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Autre Canal (Nancy)


The concept of a "venue for contemporary music" is very fashionable in France at the moment. Many large and medium sized towns have provided venues holding several hundred people for national and international artists when on tour in France. Nancy has gone one better, with Autre Canal, by offering a whole complex for image and sound. At the heart of the installation are three PM5D consoles, six AD8HR, an EtherSound/Auvitran system and even a recording studio with a DM2000!

Autre Canal is a complex for contemporary music events located in Nancy, in eastern France. Specially purpose-built last year, 2500 m2 are dedicated to sound and images. There is a large concert hall with 1200 seats, a smaller one with 300 seats, a music bar (often featuring a DJ) whose open space can accommodate up to 400 people, and, a natural complement, a documentation centre/multimedia space, 4 rehearsing studios, a sound studio, an image production workshop in which DVD videos can be finished off (all of which can be hired at a moderate hourly rate), office space for use by associations, an Audioscan station to test the hearing of those who so wish, etc. In short, a place that is wholly devoted to every aspect of music.

This Public Establishment for Cultural Cooperation is managed and financed by the State, the Regional Authority and the town of Nancy. After opening its doors on the 16 March 2007 it now employs some twenty staff. The aim – to keep in step with cultural progress and to gain a better understanding of contemporary music. Artists who have visited Autre Canal since March include IAM, Public Enemy, Tété, Keren Ann, Matmatah, Israel Vibration, Olivia Ruiz, Marcus Miller, Amon Tobin, Joey Starr, etc., at the rate of two to three concerts per week.

The company Système Son, based in Épinal, in the Vosges, was chosen to provide the technical sound and lighting installations for Autre Canal. "Our normal customers in Lorraine are normally to be found in large companies or the institutional sectors responsible for holding events. For example EDF, Saint-Gobain, etc.", explains Patrick Aubert, Director of Système Son. "Our company has two different businesses and is therefore divided into two departments: events on the one side (events, theatre, concerts, festivals such as Nancy Jazz Pulsations), and equipment on the other (working together with stage designers, architects, and institutional intermediaries). Système Son, which has been in business for 22 years, also produces son et lumières throughout France and is responsible for the exclusive distribution of d&b audiotechnik sound and unit systems and ADB Lighting Technologies lighting equipment. It is also involved in sale and hire of equipment. It was this company which was approached to install the sound and lighting at Autre Canal.

"We went for Autre Canal, and we were delighted to see that the specification explicitly mentioned the use of a PM5D!", says Patrick Aubert, Managing Director of Système Son. "We therefore installed three: two for the large hall, front of house and monitors, and one for the small hall, which deals with these two aspects simultaneously. For us, it’s a very good choice. The place is designed for shows on tour in France. There was therefore no question of selecting equipment that was too "exotic". The PM5D is now the most "analog" digital console on the market! We make a lot of use of it, even to the point of providing one of our own engineers to hand-hold the occasional sound engineer discovering the console for the first time. Everything's always gone well!".

Autre Canal has also taken the opportunity to install an EtherSound fibre optic audio network using Auvitran products. In the large hall, the front of house console therefore includes four AVY16-ES cards, the monitors console three. The six AD8HR preamplifiers act as a stagebox, and are located directly below the stage. The EtherSound kit comprises an AVB32ES and an AVB16IN/16OUT. All kinds of signals can therefore be sent from one hall to the other, to the rehearsal rooms, the DJ bar or the recording studio on the upper floor, which is equipped with a DM2000 console.

"The AD8HR are better quality than the normal PM5D preamps" explains Didier Billon, Technical Manager at Autre Canal. "Being able to place all their gains and parameters in memory is very valuable; when saved on the console nothing has to be noted down, and the AD8HR settings can be recovered exactly when the memory is called up. Also they allow us to benefit from an EtherSound audio network on fibre, with Auvitran interfaces. The system runs all the way through the building – a great saving on multipairs, even if we'd wished to keep an analog "back-up". The first 24 sections in each hall are split as multipairs and enter a node at the top from which whatever we want can be recovered. A patch network also had to be installed to manage EtherSound in the building".

On the output side the signal leaves each console on a standard analog patch, and is then fed to the front of house or monitor amplifiers. The front of house distribution system comprises 6 d&b Qi1 units, 12 bass d&b QiSUB, with 2 d&b Qi10 front of house fill, and to boost the sub, 2 sub bass d&bB2. All this is powered by 9 d&b D12 process amplifiers. On the monitor side there are 8 d&b MAX15, d&b Q7 sides, 1 d&b D12 and 4 Crown CTS2000 amplifiers. The aim was to obtain the most uniform coverage throughout the venue. The output from the system is wholly neutral and uniform, so there was no need for balancing in relation to the style of the music.

The small hall makes do with one PM5D, without separate preamplifiers, for the front of house mixing and monitors. This compromise is justified, given its smaller size. The d&b distribution system consists of 2 Qi10 and 4 bass d&b QiSUB units fed by 2 d&b D12 process amplifiers.

Autre Canal has only recently started operations, but so far there have been no major technical problems. One short-term development would be to connect the amplifiers digitally to avoid additional A/D/A conversions…


Products PM1DV2 , PM5D , AD8HR

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