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Florent Bergerot - A convinced convert


Florent Bergerot has a very full CV: with 25 years as a freelance under his belt, as front of house, but mainly as monitor engineer, he has toured with Bertignac, Paul Personne, Alpha Blondy, Raoul Petite, Pow Wow, Noa, Pagny, Charlebois, Dufresne, Tell and recently M, Gérald de Palmas, Jenifer and Vanessa Paradis (30 dates starting from mid-November 2007). Matthieu Chedid, Patrice Renson (drums), Jérôme Goldet (bass), Albin de la Simone (keyboard), François Lasserre (guitar). They are a band in their own right and not just backing musicians for one singer!

For a long time, he only worked with analogue, on the TAC Scorpion, Soundcraft, Midas and the Yamaha PM3500, for example. “I am in this job because I love music rather than the electronics and the equipment. Working with good musicians makes my job easy and I learn an enormous amount. I have a theory: a musician is a sound. I only have a small part to play and must respect the individuality of each musician. This allows my fellow workers to create some great work by playing with sound in all sorts of different ways: that’s the difference between the ‘sound engineer’s’ approach and the ‘producer’s’ approach”.

When he saw digital consoles being introduced for sound engineering, Florent stayed faithful to the Midas Heritage H3000. “It was my favourite console, although equalisers were losing popularity compared to other models. But its pre-amps, number of outputs, controls, ergonomics, lots of good designs for monitoring, wedges and in-ear headphones, suited me fine.”

“Then in 2000, I met Thomas Delory, from Yamaha, on M’s first tour. I was then working on Midas XL 250 and the front of house sound engineer, Olivier Lude, was using a XL4. We met up again a bit later, when the DM2000 came out. And in 2005, I had to do about a dozen dates with the singer, Mélissa Mars, who was the support act for Bertignac. She starts off with a small sequencer, a guitarist and a keyboard. Small-scale, small control room, in-ears monitors, monitoring from front of house, etc., and not much room! If you want to do in-ear monitoring properly, you still need a number of effects, compressors, pieces of peripheral equipment, etc.”

My solution was a DM1000. 16 inputs were enough for me, as was the number of auxiliaries. The incorporated effects were perfect and I managed well enough to be able to use external peripheral devices. I called Thomas Delory, and he brought me the manuals for the console, which I absorbed in a few days, and set off straight on tour. Given that it was my first contact with a digital console, everything went off fine. My changing over to digital and to Yamaha is largely due to Thomas’s kindness and availability.”

“In 2006 we did two weeks with dischargers with the same artist, again using in-ear monitors, but with more musicians on the stage. The number of outputs on the DM1000 was no longer enough, so I moved onto the DM2000, with an input slot to add an AD8HR, which enabled me to use 8 micro pre-amps that were superior to those for the DM2000. Then I visited Yamaha France’s offices, to check the configuration and carry out some tests with Olivier Gastoué, who I must also thank for his help. They really helped me and put me at my ease. They found solutions, were very approachable, and I knew that I could contact them when I needed. I must also thank Benjamin Rico, Bruno Viricel, Laurent Midas, Emmanuelle Corbeau, Dominique Terrade, Alex Maggi and Christophe Génix for the answers they gave when I asked them questions.”

“After this ‘DM2000’ tour, I was asked to do a tour of one-off dates with Tina Aréna. We only took our control room and hired the other equipment on the spot, which had to be torn down each time. Every fortnight, I was having to set up a control room with compressors, reverbs, etc., even though everything can be done all at once, so I started to think about this properly. I took the plunge while on tour with Potar Hurlant with the PM5D. I downloaded the manual, but didn’t even print it out: I recognised the Yamaha philosophy, lots of things were the same as in the other models I’d already used.”

“And I find the more you get into the range, the easier it gets: there are less sub-layers and you get to the section you want quicker, and the screen is bigger. I set up my configuration in advance on Studio Manager, the software I had already used with the DM. So I actually prepare my console off-line with my mixers, my transmissions; once I’ve done this preparation, all I have to do is the gains and equalisations and finally adjust the compressors and the reverbs, but I don’t need to bother with the rest. I work in the same way as with analogue, everything is very visual and I use memories while disconnecting lots of things in Selective Recall or Recall Safe. The mutes, fader and DCA movements, the effects and the MIDI instructions for the external reverbs are really active in my memories. Apart from this, the equalisers, the dynamic processing (compressors, gates) and the transmissions of auxiliary equipment, are fully disconnected.”

“You often hear people saying ‘Oh it’s digital, it’s Yamaha, it’s cold’. A familiar refrain, and for a long time I would be the first to say it, but I changed my mind after a tour of clubs with Miossec, when I was front of house engineer. The ‘power’ equipment was always already in place. I took a PM5D because we had to work in 12 cubic metres and couldn’t take loads of racks with us. I’d just bought a [Lexicon] PCM70 for extra reverb colour, because the Yamaha reverbs are quite standard, a [BSS] DPR-901 and a [Focusrite] ISA428 voice channel. On that tour, I would often hear people come up to me at the end of a concert and say ‘Wow, I wouldn’t have thought that was a digital, least of all a Yamaha!’ If people come blind to it, you can catch a few of them out.”

“I moved so easily onto the PM5D that when I used a PM1D for the first time, I didn’t even need to read the manual! This was a tour with Vanessa Paradis, again with M (alias Matthieu Chedid) monitoring and Olivier Lude on the front of house console. I’d also thought of using Talk Back microphones (the same microphone is used for singing and commands and a pedal is used for switching; this needs an additional input section each time and also an additional auxiliary output, called a Talk Back mixing output, for re-injecting into the Comm In of the A Monitor on which my In-ear Monitor and NdR device is wired). And we needed wedges as well as in-ear monitors, as there were also some guests, and not taking account of the fact that with Matthieu, anything can happen at any time. In short, even 24 outputs was not enough. The only possible console, apart from the ATI Paragon, was a PM1D, with its 96 inputs, 48 outputs and 24 matrix outputs”.

“My colleague, Bruno Viricel had already told me about the configuration he used on tour with Obispo: he connected three 8 channel Aphex 1788 micro pre-amps, in ADAT, to his PM1D, to retrieve another sound colour and a bit of analogue feel. I decided to do the same thing and not worry any more about whether it was vintage or not vintage, digital or not digital, Yamaha or not Yamaha, etc. My job was just to make sure that is sounded right. I am really happy with this combination, which works very well, gives me another colour and I have used it a lot, apart from on voices.”

“On this tour, I changed all my old habits and I took the plunge. I also took a T.C. Electronic System 6000, which arrives on AES on the DIO. I have all my pre-amps on 16 U; on another 16 U, I have Matthieu’s and Vanessa’s voice processing, with a good old [Avalon] VT-737. For compression, I have chosen some distressors, which have a bit more bite than the VT-737, whose transparency in front of house, I like, but for monitoring, if I want something a bit stronger, more moody, I’ve got it. And the [BSS] 901, of course. I have some [SPL] Vitalizers at the console outputs in front of the Sennheiser in-ear monitors: I’d never used any of these before!”

“If you look at the external pre-amps closely, I’ve got them on all the drums, apart from the toms. Everything on keyboards arrives on the normal pre-amp. Having said that, I chose the cards supplied with the PM5000’s pre-amps, LMY2-MLABs. I chose these because everybody had said great things about them. All the guitars, the guest and the spare are also on the Aphex 1788, whereas the backing vocals, the ambient microphones and the talk microphones, are on the Yamaha LMY2-MLAB pre-amps on the console.”

This is the first time that Matthieu and the other musicians had used in-ear monitors. I therefore decided to spend a week out of the month of rehearsals using wedges and to wedge an in-ear mix in parallel on the console with a reverb simulating the room. I try to retrieve the sound of the group in the room by adding just a slight amount of depth, width and air. After the first week, we changed over to in-ear monitors and everybody was happy. So by doing this, I was able to avoid the musicians throwing away their in-ear monitors and saying ‘It’s the in-ear monitors, they’re useless! That doesn’t sound right’ if they didn’t really like the balance that I sent them on the first day.”

“Final small detail; Talk Back mixing. All talk back microphones on stage have a push-button, so that the musician can re-direct the microphone into which he is singing to a console section and speak only into my earphones; I can hear him and the backing singersbackliners as well. The only problem is during a fast bit, a breakdown or such like, you quickly lose what the guy is saying, because he isn’t talking loud enough, or articulating clearly, or quite simply because I am in PFL on another section. So I have sent all these microphones used for talk back at 0 dB to a mix on the console which I have brought to the Comm In of the A Monitor on the console. This Talk Back mix goes into a console pre-amp, at 60A on the diagram, then I assign it to the Comm In, and there is a duck which, each time somebody talks to me, automatically lowers the music by 7 dB. It’s a pity that you can’t adjust the Release time. In short, when the guy says something to me, I hear him straight away, I can’t miss him. You can do that on lots of consoles by going in to the Cue In of the PFL but that still takes up an output and without any duck effect. But the PM1D gives me this function and a huge number of possibilities for these little things which seem to be insignificant but they are comforting and stress-relieving when you are on tour and for me that’s almost as important as the sound itself.


Products PM1DV2 , DM2000VCM

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