Planning and realization of the sound system and FOH-mix for a tour of an Armenian ensemble to select places in Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil.
Special challenges / difficulties:
The wide range in musical style (Armenian music from folk songs up to the pop songs), length of the shows (3 hours), the size of the ensemble (more than 160 participants), the size of the stages (width of 26m) and the infrastructures of the venues.
At a Workshop in October 2011, Ralf Kesser asked me whether I would like to be part of a project for his Hamburg based company "Penguin". The Armenian ensemble "KOHAR" intended to do a tour though Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil. For years Ralf's company has been responsible for the sound part of the touring activities of "KOHAR". I should be a part of the planning team as well as doing the front of house-mix during the shows.
In 4 cities (Montevideo, Buenos Aires, Cordoba, Sao Paulo) 9 concerts were scheduled between the 23dr of October and the 11th November 2012.
The ensemble consisted of 62-choir-singer, 75-orchestra-/band musicians, 11 solo singer, 1harpplayer, 1pantomime, 11dancer. I had to deal with 148 audio inputs.
3 mixing boards (FOH, monitor, sting & choir submix) where needed at the venues.
3 DAWs and a whole tv-production had to be supplied with the required audio signals. The audio distribution system we had to plan had to be extremely adaptable and reliable as well. For example at one venue the decision whether the submix console could be placed at FOH or had to go to the stage could first to be taken during the setup at site. Moreover, the cable runs we had to deal with where partly more than 100m. All these considerations made us use an IP-based audio network as the backbone of our audio wiring. Arthur Koll played an important part in the audio crew. On top of doing the job of monitor engineer, he was responsible for the planning and management of the Dante-audio-network we had chosen.
So it happend that we created, as far as I know, the biggest IP-based audio network of that time. Yamaha network specialist Arthur Koll built up a redundant Dante network with 628 sending and 580 receiving audio channels in total. Because of the long cable runs we decided to change from cupper to fiber for the connection from FOH to stage. For this task we used CYBERTEC splitters form TEQSAS. Beside the transformation to fiber and the distribution of the Dante network we were able to realize the transport of monitor signal for our wireless microphones with that system at the same time. The mixes of the submix engineer Christian Schmid were fed back to the Dante network so they could used at FOH and monitor positon as well.
All the input signals had to be recorded on 3 single laptops coupled via Nuendo system link. One reason for that was the use for backup of the post production of the planed Blue-Ray video. Another reason was to use the records for "virtual sound checks" so we were able to reduce the rehearsal time for the orchestra at the venue.
After a recce tour to all the venues in July 2012 we had to draw up a tender text. It would have been too expensive to taransport all the required audio equipment to South America. Touring between the different countries would also be was much easier for a company from this region. At the end the Sao Paulo based company "Gabisom International" made the best offer and got the job.
Beside the technical there was also a big musical challenge.
Different programs had to be played. None of the 3-hour shows were identically to one another. Next to the FOH we were supported by Hrólfur Vagnsson an Icelandic sound engineer and tonmeister. He was reading the scores and gave us important cues that helped us with the mix.
The range of the songs went from traditional folk songs to modern style pop songs. So the variety of the orchestra sound had to be convincing in the "traditional" as well as in the "pop" parts of the program. Also the very big size of the stage (26m width) had to be considered and let to a complex time alignment.