Peter Gabriel at the 02 Arena
Replacing drums and guitars with a 54-piece orchestra, Peter Gabriel’s New Blood Orchestra performed cover songs to sellouts at amphitheaters and arenas around Europe.

Delivering an even orchestral sound to large audiences required finely controlled loudspeaker zones for FOH engineer Richard Sharrat, who used nine sends from a DiGiCo SD-7 desk with a Yamaha DME/Dante-MY16-AUD to transfer AES outputs to a Dante network.

‘This replaced a 32-pair return snake and delivered far greater control of the sound,’ says Josh Lloyd, Systems Technician for Brit Row Production. ‘Dante gives the reassurance that there is plenty of headroom in the network, and that everything will work reliably show after show.’

Brit Row Productions (BRP) used single-mode fibre as opposed to the older multimode fibre. The advantages of single-mode fiber over Multi-mode fibre are; greater potential bandwidth (the medium on which 10 Giga Bit Ethernet is transported), and longer maximum distances (up to 160km in one hop).

Another feature of Dante used by Lloyd is its Multicast vs Unicast settings tool, which in a tour of this size and complexity, made Lloyd’s job much easier. ‘Dante, being a truly IP-over-Ethernet compliant system allows a wide variety of network topologies to be used. Because signal only goes to the places where it is needed, there is no wastage of network bandwidth. Traditionally this could only be achieved with considerable time spent configuring network settings and audio channel settings’.

‘Dante’s configuration tool makes it a no brainer,’ he adds. ‘f the signal needs to go to several places, I choose multicast, if it needed to go to one place then unicast. The great thing about Dante, is that it will ‘show its workings’ but not force you into making a decision if you are happy with what it suggests’.

The DME also allows fine system matrix control and testing of the system independently of the console and FOH engineer. Final system EQ was achieved using two Dolby Lake Processors running MESA EQ modules, to an additional five Dolby Lake Processors and a Lab.gruppen LM26 acting as crossovers for the PA all distributed via Dante over fibre.

As with most Peter Gabriel tours, multi-media and video plays a big part of the show. When an audio feed was required to the video department, it took very little time to set up – the sound engineers plugged an Ethernet cable into a conveniently located switch, setup the patch on Dante Controller, and gave the video crew a clean feed, without having to consider complex routing or topology issues. This speed of deployment and flexibility meant that the sound engineers could concentrate on their main job, which is delivering great sounding audio to the audience.

‘Using Dante on a tour of this size makes load-in and load-outs much faster, is easy to use and understand and most of all, gives me the kind of audio control I could only dream about a few short years ago,’ Lloyd concludes.

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