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Sombrero & Co. Deploys Innovason Consoles at Les Vieilles Charrues Music Festival

The Cure onstage at the 2012 Les Vieilles Charrues Music Festival

The 2012 Les Vieilles Charrues Music Festival in Carhaix, France, took place in July and featured headline acts including Bob Dylan, Sting, The Cure, Portishead, LMFAO, Kasabian as well as many huge French artists such as Thomas Dutronc, Zebda, Orelsan, Amadou et Mariam and many others. Sombrero & Co., specialists in live audio and video recording of major artists and events, used three Innovason consoles at the event—one for each of the main stages—for live audio recording, mixing and streaming for both live TV and future documentaries and DVDs.

Each Innovason Eclipse was connected to a DioCore stagebox plus, in the case of the main stage and specifically for the performances of Sting and The Cure, who required some 80 inputs each; a further Muxipaire stagebox added another 24 microphone inputs to the 64 already provided by the DioCore. The onboard M.A.R.S. recorder of each Eclipse handled the recording of up to 64 preamps from each stage, with post-fader input recording handled by three MT-128s from VB Audio—the same recorder that is inside the Eclipse—in order to keep an exact copy of the live mix destined for the TV channels. The signal from the stage to the console was transmitted via OptoCore over fiber optic.

Each stage was equipped with up to eight Neumann Solution D digital microphones acting as ambient microphones, all directly controlled by the Eclipse consoles, in case that Sombrero & Co. didn’t have the recording rights for a particular group or artist. This setup enabled the company to take clean feeds from artists’ and musicians’ microphones, while the video trucks are supplied by a mix of feeds taken from the ambient microphones and the front-of-house consoles.

Benoit Gilg of Sombrero & Co. mixes at the Innovason Eclipse console

According to Sombrero & Co.’s Benoit Gilg, who both engineered and headed up the sound recording team, the Eclipse consoles performed impeccably. “For me, the Eclipse is simply the most intuitive console available on the market today,” he says. “For a start, you can configure it exactly as you want it, but even so, it works in exactly the same way as I think! For me, it’s completely instinctive, which I love.

“The second big plus point is the quality of the preamps, which are incredibly transparent and natural-sounding,” Gilg continues. “Personally I prefer to work with the purest sound possible from the source. I don’t like it when equipment adds color or tone that I then have to work hard to remove. I’d rather know that anything that has been added —or taken away—has come from me, and not [from] the equipment I’m using. In this respect, I love the purity of the Innovason preamps. They give me the cleanest, highest possible quality sound with which to work from the outset.

“Finally—and in my eyes, equally as important as any technical criteria—I can’t speak highly enough of the Innovason team, and in particular, product manager and father of Eclipse, Hervé de Caro. Products are born of people, and so the relationships that you have with those people are important. Hervé is someone that is totally committed to his ideas, and utterly dedicated when it comes to support for his products . We know that we can rely on him completely to find the best possible solution for any given scenario.”

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