Les Champs Libres

Incorporating a science museum, planetarium, conference room, exhibition hall and main city library, the Les Champs Libres in Rennes recently hosted an experimental sound system designed to allow six sound designers to ‘sculpt’ artworks that could be moved in space.

The set-up uses eight Amadeus PMX-5 loudspeakers and two ML-12 subs distributed around the exhibition hall, with a Q-Sys 110F core and a pair of Powersoft Ottocanali 4K4 DSP + Dante 8-channel amplifiers. Using a Luminex GigaCore 12 Gigabit Ethernet switch, this AoIP platform supported playout of FLAC audio files to allow the sound creations made by these sound designers, and mixed to eight channels.

Les Champs LibresTwo Q-Sys AES67 transmitters send dedicated streams to both four channel Powersoft amplifiers via the Luminex GigaCore 12 switch, while the recent AES67 compatibility of QSC’s Q-Lan audio router and Powersoft DSP + Dante amplifiers, along with the Q-Sys plug-ins, enable the system integration.

Behind the project is Conference & Exhibition Hall Production Manager, Dewi Seignard, with the installation undertaken by his in-house team, using equipment supplied by local A/V system specialists, Videlio-IEC. Created within a busy events cycle of conferences, exhibitions, installations, it was originally intended to be a temporary exhibition. ‘However it quickly became evident that it would remain for future events,’ Seignard says.

Seignard had been contacted ahead of the project by the venue’s director and asked to come up with a design solution to meet the artistic requirements, He then took the project from conception to installation in the venue hall, which links to all other areas of the complex.

Powersoft had been recommended by Amadeus’ Gaetan Byk and scientist Michel Deluc, as representing the best integrated amplification and processing solution. ‘Also, there was the possibility offered by the Armonìa suite, as well as its ease of use, which completely convinced me,’ he confirms. ‘As for Q-Sys, one of the main advantages of this system is that it allows non experts (with a sufficient IT background) to make a management system with various access levels, while the Q-Sys designer interface allows the system architecture to be designed depending on needs.’

The production manager made sure he had plenty of system headroom, opting for two Ottocanali 4K4 DSP + D amplifiers. ‘Because we were unsure of the applications uses of this installation when we chose the products, it was essential that we made as much provision for the future as possible. We were already aware of the possibilities offered by Audio-over-IP as well as the AES67 standard since we already chose this last year for our conference rooms, while my colleague, who manages the A/V for exhibitions also bought Amadeus Audio PMX8D speakers and ML15D sub which hosts Dante cards.

‘Another factor when we chose the gear was the possibility for the installation working autonomously once programming was completed. Q-Sys manages the power on and off for the amplifiers as well as monitoring – thanks to a plug-in dedicated to the Powersoft amps.’

Powersoft Ottocanali 4K4 DSP + Dante 8-channel amplifiers

However, at the time of choosing the gear the AES67 interoperability of the Q-Sys system and Powersoft Dante module had only just been announced – and they needed to wait for firmware integration. But remained confident throughout, despite having analogue/AES cables available as backup (the amps automatically switch between the sources in the event of a Dante/AES67 network failure).

There are obvious advantages of this design: ‘In a venue like ours, it isn’t always easy to avoid the electromagnetic disruption which can interfere with the audio signals over long cable distances. The two Powersoft amplifiers are located around 25m away and so an IP infrastructure allows us to be to free of this distance issue. We can also envisage future interconnection of the different areas in the venue with a standard IT network infrastructure.

Summing up, Signard reports that the sound designers appreciated the way in which their creations had been realised and reproduced. ‘During the final mixing stage, they were able to acknowledge the full dimension of their artworks. Finally, despite the challenging nature of the venue for accurate sound reinforcement, the combination of Q-Sys, Powersoft and Amadeus Audio has worked wonders.

‘We can now see that having such a high level of integration will allow us to answer future needs and consider interconnections that were until now impossible. Furthermore, we have a proper system monitoring solution from a simple tablet or PC situated on the other side of the building, enabling us to take appropriate action within the actual audio processing architecture.’

‘We worked very closely with Powersoft’s highly responsive team through the whole duration of the project. The processing and monitoring efficiency, coupled with the flexibility of the amplification, the quiet cooling system and the AES67 interoperability of the Powersoft Ottocanalli DSP+Dante amps allowed us to make a reliable installation, which sees us perfectly placed for the future.

More: www.powersoft-audio.com

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