The latest chapter in the long-standing relationship between the Düsseldorf Schauspielhaus and Optocore has seen the theatre upgrade its analogue network, installed in 2011, to an advanced and future-proof system. The scale of the multi-space complex requires an agile digital infrastructure with multiple routing options and interconnectivity to meet the requirement of ever more demanding productions.

Düsseldorf SchauspielhausThe latest integration – undertaken by Amptown System Company (ASC) and overseen by the Theatre’s Tonmeister (and Deputy Head of Sound), Torben Kärst, who designed the audio system, alongside head of department, Peer Seuken and video specialist Tim Deckers – covers the installation of Optocore M-series Madi boxes in the 800-seat main theatre and 350-seat studio theatre, with an Optocore AutoRouter in the latter.

The main building of the three-building complex, including Foyer, Rehearsal Stage and Recording Studio, is now linked by Madi.

‘The installation was about achieving increased routing options, better sound quality, an increased channel count and greater flexibility,’ Kärst says. ‘In terms of transmission, it was mandatory to keep system latency as low as possible. This is where Optocore is absolutely the market leader. Reliability and small form factor of the devices, enabling large decentralised systems to be built, are further reasons why Optocore was the choice for us.’

From the original proposal for a standalone Optocore system in the smaller studio theatre came the possibility of exchanging audio signals between both the larger and smaller theatres.

‘The greatest leap forward was when we decided to centralise our entire wireless system,’ Kärst explains. ‘Since then, we have been able to send audio signals across the whole building.’ Crucially, this third house loop, complementing the Optocore/DiGiCo loops in both the large and small venues, proved to be a much simpler but more powerful version of the original design.

Düsseldorf SchauspielhausThe integration now features an Optocore AutoRouter, multiple Madi devices, connected to the DiGiCo system and Optocore’s new sample rate converter. ‘It is the centre point of the house loop,’ Kärst says. ‘With this device, we distribute our 56 radio mics and feed the 16 IEM devices. It’s also the clock master of the whole audio system.’

Another advance is the installation of an Optocore AutoRouter in the smaller theatre. ‘With AutoRouter there is no need for patch cables to close a loop, as this is now done automatically. Each connection point on stage is connected to the AutoRouter as well as the permanent devices as a loop and our DiGiCo console. Connecting the console separately, and not as part of the permanent loop, provides us the possibility to power off the console and check the optical status of the system using the Optocore control software. So we are able the see the RX and TX power of each transceiver in the system, which makes troubleshooting much easier.’

At the same time, the theatre’s tech team had kept abreast of developments with Optocore partner company, BroaMan. As a result, three BroaMan Repeat48 devices have now been deployed for video distribution. It was Torben Kärst’s task to ensure full integration and interconnection between audio and video.

Summing up the improvements, Kärst is unequivocal: ‘For the small venue, we now have an increased channel count with fixed installed connection points spread all over the hall. This includes mic/line inputs, line outputs, loudspeaker outputs and video I/O, as well as sufficient Cat7 and fibre ports – that creates an awful lot of flexibility.’

More: www.optocore.com

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