Yamaha and Dante
When it came to mixing and routing the many channels of audio that Martin knew would be required, he only had one choice - Yamaha and Dante.
“We chose Dante because of its flexibility,” he says. “I realised it would be a very creative process to put everything in place once we were on site, because we wouldn’t necessarily have the information we needed up front. We had to be able to react at short notice to the production demands. Dante would allow that, because it only needs a click of a mouse to change something quickly and reliably.”
The audio production featured two parallel Dante networks - one for the live audio inputs to the audio mixers and from them to the PA, with the second for playback of backing tracks, live recording and virtual soundchecking.
Martin also spoke to Arthur Koll of Yamaha Music Europe to discuss how to achieve his aims using Yamaha RIVAGE PM digital mixing systems. “The advantages of RIVAGE PM were the sound quality, flexibility and the high channel count available on Dante - here we had 288 inputs on each system,” says Martin. “Another was that Yamaha has worked with Dante for years, so there is a high degree of integration between the two. And with these advantages also came great reliability. With Yamaha we knew exactly what we would get.”
For 2019, the organising committee wanted to work with a single dry hire material provider, with French group Dushow winning the tender. In April 2019 Dushow’s Swiss partner Hyperson SA hosted an in-depth technical seminar for the audio crew, with Yamaha’s Andy Cooper, Delphine Hannotin and Jean-Pierre Decollogny also training engineers on the RIVAGE PM systems. Also in April part of the crew travelled to Dushow’s Paris Roissy premises where a full audio network buildup and test took place.
Martin’s choice of three Yamaha RIVAGE PM10 and six PM7s was a practical answer to dealing with over a thousand singers and musicians across five stages.
“I wanted the mix engineers to be controlling the sound at all times and it’s important that if an engineer moves a fader, he hears what he is doing. Five stages meant that I needed five engineers, so we put a RIVAGE PM7 on each one, with a second PM7 on the main stage,” he says.
“However, the sheer number of inputs - including 324 channels of wireless microphones - meant that pre-mixing was essential to reduce the individual workloads. So I included two RIVAGE PM10s for mixing the choirs and a third PM10 for mixing the brass band. The premixed stems were then routed to the PM7s, where the engineers mixed them with the live signals from each stage.
“Having multiple PM7s also gave us a failsafe,” he adds. “We set it up so that each one and its engineer acted as a backup for the one to the left. If there was any problem, the backup could take over.”
Yamaha Rio3224-D2 I/O units were installed with each PM7, used as distributed microphone preamps and as system outputs to in-ear monitoring transmitters and the distributed loudspeaker system.
“The idea was to reduce the workload for the mix engineers, so they could really concentrate on the overall sound from each stage,” confirms head of premixes Julien Fehlmann. “We acted as ‘reducers’, also sending stems to broadcasters.”
It was the first show on a RIVAGE PM10 system for former touring engineer Julien, but he was impressed at how familiar it is for engineers used to other Yamaha digital mixers. “It was really reassuring that the layout is so familiar. With PM10 you are in known territory, which it makes it much faster to learn. In my touring years I used a lot of products, but Yamaha was always the most reliable. With so many inputs and outputs on a complex show like this, the reliability made us that bit more relaxed.”