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AURUS and NEXUS mixing the Sound of Hollywood

Berlin, Germany – May 2018… Hans Zimmer, Academy Award, Grammy Award and Golden Globe Award winner, is one of the most famous film composers of our time. “The World of Hans Zimmer – A Symphonic Celebration,” began a concert tour of Germany at the end of April, although Hans Zimmer himself will not be present. The tour showcases the film composer’s soundtracks for blockbuster productions, which he has rearranged for orchestral performance. Hans Zimmer chose Germany for this world premiere – and equipment from the Berlin-based manufacturer Stage Tec is joining the tour.

A 48 fader AURUS platinum is located at the FOH position. The console is embedded in a NEXUS system with six Base Devices; three for the FOH side rack and three for I/O. Two NEXUS STAR routers supplement the network – one for AURUS processing at the FOH position, the other for monitoring with a MADI connection and for the remaining three NEXUS Base Devices. A virtual console is also deployed and serves to configure the spectral Delta Stereophony of the front fills. Virtual console means that the AURUS can switch to a second DSP core during set-up. Later, the virtual console is accessed via an external PC.

The challenge in this production is the large number of channels and buses needed for the orchestra, choir, and a 15-piece band. In addition, the frequent instrument changes make it very demanding. Percussion instruments always play an important role in Hans Zimmer’s music, as illustrated by 50 percussion channels alone. In total, up to 250 mixing channels on 128 buses are used. The virtual console has another 193 inputs in a matrix on eight outputs for the near fills. To accommodate this large number of audio channels, the NEXUS network is equipped with seven RMDQ high performance DSP units. Twenty-three XMIC microphone boards, each with eight channels, are available for the numerous microphone configurations.

The brand-new VCA group hierarchy feature was developed for AURUS especially for this project, which the lead Tonmeister Carsten Kümmel needs for this production. “I use the new VCA hierarchy to handle the large number of channels. I can assign a channel to several groups and create groupings, resulting in a VCA pyramid. In this project, we are no longer mixing individual channels but mixing via VCAs.” And Carsten Kümmel adds, “I’m using scene automation for the first time, and I create snapshots before the show, which I have triggered by an external timecode. We have a timecode show here, so I’ve always triggered all soloists and effects by timecode. That means I don’t have to think about everything during the show but can concentrate on the music.”

The German composer Hans Zimmer, who lives in Hollywood, won an Academy Award for The Lion King. He received eleven other nominations for movies such as Rain Man, Interstellar, Sherlock Holmes, and Dunkirk. He won the Golden Globe for The Lion King and Gladiator. Working with renowned directors and producers, Hans Zimmer has composed the soundtracks for famous movies such as Thelma & Louise, Toys, The House of the Spirits, Pearl Harbor, and the Pirates of the Caribbean series.

About Stage Tec

An independent company based in Berlin, Germany, Stage Tec Entwicklungsgesellschaft für professionelle Audiotechnik GmbH has specialized in developing and manufacturing digital audio equipment. Its flagship products include the digital routers NEXUS and NEXUS STAR as well as the professional mixing consoles AVATUS, AURUS platinum, CRESCENDO platinum, AURATUS and ON AIR flex.

Assisted by a business partner, Stage Tec was established in 1993 by 13 engineers (nearly all of whom still work there). The company is headed by Dr. Helmut Jahne, who was one of the founding members of the Stage Tec team and who continues to drive the technological supremacy of the product lines.

A leading pioneer in the transition from analogue to digital audio technology, Stage Tec has an international reputation and raised the bar in digital audio technology with a continuous stream of developments and innovations. Today, Stage Tec offers a comprehensive range of products ranging from the smallest to the largest of mixing consoles.