a cross into the box. Rosselli, having held his run, headed into the corner from close-range to restore his side’s two-goal cushion.

The game’s first flashpoint arrived with around half an hour gone when Ryan and a Krauts winger clashed after the former had played a pass out wide. Referee, Kevin Doherty, sent both players off for violent conduct, reducing the teams to ten men.

Despite the adjusted formation, the Marlins still controlled the game and were close to extending their lead on several occasions. The only threat from their opposition came from a pacey winger who wasn’t quick enough to beat Marlins’ keeper Johnson when a long ball was played over the top.

Unfortunately, the Marlins lost midfielder Ash Reid as he pulled up with a ruptured Achilles’ tendon that has ruled him out for six months. It was a blow for the boys in blue with the midfield producing a very composed, balanced and solid display up until that point.

Minutes later, Moss nearly doubled his tally with a delicate chip having collected a loose ball on the edge of the box. Only the crossbar denied his best impression of Phillippe Albert but he wouldn’t be denied for long.

Andrei Ghicu was regularly involved throughout and provided the assist for Moss to break the Krauts’ backline before beating the keeper to the ball and eventually scoring into an empty net.

Half-time came and only one team wanted to stop.

The second period was much the same as the Marlins probed and probed in search of another goal. There was still the threat of a counter-attack, particularly down the Krauts’ right, but the back four, which included Peter Roberts filling in at left-back like a Welsh James Milner, was well-organised.

Although, one break through the middle saw captain Jon Banks commit a professional foul which left the Doherty no choice but to award him a second yellow card reducing the Marlins to nine men. Probably wasn’t a coincidence that two Scousers were sent off on the eve of a Liverpool v Man Utd match. Although this game was definitely more exciting.

In spite of the numerical advantage, the Marlins were still a threat in attack and a fifth arrived when Ghicu received the ball from Carl Edwards on the left-wing, and delivered a cross that should come with a kleenex warning to the back stick for Jamie Gerrard. The ever-running Ironman rose like a salmon to head back across goal, leaving the substitute keeper stranded.

It wasn’t long after that when man of the match Moss deservedly completed his hat-trick after racing through on goal thanks to a well-timed run and an even better ball over the top by Ghicu. Moss showed great composure to coolly slot past the keeper and bring an end to the game’s scoring.

The Marlins extended their 100% run ahead of their next match which is in two-weeks’ time against Galacticos. That’s then followed up with a double-header against reigning champions Lions and last season’s runners-up, Century Park in what will be two competitive and exciting fixtures.

The following is a link to James Moss’ hat trick sealing goal:


DJs Shouldn’€™t Have to Live With Constant Ringing in Their Ears

When you think about DJs you don’t worry about their hearing, but this is a real issue in the music world, they seem to be slow in picking up this issue, probably because the industry can be full of bedroom DJs, that don’t consider hearing protection. As the article below says, it interferes with the mixing. This article was originally published on THUMP Canada. 

I’m waiting to get my hearing tested and I’m scared. Most of my work as a music journalist, along with my social life, has revolved around loud music for more than two decades. While I often wear cheap foam earplugs, I haven’t been as consistent as I should have been, and I’m particularly worried about is the damage I’ve done while DJing.

I was never a famous touring DJ, but spent many years playing long shifts on a weekly basis at Toronto bars, sprinkled with occasional club and warehouse party gigs on larger sound systems. I’ve never worn any hearing protection in the booth, as I found earplugs interfered too much with mixing. Gradually I’ve noticed that I’ve been turning up the monitors over the course of a long night, and the ringing in my ears was taking longer and longer to fade away after each gig. A few years ago, I started to realize I was having trouble keeping up with conversations in situations where there was a lot of background noise.

Then one day that familiar ringing never stopped.

Even though hearing loss caused by loud music is a well-known reality, most working artists view it as an issue they’ll deal with when they’re retired, not aware of the fact that it can often impact artists at the height of their careers.

“I would go home after a gig and my ears would be ringing really badly, and then one day I noticed that they never stopped ringing anymore,” says Toronto house DJ and producer Sydney Blu, who’s been playing regularly since 2000. “Not long after that, I noticed that whenever I’m in a nightclub and someone talks to me in my right ear, I have to stop them and put my left ear to their mouth.”

She eventually got herself fitted for custom musician earplugs, but found she could never get used to DJing while wearing them. Instead, Blu just tries to keep her monitors as quiet as possible, and turns them down completely in-between mixes. “Most of the older DJs that I know all have tinnitus. I wish I had thought about it earlier, and realized how bad it could get.”

There is no way to reverse tinnitus currently, and the treatment options for hearing loss are still in their infancy. For busy DJs who are constantly touring and playing festivals around the world, many don’t notice the ringing in their ears getting worse until it’s too late.

“I think it’s rife in the DJ field,” says NYC house music veteran Roger Sanchez. “A lot of people have tinnitus and they haven’t even identified it. They’re just so accustomed to their ears ringing, and they think it’s just because of their gig the night before. But if you’re playing three or four times a week, your exposure is almost constant. Then when they step back, they realize they have tinnitus.”

Sanchez has been performing for 36 years, and started to experience permanent ringing towards the end of the 90s. Like Blu, he got himself fitted for custom earplugs, and feels they’ve saved him from further damage. However, he admits there was a learning curve when it came to mixing while wearing hearing protection.

“In the beginning, I felt like I couldn’t hear things clearly. It was like someone had put their hands over my ears. It took me a while to acclimate, but what I started noticing was that I could turn my monitors up, but it didn’t sound piercing any more. I also had them put bass bins in a lot of booths, which helped compensate.”

Sanchez says that it’s become much more common in recent years for big name DJs to wear custom earplugs while performing. He finally got tested properly in 2010, and found there was a significant dip in upper range of his hearing around the 800hz range, but was relieved that the loss wasn’t worse. The persistent ringing in his ears is still there though.

“Right now I hear the ringing, but I’ve just become accustomed to it. I don’t notice it when I’m walking on the street, or if I’m not paying attention to it, but the second I quiet everything down, the ringing starts. It’s not too loud, thank god. I think using the filters prevented it from getting to that level. I know some people who have it very loud.”

Custom musician earplugs can cost more than $200, but they’re one of the few options for DJs who need to be able to accurately hear the effect of their EQ tweaks and filtering. The cheap disposable earplugs you can buy at the drugstore will protect your ears the same amount, but change the sound so much that few performers use them.

“A cheap foam earplug might bring the sound down by 25db at one frequency, and 10db at another,” explains Adam Rhodes, the US director of hearing protection company ACS Custom. “They muffle the sound, because it’s not a true response. You can’t hear anything, it takes away the enjoyment of the experience, so you just end up taking them out. When you’ve got the right filter though, you’re not sacrificing the quality at all: you’re just turning it down.”

ACS works with many of the biggest names in electronic music, from Tiesto to Zedd to Deadmau5. Rhodes says that there’s much more awareness of the issue now, although too often artists come to them after they’ve already done permanent damage. “Pretty much every week we hear someone say they wish they’d heard about this ten years ago. We hear that often,” he says. “I think it’s all about education. We’re at a festival every weekend in the summers, trying to make it as accessible to them as possible.”

Many touring musicians have switched to in-ear monitors in recent years, which block out external sounds, while amplifying what they need to hear. In the electronic music world however, they are far less common, as they require DJs to completely rethink their approach to mixing.

“In-ear monitors haven’t always worked for DJs,” admits Rhodes. “They like to wear the cans over their ears, so they can take them off, and do a mix with one ear covered. There are some DJs who use them though, like Deadmau5. We have one model now that have ambient microphones built in, so that they can still hear the mix. That’s kind of the next level, but it’s still hard to persuade DJs to use them. They’re so used to wearing headphones and it’s almost part of their outfit when they’re performing.”

One artist who has transitioned to in-ear monitors is Dutch DJ and producer Laidback Luke. He started wearing custom earplugs in the early 2000s, after becoming concerned about tinnitus and a growing lack of sensitivity to loud volume levels. Around 2008, he decided to give in-ear monitors a try and has used them ever since.

“I just wasn’t getting the definition I was looking for in DJ monitors. We tried the in-ear monitoring, and I was so happy with the clarity. Even in big halls with lots of reverb, my monitoring would always stay the same,” he says. “It was a revelation to me. I could keep the volume low, and still hear every little detail in the song. I couldn’t hear the crowd anymore, but that just made me work harder to get applause.” It wasn’t until three years ago that he finally got up the courage to get his hearing tested.

Thankfully, it turns out that his early adoption of ear protection had a huge impact, and the results were completely normal. Even the constant ringing and beeping that panicked him early in his career has subsided.

My own ringing isn’t nearly as bad as it was a year ago, but it sure seems loud in the complete silence of the soundproof booth in the downtown Toronto clinic where my hearing is being assessed. I struggle to hear the tones, but feel optimistic that I’m able to notice some of the very high-pitched signals they’re feeding me. However, I’m also noticing that there are long pauses during where I probably should be hearing something.

“Do you work with heavy machinery?” the doctor asks me as he looks at my results, which makes my heart skip a beat. When I explain that I’m around loud music constantly, he tells me that explains what the chart is telling him, and why the highest frequency range of my hearing is still decent.

“It’s not actually too bad. Your left ear has a dip at 1K, but it’s still within the normal range. Your right ear has a much larger dip though, at 4K. You should really get yourself a pair of custom musician earplugs.”

I leave his office feeling relief that my hearing isn’t worse, but embarrassed that it’s taken me this long to take it seriously. Thankfully, it’s not too late for me to stop things from getting worse.

Benjamin Boles is on Twitter.

Introducing Ursa Straps – the Perfect Addition to the Radio Microphone Box

Now it’s not the usual field that we cover, but it hit our radar. How many times have you seen an enthusiastic presenter or an excited contestant on TV drop their radio mic and crawl around on the floor, trying to pick it up! Well when a costume designer and a sound man get together then things get designed, and why this hasn’t be invented before is beyond us, but it looks like an idea that could take off. Read the full article here.

Sound recordist Simon Bysshe and costumier Laura Smith have combined their knowledge and expertise to create URSA Straps, a unique range of low profile body worn straps designed to conceal radio microphone transmitters.

Introducing Ursa Straps – the Perfect Addition to the Radio Microphone Box

Officially launched this month and now available in the UK and Europe, URSA Straps are made from a specially developed bonded fabric that is ultra-slim and provides excellent stretch, comfort and breathability. Each strap incorporates a pouch to keep the transmitter locked in place and a cable pocket for managing excess microphone cable. URSA Straps are available in black, beige and brown skin tone colours and can be worn around the ankle, thigh or waist.

Bysshe and Smith developed URSA Straps after listening to numerous artists express discomfort while wearing radio mic straps. Traditional thick neoprene or elastic straps can irritate the skin, become soaked in sweat and are often impossible to disguise under figure hugging costumes.

“It was obvious that a better way of discreetly securing transmitters was required,” Simon Bysshe explains. “As a boom operator I had worked with many artists who disliked wearing transmitter packs because their associated straps could restrict movement and become uncomfortable. In some cases they had simply refused to wear them.”

Laura Smith’s knowledge of costume making proved invaluable as she was able to construct prototypes and identify the exact fabrics required to suit the needs of costume, artists and sound departments.

“After many months of research we decided to create our own unique hybrid fabric by fusing two stretch fabrics together,” Bysshe explains. “This resulting fabric is just 1mm thick and much lighter and softer than any other fabric of its kind. Crucially we incorporated a hook Velcro compatible outer surface that allows the straps to be securely attached to themselves at any point.”

Introducing Ursa Straps – the Perfect Addition to the Radio Microphone Box

Bysshe tested the new straps while working on the second series of Sky Atlantic’s The Tunnel. Lead actress Clémence Poésy was an immediate convert and provided valuable feedback to help develop the product. Bysshe has subsequently used URSA Straps on the third series of Peaky Blinders. The USRA Thigh straps were particularly popular with the cast members who found them secure, light and comfortable. The fact they can be worn around the thigh as opposed to the waist made them invaluable for use with the period costumes.

“With URSA Straps we have created such a comfortable low-profile solution that artists often forget that they are wearing them. Now we have to make sure that actors remember to take them off before they leave!” Bysshe adds. “The straps can be washed and re-used every day for many months. Our Thigh straps are particularly popular as they are designed to not slip down the leg. We achieved this by bonding on a strips of Polyurethane gripper to the inside of the straps.”

Outside film and television, URSA Straps are also proving popular with dancers who need to receive audio cues during a live performance. Using waist or thigh straps the sound team can easily conceal a receiver pack on their bodies without restricting movement or compromising the look of their costumes. URSA Straps have also developed a Double-Pack strap allowing artists to wear two packs on one strap.

Oscar-winning production sound mixer Simon Hayes was an early adopter of URSA Straps and describes them as a total game changer for his team.

“URSA Straps allow us to rig radio mics on costumes previously thought to be unmicable. Tight dresses, sportswear, stunt harnesses – they can all be easily miked using low profile URSA Straps. These straps are so popular with the actresses I work with that many have asked to keep theirs at the end of the production.”

URSA Straps are suitable for a variety of wireless transmitters including Lectrosonics, Zaxcom, Wisycom MTP40 and Sennheiser 5212. Two different pouch sizes are available to ensure optimum fit. Three different waist sizes are available: small, medium and large.

“Initially Laura and I were making the straps by hand in our garage,” Bysshe says. “When we realised their potential we scaled up production by taking on two experienced manufacturing firms in Leicester. Our launch has been a huge success with orders coming in from all around the world! We are now on our third large production run and expanding our market into Theatre, Concerts and Outside Broadcasts.”

Hytera Awarded Multi Million Dollar Contracts in Dominican Republic

Hytera are the fastest growing radio country this year, they have opened offices all over the world and are taking market share from Motorola. When you look at their Hytera accessories, Chargers, repeaters, hand portables and base units they are of an excellent standard and quality. That is probably why the Dominican Republic was persuaded to use them for two big projects.

Hytera, a world leading solution provider of Professional Mobile Radio communications, was awarded two projects by the Ministry of the Presidency of Dominican Republic. In order to establish a nationwide emergency response network for National Emergency Care System and Security 9-1-1 (Sistema Nacional de Atención a Emergencias y Seguridad), Dominican Republic government selected TETRA (Terrestrial Trunked Radio) technology for mission critical communications, and launched two public tenders at the end of 2015; one is to cover two cities, Haina and San Cristobal, adjacent to the capital city Santo Domingo, with 5 sites and 528 terminals, while the other is to cover Santiago, the second largest city of the country, with 30 sites and 2,155 terminals.

The existing TETRA network in the Santo Domingo area was delivered also by Hytera as a result of a contract awarded by Dominican Republic’s Ministry of the Presidency in 2013. The project includes several components: the 911 system, a camera surveillance system and the communications infrastructure with its respective terminals which was awarded to Hytera. “The system in Santo Domingo offers reliable communication services to the public safety forces, and it is a very good testimony of Hytera’s solutions and supports,” said Fernando Camelo, regional director of Hytera international business.

“Dominican Republic government officials have spent a lot effort to choose the right technologies for its public safety forces. Obviously, TETRA has been widely adopted and proved. We are proud to be part of the initiative of building a united nationwide mission critical communication system for the country,” commented Ming Kam Wong, deputy general manager of Hytera international business.

The TETRA digital standard as a global open protocol provides secure, encrypted communications for mission critical operations as well as promoting a more efficient use of spectrum. More than 750 interoperability (IOP) certificates have been awarded to more than two dozen manufacturers by the TETRA + Critical Communications Association (TCCA), the governing body, globally, for the TETRA standard.

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