Swiss distributor and system integrator Decibel has installed an EtherSound network in the Convention Center Montreux (CCM), the main venue of the world-famous Montreux Jazz Festival. Using Digigram's ES8in, ES8out and ES220 EtherSound devices and the CCM's existing Ethernet infrastructure, the system has completely eliminated noise problems in the audio transmission between the two main convention/concert halls and the P.A. system of this twice-enlarged building on the Lake Geneva shore. The network has already proven its flexibility by reducing the system reconfiguration time for the needs of this year's Montreux Jazz Festival by about 90 percent without any additional investment.
Pierre-Yves Nussbaum, the CCM's head audio/visual technician, comments, "We were looking for a digital audio distribution solution because the big distances in the building and many, many neighboring analog audio cables caused big noise problems, especially in the transmission between the Stravinsky Auditorium and the Miles Davis Hall. We chose EtherSound because of its superior audio quality and its very low latency, which makes it suitable even for live sound applications in our venue. The fact that we are able to combine products of different EtherSound-licensed manufacturers was important, too, to keep the system as scalable as possible."
During the last overhaul of the CCM's Ethernet infrastructure in 2001, Nussbaum had anticipated a digital audio distribution system’s bandwidth requirements so that almost no additional cables were pulled when the EtherSound system was installed. "We simply allocated some existing Cat-6 or fiber-optic cables to the EtherSound network, plugged in the Digigram products and had the network up and running. The hardware investment was very low and the setup was really very easy," says Nussbaum. "Today, we have cable runs of up to 150 meters but a crystal-clear sound with the same audio quality from the beginning to the end."
The Montreux Jazz Festival also uses EtherSound for its temporary network, which linked the mixing trucks outside the CCM to different locations inside the building. According to Nussbam,"In past years, two people needed to work two days to make this happen. With EtherSound, I entirely reconfigured the system in half a day without any additional staff. I simply unplugged the EtherSound devices at their permanent position, pulled short standard Cat-5 cables to the nearest network sockets in the wall and plugged in the devices at the new location. Then I used the EScontrol software to define the new signal paths. This routing flexibility of EtherSound will make our life during one-time events like the Jazz Festival a lot easier."
Nussbaum already has plans to extend the EtherSound network to other applications such as recording and sound reinforcement. Additional ES8 and ES2 audio bridges, an audio workstation featuring the miXart 8 ES multichannel sound card with EtherSound interface, and an EtherSound card for the CCM's InnovaSon Sy40 mixing console are being budgeted.