Paris – Since its inception in 1974, the 3,723-seat Main-Auditorium at the Palais des Congrès de Paris performing arts and convention centre, operated by Viparis Group, has hosted an average of 150 shows each year, including internationally-acclaimed ballets, operas, symphonies and pop concerts. Located at the western tip of the 17th arrondissement, near the Arc de Triomphe, the Palais des Congrès de Paris features two TV studios, 20 conference rooms, 85 meeting rooms and three smaller auditoriums. When the time came to find a new audio console that would best accommodate the high-profile productions and fast-paced turnaround, the Main Auditorium’s three-man audio team selected the Solid State Logic Live. L500 console.
“The challenge for us is having a sound system that satisfies the size and functionality requests of our clients,” explains the Palais des Congrès sound team, Laurent Maury, Sylvain Demay and Thomas Guardenti. “In the Main Auditorium, we three sound managers are responsible for the sound system and all related audio activities, whether doing our own mixing or assisting guest engineers. So, we need to make sure that we have the highest quality products in order to satisfy everybody well into the future. Finally, after two years of research, we chose the SSL Live.”
Used for all Main Auditorium conferences and concerts, including those with connections to external services such as television productions and uplinks for corporate events, the SSL Live was installed to integrate with the venue’s existing audio infrastructure. The Main Auditorium’s fan-shaped seating has no balcony and its mix position is 27 meters from the stage, behind a mid-house cross aisle. Its loudspeakers cover the audience with flown left and right arrays of L-Acoustic V-DOSC with dV-DOSC down fills, a KARA center cluster, ARCS floor fills, MTD108 and KIVA front fills and SB28 subwoofers. Backstage, two 32 x 32 5U SSL stage boxes, totalling 96 channels (including the 32 console inputs), are redundantly connected via co-axial MADI to an SSL Blacklight II MADI concentrator that connects them to the FOH mix position via a single multimode fibre per side.
“Even though we’re always in the same theatre, working at the Palais des Congrès is like being on tour because of our constant exposure to different engineering and mixing approaches,” adds Demay. “So, it was the important for us to buy a desk that is known around the world. The SSL Off Line Setup Application (SOLSA) on the console has proven to be an especially important element for us. It ensures that guest engineers can familiarize themselves with the console and organize their session before they arrive.”
The team credits the variety of software features available on the L500 as a primary reason for selecting the console. “The Layer Manager is a fantastic tool that is easy to use and really helpful to organize the surface the way we want,” Maury adds. “Visiting engineers are immediately comfortable organizing inputs and outputs on their fader tiles’ layers and banks to suit their production. Being able to add any input or output without noise or any problem while the show is running is also impressive, and being able to rearrange the surface at any moment is great.”
Guardenti points out that the ‘AutoMix’ and ‘Dynamic-EQ’ insert tools are also great to have on board and that the flexible workflow has been important. “The three of us each has his own preferences and approach, so the combination of touch screens and encoders allows everybody to work as they wish,” explains Demay. “What’s more, the SSL Live sounds really outstanding.”
A European leader in conferences and trade events, Viparis Group manages the eleven main conference centres and exhibition/event/show venues in the greater Paris region. In addition to the Palais des Congrès de Paris, the company oversees Carrousel du Louvre, Cnit Paris La Défense, Espace Champerret, Espace Grande Arche, the Palais des Congrès d’Issy, the Palais des Congrès de Versailles, Paris Le Bourget, Paris Nord Villepinte, Paris expo Porte de Versailles, Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild. All Viparis venues host a variety of exhibitions, shows, congresses and business events for the general public and professionals from every sector.