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Yamaha DME brings the art of sound to world famous auctioneers

May, 2010

At over 300 years old, contemporary art auctioneer Phillips de Pury & Company knows that having high quality sound in its premises is absolutely essential. With buyers potentially paying many thousands of pounds at the company’s auctions, every word uttered by the auctioneer must be clear and unmistakeable. With this in mind, the company recently commissioned a new audio system at it’s London premises, controlled by a Yamaha DME series digital mixing engine.

With offices in 12 cities on three continents, Phillips de Pury describes itself as “one of the world’s leading art companies; a tastemaker in contemporary art, photographs, prints, design and jewelry through its innovative exhibitions and auctions; renowned for its beautiful and lavish catalogues, dynamic architectural exhibition spaces, popular events and record breaking sales.”

Adapting a Victorian former Post Office sorting station as its London premises, the company needed an audio system that could cater for a wide variety of applications with equal, high sound quality. Most importantly, however, it had to be very discreet.

Cambridgeshire-based Absolute Pro Audio was commissioned to design and install the system. Comprising 16 zones, the system’s ‘brains’ had to be able to cover all eventualities from addressing single speakers with their own audio source, to feeding microphone signals to any combination of zones and have direct control over every speaker in the building.

“The nature of both the building and company’s business meant that the acoustic environment was challenging, to say the least,” says Phil Darke, head of Absolute Pro Audio. “High ceilings, some of which are glass, hard surfaces, a lack of any absorbent materials and a need to make the system as invisible as possible made the task a difficult one.”

28 loudspeakers were positioned throughout the building, projecting into the open room space and avoiding hard surfaces as much as possible. Controlling the system is a Yamaha DME64N, sending individual audio feeds to each speaker via three MY8DA96 interface cards and an MY8ADDA96 card.

“The DME64N offered a huge amount of physical connections from one unit without the need for extra expansion units,” says Phil. “Yamaha also offers a multitude of interface cards, which makes the DME extremely versatile for interfacing with other products.”

The DME’s onboard processing is used to control all EQ and compression, with the result that the system covers the entire building seamlessly with high quality sound. It was programmed via Yamaha DME Designer software, installed on to a touchscreen laptop, which allows Phillips de Pury’s technicians to walk throughout the building and wirelessly adjust the system and level / EQ of any speaker, from wherever they are standing.

In a technical area built behind the main auction room, a Yamaha MG166CX mixing console is also installed, mixing feeds from the radio microphones used by the auctioneers. The signal is then sent to the DME64N, to be fed into the multi-zone system, including the building’s reception area and one of the rooms adjacent to the auction rooms, where company staff wait on cue to bring the exhibits into the auction room. Audio feeds are also taken from the Yamaha consoles for digitally streaming auctions to the company’s web site.

“We have provided a powerful audio system which is highly flexible but which is, aesthetically, barely noticeable. The client is really pleased,” says Phil. “The building is completely open plan and, if you walk from one zone area to the next, the audio level remains constant. There are no drops in level or dead zones, which adds a great deal to the discretion of the system. The consistency of coverage meaning that your attention is not drawn to it at all.”


Products DME64N , MG166CX

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