Classic Incantations

Meeting the audio challenge presented by AR Rahman’s recent Classic Incantations India concerts would test the mewttle of any of the country’s sound contractors.

The first tribute to the famed Indian composer to come to India from the Western world, the series of concerts presented original scores and film music written by the Indian maestro, performed by the German Film Orchestra Babelsberg orchestra conducted by Matt Dunkley and accompanied by the choir and soloists from the KM Music Conservatory in Chennai. Ready to prove itself, Sound.Com provided the necessary technical facilities and support for the tour.

Sunil Karanjikar, Holger Schwark, Warren Dsouza, Aditya ModiSound.Com worked with Core Networks & Rapport Global for the concerts that were staged in five cities, using DiGiCo consoles and its Optocore fibre-opticnetwork to handle digital audio distribution and management. Sound.Com’s Sunil Karanjikar and Joel Dcruz toured the country with FOH mixing engineer Holger Schwark – on a DiGiCo SD10 – playing back-to-back shows, while Sound.Com MD, Warren D’Souza acted as stand-in system engineer for the Delhi and Kolkata legs of the tour.

Primarily used for sporting events and broadcast, the SD10’s versatility was demonstrated by its use on the tour. ‘The SD10 desk was the key to defining the symphonic sound of the orchestra,’ D’Souza says. ‘The The warmth and tone that it is capable of achieving can only be understood when you work in the field and experience the aura of it.

‘I always wanted Sound.com to be a part of the DiGiCo family, but we wanted to invest in a product which is right at the beginning of its life and that would make us stand out as a genuinely different service provider in the Indian market,’ he adds. ‘The technical requirements of events are getting ever-more complex, so the SD10 was ideally positioned for us.’

The Optocore system was used where the input sources from the stage exceeded the 48 mic preamps available as standard on a DigiRack. The additional 14 channels were picked up by an Optocore X6R-FX 16MI and transported to the SD10, interfaced coaxially to Optocore by means of a DD4MR-FX.

The DD4MR-FX and a DD2FR-FX also simplified the job of making multitrack recordings of each concert on two computers (one used as backup). Both computers used RME MADIface interface units to the multitrack and all inputs on the SD10 were Madi mirrored on the Optocore DD4MR-FX and DD2FR-FX to implement this solution. ‘This facility allowed us to multitrack a full 56-channel system using just one fibre and one coax pair each for the two redundant systems,’ says Sound.Com head of engineering, Sunil Karanjikar.

The Bangalore show, where production fielded four main hangs of JBL VerTec, 36 delay clusters of paired VRX932LA boxes and a final row of SRX712M boxes, proved particularly challenging. ‘This was something of an audio milestone in India – and the fact that it was successfully executed was down to the Optocore node racks and Harman HiQnet System Architect, which managed the Crown I-Tech HD12000 power amplifiers,’ says Warren D’Souza.

In Bangalore, the Optocore DD4MR-FX also collected outputs from the SD10 to be routed to four Sound.Com OptoRacks, with each OptoRack consisting of a DD32R-FX and a X6R-FX 16MI. AES outs from the DD32R-FX fed the Crown ITech HD amplifiers, which were driving the PA and delay clusters, while the LAN and SANE ports were used to transport Ethernet data from the master computer to the Crown I-Tech HD racks, allowing full system control (including delay and EQ) of each cluster. Optical isolation allowed Sound.Com to use multiple power sources in the venue, keeping cable runs to a minimum.

‘The Symphony tour was personally very gratifying as we exploited technology to its maximum potential,’ Karanjikar reports. ‘This was especially true of the Optocore fibre-optics, Cat5, AES and analogue, which handled all the audio transport, and the combination of optical and Madi for the multitrack recording and replay. This was all due to the solid platforms Optocore and RME provided us with.’

‘I think we had five very good shows, all totally different in circumstances, and I am extremely grateful for all the support we received, especially from Sound.Com’s audio crew,’ adds Holger Schwark

More: www.online-sound.com
More: www.optocore.com
More: www.digico.org
More: www.jblpro.com

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