Performances at the outdoor theatre in Ötigheim, near Karlsruhe, attract up to 100,000 visitors each year. Owned by the ‘not for profit’ owning company Volksschauspiele Ötigheim, a new Yamaha mixing and audio management system was installed for its 2018 season.

Ötigheim theatre Volksschauspiele Ötigheim has been staging productions for 112 years. Throughout the summer, shows are staged at its open-air theatre, a former sand quarry which has 4,000 covered seats and, it claims, the largest permanent outdoor stage in Germany. For the past 15 years a pair of Yamaha 02R digital mixing consoles have been the reliable backbone of the theatre’s audio system. This year, they were replaced with a new system comprising two Yamaha CL5s, an MRX7-D matrix processor, Rio3224-D I/O unit and an RSIO64-D audio/Dante interface, fitted with Yamaha Mini-YGDAI cards for additional inputs and outputs.

‘Technology has moved on a long way since the 02Rs were installed in 2003,’ says Mario Schmidt of Karlsruhe-based Rock Shop, the company that specified, supplied and installed the new system. ‘Staying with Yamaha was an obvious choice, because the equipment is so reliable and the workflow is familiar to most engineers. We chose the CL5s because they gave us better features and greater functionality, including Dante, along with excellent sound quality and all the benefits of Dan Dugan automixing.’

The productions are complex, so two consoles were installed to separate the mixing of orchestra and other musicians on one and singers/actors on the other. They also provide full redundancy, a wise precaution with the unpredictability of outdoor productions.

Inputs to the system comprise 52 wireless microphone/instrument channels, plus further wired mic and instrument feeds. The FOH mix is routed to line array PA, while a Yamaha Nuage NIO500-A16 acts as output device for delivering up to 16 analogue wedge and in-ear monitor feeds. Signal distribution is managed by the MRX7-D, which also controls the time alignment for the different PA zones. A four input, eight output analogue broadcast feed is also provided.

‘Delivering high-quality sound outdoors is always a challenge, but here there is the added difficulty that the performance area is open, but the audience seating is roofed,’ Schmidt says. ‘Having enough headroom before feedback, weather resistance and wind stability of the speaker system are all challenges to providing a neutral, intelligible, evenly-distributed sound. On top of that, the sound design for different productions needs to be clear, with a straightforward workflow and both home and guest sound engineers need to be accommodated.

‘The new system has enabled us to deliver all that, taking advantage of all the most recent developments in Yamaha audio technology to make a big improvement to the quality and distribution of the sound. Volksschauspiele Ötigheim is very happy and all the engineers that are using the system appreciate the workflow and ease of use, as well as the great audio quality.’

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