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Yamaha Networks with Grand Théâtre de Provence

Aug, 2008

The building of any new theatre is a matter for celebration by the performing arts industry. And when it is equipped with cutting edge Yamaha digital audio facilities, artists and audiences alike have a great deal to be pleased about.

Completed in 2007, the Grand Théâtre de Provence in Aix-en-Provence, southern France is one of the biggest theatres in the region and is equipped with state-of-the-art technology, the complete building even being mounted on 350 silent spring units to prevent unwanted vibration from a nearby railway line.

One of the key features of the building is it’s EtherSound audio system, which features a large amount of Yamaha digital equipment, including PM5D, M7CL, DM1000 and 01V96 mixing consoles, plus six AD8HR eight-channel remote mic preamp / A-D converters.

The main auditorium holds between 1,259 and 1,366 spectators and is designed to host a wide range of productions, from opera during the annual Festival d’ Art Lyrique to classical concerts, amplified acoustic music, ballets and plays.

Brion-based Texen installed the theatre’s complete technical infrastructure and devised the audio system, which was considerably upgraded once it was decided that the building would be more than just an opera house.

"In one year we went from specifying an analogue system of copper multicores, speakers everywhere and a 48-track analogue console - which is obviously a bit old-fashioned, but adequate for opera purposes - to an EtherSound network, line array front of house PA and a PM5D digital console," says François Mondié, director of Texen’s office in Aix-en-Provence, who has followed the project throughout.

"Once we had established that a digital system was required, the PM5D seemed to be the natural choice," he continues. "It is widely known and its reliability is undeniable. It is fully compatible with EtherSound and AuviTran interfaces, plus we knew it was intuitive enough to use that the Festival people would be able to operate it without any problem whatsoever."

Before the audio equipment was installed - indeed before the theatre had even been built - a ‘dry run’ was arranged in the workshops of the Festival d’ Art Lyrique. Here the entire planned digital audio configuration was set up in conjunction with the proposed lighting networks, using long runs of optical fibre and CAT5 cable. Yamaha Commercial Audio France staff were present and spent a day on installation and preparation, then a whole afternoon trying out and pushing the system to its limits in conjunction with the Texen and the other manufacturers..

“We ran the system in the worst possible conditions, to see how everything would react,” says François Mondié. “From that, we were able to confirm a certain level of stability and fixed, acceptable latency with 48 microphones. This made everybody fully confident that the system would operate correctly."

With the theatre built, the PM5D was installed in a cantilevered control room at the rear of the auditorium. It receives input signals from the 48 microphones via the eight AD8HR units and the EtherSound network, then sends mixes, again via EtherSound, to the auditorium’s line array PA.

The 48-track M7CL was primarily installed as a monitor console, but its flexibility means that there is nothing to prevent the two consoles from being swapped over, if necessary.

The other Yamaha equipment is installed in two different areas of the venue - a large rehearsal room features the 01V96 console, while the DM1000 is used in the theatre’s recording studio with a Pro Tools digital recording system. Taking feeds from the front of house position, it allows all events in the theatre to be recorded and archived.

"Yamaha Commercial Audio has gone well beyond its role as manufacturer in equipping the Grand Théâtre de Provence," notes Jean-Claude Berhuy, manager of Texen.

"Stéphane Brocard, Fabien Saadoun and Oliver Gastoué have been there on the spot all the time to offer support and advice. They also lent us the necessary equipment at the project preparation stage which we ran for a long time at our premises to prepare the system configuration and settings.”


Products PM5D , M7CL-48 , DM1000VCM

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