Montreux Jazz Festival Goes Digital with Digidesign’s VENUE

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In its first year as a sponsor of the Montreux Jazz Festival, Digidesign brought a VENUE live sound mixing environment and DigiDelivery high-speed file transmission system to the event.

Comprised of the D-Show digital mixing console, the FOH rack (with digital mix engine and embedded control computer), the Stage rack (with recallable, remote-controlled preamps) and a multichannel digital snake system, VENUE was used at FOH and monitor positions in three of the festival’s venues: Auditorium Stravinski, Miles Davis Hall and the Casino Barrière. Digidesign also provided a console for the Jazz Café.

Many of the 30-plus visiting sound engineers took advantage of VENUE’s Pro Tools recording options. The HDx option provided the ability to integrate up to 128 channels of Pro Tools HD recording and playback to the VENUE systems, allowing sound engineers to record shows, perform virtual soundchecks with pre-recorded multitrack material and to enhance live performances with Pro Tools playback.

Most of Digidesign’s European live sound team was present to support the event. Also attending the festival for Digidesign was live sound market manager and engineer, Robert Scovill, who oversaw the technical operations.

Matthieu Bameulle of Niveau 2, Digidesign’s Swiss distributor, was on-hand conducting training workshops for many of the on-site sound engineers who were given a hands-on demonstration of VENUE’s functionality, ergonomics and ease of operation.

Indie British rock band Starsailor struck an agreement that enabled FOH engineer Walter Jaquiss’ multitrack recording of the show to be transferred securely via Digidesign’s DigiDelivery global media delivery system to sound engineer Gannon Kashiwa, who is based in Denver, Colorado. Kashiwa was able to quickly download the Pro Tools sessions, mix the set in his private ICON studio and then deliver the stereo tracks to the band the morning following the performance.

“We knew we would eventually have to move to digital,” stated the festival's senior sound supervisor, Bernard Natier. “It had been presented to us with a competing platform as far back as 2000. At the time, however, it was not the right desk and we decided to wait. When we discovered Digidesign’s VENUE, it changed everything. The console now has a reputation for its intuitiveness.”

Niveau 2 music director Patrick Vogelsang, who was also the event’s sound director, confirmed that while Le Voyageur 1 and 2 mobile recording trucks were again taking splits for broadcast and TV—along with the Camion 2 in the Casino Barriere—a lot of recording activity had taken place straight from VENUE. “This was not intended to replace the trucks,” he said, “but simply to show production and the artists the huge possibilities of this desk.”

“With three or four shows happening each night, the stage constantly had to be repatched, and the fact that the sound engineers could easily transfer their mixes from a USB key to the show console was a huge bonus,” Vogelsang added.

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