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Yamaha provides Postmoderne sound at Showmax Cinema facility

May, 2008

Located in Vanves, on the south west side of the French capital Paris, the cutting-edge Postmoderne film and television post-production facility has seen Yamaha equipment ensuring that industry professionals get to hear the soundtrack just as well as they see the visuals.

Part of the Groupe Riff production facility, Postmoderne is the world’s first cinema production suite to use the Showmax Cinema System, which features a non-perforated screen and audio transducers to provide far higher viewing and sound quality than is possible in conventional cinema systems.

Integral to the system is the Yamaha equipment, comprising a DME64N digital mix engine and eight power amplifiers - three PC4801N, three PC6501N, one PC3301N and a PC9501N.

The Showmax system was invented and patented worldwide by Pierre Vincent, who was determined to find a way of improving both the audio and visual experience of conventional cinema.

Normal cinema screens are made of perforated sheet with millions of tiny holes, through which the mid and high frequencies of the soundtrack are projected. However, from a distance the screen begins to look pale grey, rather than white, reducing the luminosity of the image, sharpness of detail and vividness of colour.

In addition, while a high proportion of the acoustic energy passes through the screen, the remainder is reflected from the back of it and then forward again with a slight delay, which produces a comb filtering effect. This particularly affects the high frequencies and reduces the efficiency of auditorium coverage.

Pierre Vincent’s solution was to use a non-perforated screen with optimised flat transducers coupled to the screen for the high and mid-frequencies, arranged halfway up the screen for the left, centre and right channels, while the low frequencies are output from traditional bass enclosures.

To achieve a better sound ‘connection’ between the left, centre and right satellites for the Surround channels, they are distributed around the room via custom dipole enclosures fitted with state of the art Fostex 100°x 100° coaxial loudspeakers.

Currently there are 10 Showmax Cinema facilities worldwide - eight in France, one in the Swedish capital Stockholm and one at Hollywood post production facility FotoKem in Burbank, USA.
Therefore having a dedicated post-production facility like Postmoderne is vital to the success of the Showmax system.

With the focus so heavily on audio purity, there can be no weak part of the signal chain, so a Yamaha digital mix engine and power amplifiers were the obvious choice to deliver the audio from the new AMS Neve DFC mixing console to the Fostex surround speakers and Showmax transducers and subs.

With the power amplifiers required to perform one of the most exacting audio tasks possible, where precise and minute control is critical, PC6501Ns drive the L/C/R low and mid frequency channels, PC4801Ns drive the L/C/R high frequency channels and L/R surround sound, the PC3301N drives the rear L/R surrounds and the PC9501N drives the subwoofers, all ensuring that the facility’s digital audio system is functioning to maximum effect.

Managing the entire audio system is the DME64N, which is used in all Showmax Cinema facilities. The DME64N offers the absolute audio precision of the 24Bit/96Khz uncompressed signal demanded by the 7.1 surround system, providing a parametric equaliser and time alignment on each channel and allowing for extremely fine adjustment.

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