For the first time in the company’s history, Digigram’s EtherSound technology has been installed for Radio France’s production of Carmen at the 80,000-seat Stade de France in Paris.
The Radio France production of the opera was set on a 360-degree stage in the center of the massive stadium built for the 1998 World Cup. Carmen, broadcast nationwide by France Inter radio, included some 150 musicians and chorus singers and 500 extras, horses and vehicles.
Digigram’s patent-pending EtherSound technology distributed the audio from the front-of-house console to 16 loudspeaker stacks spread throughout the arena and a 100-volt audio system. The first of its kind installation was built on Digigram's EtherSound ES8in/ES8out audio bridges and standard CAT5 cables.
"When we discovered EtherSound, we immediately thought that this is the perfect solution to save us lots of time and money on this big installation," said Bruno Lompech, head of sound reinforcement for Radio France. "We had already decided to use digital InnovaSon mixing consoles and it seamed to be a natural choice to go for a digital technology as well to distribute the audio. We then tested EtherSound extensively in-house and the audio quality turned out to be excellent. Instead of relying on hundreds of meters of costly multipair cables and routing devices, we were able to use low-cost Ethernet cables that are very easy to install."
An EtherSound ES8in unit converted eight analog audio channels from the front-of-house console into as many EtherSound channels. The signals were then streamed via a single CAT5 cable to the EtherSound ES8out units near the loudspeaker stacks and converted back to analog audio. The setup used two independent EtherSound networks made of standard Ethernet components to ensure reliability in case of damage to one network. All devices were daisy-chained. A control computer located close to the front-of-house console provided monitoring data for the entire installation.
"EtherSound's routing flexibility was another important point as it allowed us to route every input of the system to every output. When the director of Carmen asked for last-minute changes to create additional audio effects, we were prepared," said Lompech. "And no matter the configuration, EtherSound allowed us to maintain the same dynamic range throughout the network. Our sound engineers who weren’t familiar with EtherSound were just stunned to learn what they could do with this technology."
For more information, visit Digigram online at www.digigram.com.