Fohhn expands in the US with a subsidiary & STIRLING

Back in October, Fohhn has appointed STIRLING Communications Supply Co. as their distribution partner in the US as well as SYMCO Inc. as its exclusive representative firm for the US North-East region.
Stirling inventory and logistics capacities will be an advantage for Fohhn products availability in the US, while SYMCO’s experienced sales team focuses on actively developing the market in the region.

During the last few years, Fohhn has been focusing on expanding its presence in the American continent. After exhibiting at InfoComm in 2022 and 2023 and establishing new partnerships in the US and Latin America, Fohhn decided to create the Miami-based Fohhn Audio Americas LLC in June 2023. Fully owned by Fohhn, the new subsidiary will guarantee seamless sales and support to partners, consultants, end users and integrators alike, in both North and South America.

From left to right : Nico Schwarz (Marketing Fohhn), Fernando Vidal Wagner (Sales Fohhn), Uli Haug (Sales/Marketing Director Fohhn), Frank M. Culotta (President Stirling), Jochen Schwarz (CEO Fohhn), Daniel Pilar (General Manager Stirling)

Fohhn’s sales director, Uli Haug: “We are very happy to have found a highly experienced and specialized distributor in Stirling who emphasises the highest quality in the pro-AV audio sector.”

Excited about the new partnership, Stirling Communications is eager to distribute Fohhn’s products in the North American market. “We are thrilled to add Fohhn to our portfolio, we know their products and solutions will receive an enthusiastic welcome amongst our customers” commented Frank Culotta, Stirling Communications’ CEO.

“Fohhn’s expertise and products offering is the perfect combo. We are glad to have the opportunity to collaborate with them and help them reach new goals!” added Daniel Pilar, General Manager at Stirling.

More information on:

– The Fohhn website
– The Stirling Communications website
– The Symco Inc. website


F-Drive now compatible with Irideon and Source Four Mini LED

ETC announces F-Drive compatible versions of Irideon FPZ, Irideon WLZ, and Source Four Mini LED. These additions make it even easier to pair ETC luminaires with ETC’s flagship LED driver solution. Direct connection to the F-Drive system enables facilities to build more cost-effective lighting systems, all backed by a state-of-the-art lighting control solution.

The award-winning F-Drive LED power system is both modular and centralized for easy installation and maintenance. Swappable driver cards and power supplies in the F-Drive R12 rack make all critical components readily accessible. A wide variety of LED systems, including Irideon and Source Four Mini LED, can take advantage of the centralized drive and power structure of F-Drive to reduce costs and simplify the remote lighting positions.

Source Four Mini for F-Drive offers a compact LED solution that fits seamlessly into any lighting system. The Source Four Mini LED delivers everything users expect from the Source Four brand: ease of use, superior optics, crystal-clear image projection, and a bright, even field with the superior characteristics of DMX control. This luminaire is ideal for museums, retail outlets, restaurants, light labs, children’s theatres, and more.

Irideon FPZ for F-Drive and Irideon WLZ for F-Drive bring a sleek design to any F-Drive system. Both Irideon architectural luminaires feature exceptional light output and intuitive controls that are built right into the fixture. With an unassuming industrial design, the Irideon family fits right in any space.

Video Presentation

For more information on F-Drive, visit ETC’s website at


GR-Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre boosts Robe inventory

GR-Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre (GR) is a bustling 23-hall venue operating in the middle of the Slovenian capital, hosting a variety of national and international expos and trade fairs. It is also used for television productions, special live events, and some music concerts.
Recently, the venue has boosted its Robe moving light stock with the purchase of Esprites, LEDBeam 350s and LEDBeam 150s which have been added to their existing ParFects, Spiider LED wash beams, MegaPointes and LEDBeam 150s. All this equipment has been delivered by Robe’s Slovenian distributor, MK Light Sound.

GR’s head of AV, Boris Kutin on the left with MK Light Sound’s Dean Karov.

“We own a quantity of equipment which is available site-wide for different events as needed, and if more is required, we cross rent,” explained Boris Kutin, the venue’s head of AV and part of a technical team ensuring all GR productions are delivered smoothly and with high production values.
The Esprites were specified as a quality profile luminaire for their excellent white light, versatility, accurate shutter system and the remote beam shaping which can be executed via the lighting console. Also, they are popular and commonly available in Slovenia thanks to the MK Light Sound’s proactivity and hard work.

The initial batch of LEDBeam 150s proved so handy and useful that it made sense to get more. Providing fantastic power for the tiny size, they can be fitted into sets and stages almost everywhere!

The LEDBeam 350s were new to the venue

LEDBeam 350s

They were chosen as a solution to sit between the LEDBeam 150s and Spiiders. The excellent 3.8 to 60 degree zoom means they can be an effective wash light as well as a piercing beam and an efficient spot, while the compact size is perfect for events across all the spaces at GR, which are both large and small.

“We need a full range of different lights at our disposal, that’s our strategy and this will shape our future investments,” confirmed Boris. Their decision-making process involves plenty of dialogue with lighting designers, programmers, technicians, and those regularly working around the venue, alongside general market research into current and popular technologies and trends. GR’s CEO Iztok Bricl is also involved.

Most events staged at the venue have lighting designed by the in-house team, and the schedule encompasses a mix of conferences, expos, hybrids, product presentations, brand activations, concerts, corporate events, gala evenings, awards shows, prom dances, new year celebrations and even some weddings. It is a truly ‘multipurpose’ venue in every sense of the word! They also present their own massive trade shows like the annual International Home Fair, which is the largest specialized construction industry fair in Slovenia, primarily aimed at builders and renovators.

“Nature Health” is another big one. Running for the 53rd time later in 2023, these highlight businesses operating in ecological construction, renewable energy resources, landscaping, and waste recycling in addition to wellness, healthy food and cosmetics.

The venue also frequently showcases the work of young and emerging fashion designers, and there is never a dull or a quiet moment all year round! During Covid, GR was a regular venue for TV broadcasts and one hall was converted into a streaming studio, with the help of all their Robe lights.

“We fully trust Robe’s quality and reliability as a brand,” confirms Boris when asked what they considered the main advantages of the ongoing investments. The team enjoys working with Robe fixtures when they are staging shows lit by their own LDs, and the brand is frequently requested on riders and technical specs and by visiting LDs coming to work at the venue for specific projects.

Boris added that technical back up and support is “obviously” another consideration, and they have full confidence in MK Light Sound taking care of this aspect of the relationship.

For more info about Robe lighting, you can visit


Slovenian rockers Joker Out on tour with Robe

Indie Rockers Joker Out are the hottest musical act of the moment in Slovenia. 2023 has been a mega-busy year with lots of touring shows, representing Slovenia at the Eurovision Song Contest in the UK, and recently playing a concert at Stožice, the Ljubljana’s biggest arena venue, … which was lit by Klemen Krajnc, from the Blackout design studio.

© Matic Kutin

This was an fully Robe moving light rig – with 100 Robe luminaires breaking down as 32 x MegaPointes, 64 x Spiiders, 19 x LEDBeam 150s and 13 x FORTES plus a quantity of strobes and LED floods.
Klemen started with the band in 2021 when he was asked to light the launch of Umazane misli, their first album. Robe is is still his mobile lighting brand of choice, and it’s a popular choice for all his Blackout LD colleagues including Crt Birsa who is another big Robe advocate from Slovenia.

© Crt Birsa

The initial point for this gig was a semi-circular LED screens upstage screen to define the stage space. It was masked into an elegant semi-circle, and in front of that was a semi-circular truss, with 12 floating ‘finger’ trusses in the upstage / downstage orientation – eight above and two per side – providing the overhead lighting, all of which looked a lot more interesting than a regular rectangular design.

© Crt Birsa

The stage also had a front thrust allowing the band to get close up with their very enthusiastic fans. They wanted four follow spots for the mobile members of the band and one static one for the drummer rigged on the venue’s own rectangular truss. Initially he’d specified Robe BMFL WashBeams for this, but as lighting contactor Intralite had recently invested in FORTES, when they were offered for this gig, Klemen jumped at the chance! “I was super impressed,” he reiterated.

© Crt Birsa

Four of the FORTES were located on camera platforms at the back of the arena and – fitted with the special handles – used as manual follow spots. Klemen ran all parameters from the desk so the operators were free to concentrate just on getting smooth and nice movement.

Eight more FORTES were rigged on trussing flown in the middle of the venue, used for front and key lighting, with another single upstage centre for back lighting the singer. Klemen has used FORTES before on some corporate shows, so he knew that they were “extraordinary lights” but using them on a concert like this really assisted how he could light the show.

The 19 x LEDBeam 150s were rigged on the back side of the half-circular truss framing the screen where they were great for piercing beam effects and for pointing up and lighting the architecture of the trusses and of the semi-circular truss itself.

The 32 x MegaPointes were divided into two sets of 16. The first set was positioned upstage on the deck for firing through powerful effects, with the second on the half circle truss, providing fat back spot beams from this higher position. Klemen loves MegaPointes and Pointes, both are also a go-to fixture him, but only the more powerful MegaPointe was used on this show.

@Matic Kutin

He considers Spiiders are still “the best” LED washes right now and loves their fat beams but also the clarity and definition of the edges. He appreciates the added flexibility of being able to use the LED rings for different effects and looks. Three Spiiders were rigged on each of the finger trusses, with another 8 luminaires a side lining the catwalk, plus another 24 on the mid-venue rectangular house truss.

While it wasn’t a massive rig for the profile of the show or the size of the venue, Klemen is very aware that the design was “completely appropriate” and enabled him to achieve all the desired creative goals for the band. Each light worked hard and had to be multifunctional and efficient.

© Crt Birsa

He programmed and operated the lighting himself and enjoyed the show as he does all Joker Out shows for the energy and zeal that goes into their live performance. “They know how to entertain and put on a great show for fans,” he noted, “and it’s brilliant to be working in this environment.”

The half circle truss design made it a little challenging to get some optimal lighting positions, but nothing that could not be overcome by some smart positioning and rigging, explained Klemen. Naturally, being a one-day event with very little time for any programming on site, he made the most of visualisation tools and opportunities.

More information on the Robe website


The Biggest L-Acoustics Sound System Ever for the Pope

World Youth Day was first celebrated in 1985 at the invitation of Pope John Paul II, who organised a gathering in Rome on Palm Sunday to celebrate the Youth Jubilee of the Holy Year of Redemption. Sixty thousand young Catholics were expected, but 250,000 people from different countries came. Today, the event is celebrated every three to four years in a different country. In 2023, World Youth Day took place over six days in Lisbon, attracting over 1.5 million attendees.

The largest event ever to be hosted in the city of Lisbon, the expansive, 100-hectare riverside Parque Tejo served as the primary location, with a massive stage and a series of screens and audio systems set up along a 3.5km-long open-air space to accommodate the international audience. Supporting the event with concert audio capable of serving the massive crowds was an L-Acoustics K Series sound system, designed and deployed by Pixel Light.

The 40-metre-wide and 24-metre-high stage conceived by architect João Matos was the platform for Pope Francis’ message of hope and unity to the world’s youth at World Youth Day.

Headlining the event, Pope Francis delivered a message of hope and unity to the world’s youth from a 40-metre-wide and 24-metre-high stage conceived by architect João Matos. For Pixel Light, the challenge of creating a sound system that could encompass such an audience while maintaining impeccable speech clarity was familiar.

An L-Acoustics rental partner since 2016, Pixel Light has a solid foundation of successful collaboration on major projects such as the Eurovision Song Contest 2018. For World Youth Day, Pixel Light’s daunting challenge was to ensure comprehensive audio and video coverage to 1.5 million people over a sprawling 3.5 km expanse, enabling everyone to fully experience speech clearly, no matter their distance from the stage.

The audio engineering crew who worked on the installation at World Youth Day. From left to right – Bernardo Jobling and Rafael Pereira from Pixel Light and Tom LaVeuf and Tim McCall from L-Acoustics.

“Our goal was to achieve a minimum of 97 dB SPLA, considering the outdoor environment, wind, and the sheer number of attendees,” explains Rafael Pereira, System Engineer and Sound Designer at Pixel Light.
“Soundvision was instrumental in helping us predict coverage and balance the SPL across the entire audience area.”

Pixel Light opted exclusively for L-Acoustics products. Given the magnitude of the undertaking, this allowed them to create a comprehensive and consistent solution. “I believe we used every available piece of L-Acoustics equipment in Europe,” says Sérgio Antunes, Project Manager for World Youth Day. “This decision not only met our needs but also significantly contributed to the project’s resounding success.”

A crowd view of four of the L-Acoustics K2 delay towers placed to ensure comprehensive crowd coverage.

Rafael broke up the massive space into more than 72 parcels of 5,000 to 10,000 square metres, each with its own screen and sound system. “I never thought it would be possible to cover a space like this with just 109 towers,” says Rafael Pereira.

Two days were required to set up the network. LA Network Manager helped the team at Pixel Light manage the close to 300 L-Acoustics amplified controllers.

“I decided to try modelling it in Soundvision anyway, and I couldn’t believe it. It was possible. I used this 3D Soundvision model to show the client how it could be done, which helped convince them to award us the project.”

In all, Pixel Light deployed a record-breaking total of 1,100 L-Acoustics loudspeakers both on stage and over an incredible 109 delay towers. This powerful assembly included 128 K1 line source speaker units, 272 K2, and 132 K3. Additionally, 528 Kara modular line source speakers were deployed, along with 24 dV-DOSC. The system was driven by 196 LA12X and 93 LA8 amplified controllers. Pixel Light built a network of audio and control systems using 103 kilometres of fibre, and more than 300 switches to connect everything together.

Some of the 110 delay towers which bore 1,100 L-Acoustics loudspeakers, each one powered by a single LA-RAK.

Pulling from a pool of several different L-Acoustics speaker lines, Rafael Pereira prioritised even tonal balance and SPL with the objective of providing speech intelligibility in the speech range. “I was limited to one LA-RAK per delay tower.

Taking this into account and to facilitate load-in/load-out, I created five varying types of arrays that included four K1 over six Kara; eight K2; 12 Kara,12 K3; or four V-DOSC over six dV-DOSC.” It took a team of 24 people and six days to fly the sound system. Two days were required to set up the network, and then two more days were used for tuning and rehearsal.
“From the onset, we knew this project was destined to be colossal in size, but the final outcome surpassed even our wildest imaginations. Our dedicated team ensured the best possible coverage, delivering an unrivalled audio experience that resonated with every single one of the 1.5 million attendees. From the start of the event to its conclusion, the feedback from the production team was nothing short of positive, not a single audio complaint was registered,” concludes Sergio Antunes.

More on Pixel Light and on L-Acoustics

Robert Juliat Dalis 862 footlights in front of the Palais Garnier

On 12 November in Paris, 163 Robert Juliat Dalis 862 footlights took part in the unique Chiroptera show, a collaborative project by JR, Damien Jalet and Thomas Bangalter.
The public gathered at the Place de l’Opéra watched an impressive 20-minute ballet in front of the façade of the Palais Garnier, which was dressed in a huge trompe-l’œil fresco revealing the entrance to a cave, that masked the scaffolding currently covering the façade of the building as it is being restored.

“We worked closely with the three artists behind the project, and came up with a very specific lighting concept,” says Antoine D’Halluin, associate director of Concept K, a French company specialising in artistic creation. “We had to use lighting to serve the show while ensuring all the technology required for such a creation remained invisible to the audience. We therefore deliberately decided on a minimalist use of light sources to concentrate on the human element and bring this creation to life. The Dalis footlights lent themselves perfectly to this exercise.”

A total of 163 Robert Juliat Dalis 862 (1m) and 862S (50cm) footlights were used in variable white (2200K to 6500 K). A dozen Dalis 862S battens were used to illuminate the Prima Ballerina, Amandine Albisson, during the opening solo. The remaining 153 Dalis 862 footlights were clamped on the structure, in front of each of the 153 dancers spread between the uprights of the imposing scaffolding.

“The Dalis 862 footlights offered excellent intensity of colour and uniformity at very close range, with a very even distribution,” explains Antoine. “It’s also a very compact spotlight, with threaded inserts on the underside, so we were able to hang it upside down, above each dancer, and divert it from its traditional use as a foot light at the front of the stage!

“We played constantly with the dimming throughout the show, each batten having its own control based on each dancer movements. A subtle game of synchronisation and programming made it possible for the dancers to appear as required, or even create a giant matrix on which various messages were composed.”

The quality of light from the Dalis battens sublimated the faces of the dancers and their shining white and matt black costumes, putting the human element at the heart of this allegorical work about the tension between light and darkness.

For more information on the Robert Juliat Dalis family of lights


Deal for Robe ESPRITES at Atlantic Studios in Cape Town

Atlantic Studios, Cape Town, South Africa, is a cutting-edge multi-stage film and television production facility and a bustling hub of creative activity serving the Western Cape and far beyond.

@Louise Stickland

One of its current productions (produced by HBC Broadcasting Solutions) is the South African edition of Deal or No Deal (DoND), the popular risk taking gameshow where contestants make seat-edge decisions on whether to accept a cash offer from ‘the Banker’ in exchange for what might or might not be contained in a series of unassuming boxes.

@Louise Stickland

Lighting designer Daniel Louw is using some brand-new Robe ESPRITES which were purchased by HBC for this show and delivered by Robe’s South African distributor, DWR at the start of the recording period in February. Dan is a freelance lighting designer / director and has worked on several projects at the studios which also has other Robe moving lights Pointes, miniPointes, LEDBeam 100s and ParFects.

@Louise Stickland

When he created the original lighting design and specification for Deal or No Deal, he wanted some moving lights to add dynamics and movement to the overall pictures and shots.

The recording schedule is intense with a total of 260 episodes which are broadcasting on SABC 1 until the end of March 2024. Twenty contestants start each round of the competition, hopeful of scoring the big money, and it’s proving a massive hit with South African audiences.

Dan wanted a light that was versatile, with a good CRI, a great selection of CT whites and that was available at short notice as the investment was green lighted with only weeks to spare before shooting commenced!
Luckily, DWR had some ESPRITES in stock, the deal was done, and the units were delivered to Cape Town, where Dan, series director Geoff Butler and producers Paul Venter & Jaco Loubser, are delighted with the results.

Robe Esprite.

The four ESPRITES are all positioned on the studio floor where they can be easily accessed and moved to new positions as needed. They are used for beam work, eye candy and for cool back-of-camera effects and gap filling as well as to create interest and movement and help to build the tension at appropriate times.

They are the only moving lights on the rig and Dan is delighted with the results. “We knew we would be shooting at high light levels generally, so I wanted something that could punch through for the cameras which they do brilliantly! They are consistent, the shutters are accurate, the colours from the LED engine are excellent and they are a robust and sturdy fixture.”

In addition to the high light levels from the 48 profile fixtures on the overhead rig used for key and back lighting, Michael Gill’s slick modern set contains a lot of integral LED, making the whole environment even brighter!

Dan adds that the ESPRITES really “hold their own” in this context and will be great for other productions once DoND wraps up! “They are a solid overall asset,” he concluded.
He is running the lights using a grandMA3 console.

Dan has worked as a lighting professional since 2012, up to the pandemic this was mainly for music shows and assorted events. When that side of the industry crashed in 2020, he managed to transfer his skills and experience to the TV, film and broadcast world which he also enjoys, and which can benefit from crossover ideas gleaned from working in other disciplines.

@Louise Stickland

He has utilised Robe products on his various projects for many years BMFLs, Pointes, MegaPointes, etc. He remarks that Robe’s products are “great workhorses, good quality and almost never break,” while he believes their most recent LED moving lights have properly addressed the needs of television and broadcast lighting.

For more info, you can visit


ETC’s Halcyon fixtures join Comédie-Française in Paris

ETC’s best-in-class automated fixtures range Halcyon has been selected by the renowned Parisian theatre, la Comédie-Française. A total of 27 Halcyon Platinum fixtures and 12 Halcyon Gold fixtures have been installed at the famous theatre which has several productions including French plays by Molière, Racine, Corneille and others.
A cultural institution, la Comédie-Française is the only French national theatre to have a permanent drama troupe which has been the same since 1680.

Sales Manager for France Nicolas Da Canal comments: “la Comédie-Française already has High End Systems SolaFrame Studio, SolaFrame 2000 and SolaFrame 3000 moving lights installed which have been particularly appreciated for their color-mixing quality.

The team at the theatre were therefore happy to again proceed with High End Systems automated lights in their process of further transitioning to LED.” The Halcyon Gold fixtures have been integrated in the over-stage rig on the first electric position and the Halcyon Platinum fixtures are further upstage at higher trim heights.

“The advantage of the Platinum is that even in the High Fidelity version, you still get 38,000 lumens as standard, and up to 46,000 when you use the boost mode. That is less than the 70,000 lumens of the Ultra-Bright version, but it’s enough to make the fixture very versatile.
And above all, the High-Fidelity engine has a CCT of 6000 K, which is close to HMI sources making this move over to LED a little smoother,” adds Nicolas Da Canal.

The High End Systems Halcyon range consists of Halcyon Gold, Titanium and Platinum, three sizes of luminaire with matching feature sets, exceptional colors and an increased output all at a reduced cost. In addition to this they come in two LED engine options: Ultra-Bright or High Fidelity.

The Ultra-Bright version, which, as its name suggests, favors output for concert and event applications, while the High Fidelity version focuses more on color rendering making it a popular choice for TV, theatre and opera.

B-Live, one of ETC’s commercial partners in France, delivered the fixtures to la Comédie-Française. They were installed during the summer break and the venue has recently re-opened with the new equipment.

To find out more and request a demo, visit


NicLen integrates the Astra Hybrid330 Prolights into their rental offerings!

Dry hire company NicLen is adding the Astra Hybrid330 Prolights to its inventory. This hybrid LED head has rapidly become one of the reference moving head for this German company.

The Astra Hybrid330 is a hybrid LED moving head with an excellent flux/size ratio, producing a wide range of visual effects. Its zoom offers a linear range from 3.5° to 52°, with a 140mm front lens. This combination produces an intense beam and uniform illumination, delivering a flux of 11700 lm (@52°) and surpassing the uniformity of discharge lamp projectors in its class.

The Astra Hybrid330 incorporates a variety of functions: aerial effects with a dense parallel beam and sharp projection textures, pattern effects, linear CMY, three colour wheels, an animation wheel, two superimposed prisms, frost and two gobo wheels.

CEO Jörg Stöppler is thrilled about its superior performance and adaptability, stating, “The combination of high light output, compact size, and versatility convinced us to include the Astra Hybrid330 in our inventory.”



The Fabrique Opéra Val de Loire inaugurated the cooperative opera concept in Orléans in 2013. By programming one opera each year in a venue able to host as many people as possible, the association is making opera more widely accessible and popular. With adapted set designs and staging that includes narration in French, the show provides new keys to greater comprehension, thus reaching out to the broadest possible audience.

This year we returned to the Fabrique Opéra at the Zénith in Orléans for a performance of La Tosca, this time with an added dimension. Thanks to system engineer Franck Niederoest, and the support of Adamson and their French distributor DV2, the sound reinforcement for the show was spatialized using the FletcherMachine, a first for the production and for the technical team.

© Alain Mauron

The result was a satisfying sonic experience and the awareness of the audience that they were sharing in an extraordinary event. After this, it will be difficult to go back to the way things were before. The best way to understand the benefits of spatialized audio is to listen to Séverine Gallou and Sylvain Béziat, who did the mixing, and Franck Niederoest, who set up the system.

For Franck Niederoest, the project was a first. The sound system was set up after several conversations with Julien Poirot – responsible for System Support and Education at DV2 – about the rules to follow for this type of project, as well as the adaptations required to cope with its constraints. A day of preparation with the Adamson team and DV2 helped define the approach to spatialization and confirm the right system to deploy. It was easy to implement, quickly delivering the desired results..

Overall view of the spatial system installed for the stands, the three floor seating areas and the monitors.

SLU : Can you tell us about the spatialized audio system installed for this opera?

Franck Niederoest : The Adamson system consisted of five main FoH arrays, each composed of nine Adamson S10 enclosures suspended under a single S119 subwoofer. On the floor we had three lines of four IS5Cs in front of each section of the floor seating.

For monitors, there was a row of three hangs of four CS7P amplified enclosures each, flown from the ceiling. This system was fully spatialized by a FletcherMachine (AFM) Traveler 64/32 Dante.

SLU : Spatialized monitoring is a rare thing…

Franck Niederoest : The big advantage of this spatialized monitoring is its efficiency and speed. With this option, the monitors are, apart from a few details, a replica of the front-of-house mix. So as soon as the front-of-house balance was ready, it was immediately ready in the monitors too, and the singers were able to work immediately with a sound that corresponded visually to the orchestra. The mixing engineers then made improvements by choosing in detail which sound objects they would send. We just added a few speakers in areas obstructed by the scenery.

At the very top, hanging from a truss, are the three arrays of four Adamson CS7Ps handling the monitoring. And what’s more, they’re spatialized! © Denis Guichard.

SLU : Where did this idea come from?

Franck Niederoest : During the day that we spent preparing with Adamson and DV2 on the FletcherMachine, we discussed how we could quickly and efficiently generate the audio for the monitors. Julien Poirot came up with the idea of this spatialized line. We just had to add one more layer to the FletcherMachine.

SLU : How many layers did you use altogether?

Franck Niederoest : The complete spatialization of the mix was managed with six layers. A main layer for the five FoH arrays, one for the subs – yes, we also work with subs in spatialized mode – three layers for the front fills, so that we can adjust the mix for each section on the floor, and a final layer for the monitors.

SLU : How did you go about setting up the system?

Franck Niederoest : It was the first time I’d set up a spatialized system, but I can’t say it was particularly complicated. It requires a bit more work because there are more rigging points and hoists, more speaker boxes, a few more amps, but it’s nothing dramatic. It’s just a different process. Once it’s all been hung up in the air, we do an initial routing to calibrate it and take our measurements. Once the calibration is complete, we move on to routing through the FletcherMachine. All this is done via Dante and it all goes very smoothly.

Good coverage for the stands. For the three floor sections, you must also keep in mind the impact of direct sound.

I calibrated it one array at a time, so as to obtain the same response on each of them. I do multi-measurements from four points, in the air and on the ground for the average. That’s all I do. The rest is handled by the FletcherMachine.

For the front fills, it was a little different. The difficulty here in an arena was to establish a good transition between the proximity of the orchestra to the front rows and the clusters that covered the stands.

On the floor, we created a mix between the direct sound of the orchestra and the front fills with the IS5Cs, into which the instruments and vocals were simply sent for reinforcement. It was a very good compromise and a bit of a challenge for the sound engineer.

SLU : What about distribution and amplification?

Franck Niederoest : All the signal distribution was managed via Dante in 48 kHz mode, since all the consoles, amplifiers and processors were linked and therefore set to 48 kHz, due to this limit of the CL5, and all this was managed on six layers of the FletcherMachine. Amplification of the complete spatialized sound system was provided by 13 PLM20K44s and 3 PLM10000Qs.

A view of the network built around three Ghost switches linked by fibre, which carry Dante, but that’s not all!

SLU : Was this spatialized system easy to install?

Franck Niederoest : It’s always a challenge to fit the sound package and the lighting package together. With all the constraints of the Zenith and those of integrating the orchestra, it was a good little challenge and a lot of AutoCAD and 3D to figure out how everything was going to work well together. With a traditional system, we would have opened up a bit more and used a central array and front fills, so there weren’t that many differences.

SLU : So, compared with a non-spatialized sound system, what’s your impression?

Franck Niederoest : The huge advantage I felt was that each cabinet had more dynamics and bandwidth, which gave the system much more spaciousness. I thought that just the five subwoofers in the air would be a bit strained… but for symphonic music, it was impeccable. It really made me stop and think.

The Zenith, five arrays of perfectly lit S10 Adamson and six layers: everything is ready. © Denis Guichard

SLU : So, what about the future?

Franck Niederoest : All in all, this was a fantastic adventure. Now I want to do more. We’re going to do it again next year. The future project will tell us whether we keep the FletcherMachine Traveler 64/32 with its six output layers or whether we’ll have to switch to the FletcherMachine Stage Standard, which has eight layers in a 64/64 format. We had a very nice aperture, with 22.8 meters of stage and 5.8 meters between each array. I might add two smaller ones at the ends.

I’d also like to place a few speakers around in the auditorium, to add an extra dimension. Just a few boxes flown from the ceiling to provide more of an envelope at the back of the grand stands and, for example, help diffuse the reflections a little more. With a large venue like Zenith, I’m not ready to go for a full 360° for reasons of coherence of perception, but the addition of a surround system to give the room a little more body seems like a good compromise to me.

Sylvain Thévenard (Adamson), Sylvain Béziat (Voice mixing engineer), Denis Guichard (DV2), Séverine Gallou (Orchestra mixing engineer), Franck Niederoest (System engineer), Julien Poirot (DV2), Martin Trinquart (RF manager). © Alain Mauron

Now that the system has been deployed, we’re back with the sound engineers who worked on the shows: Séverine Gallou for the orchestral mix and Sylvain Béziat for the vocal mix. It was a first for them too, and a hugely satisfying one, as you’ll see.

SLU : To begin with, tell us about yourselves and what your specialities are?

Séverine Gallou : I started working in live sound in 2003 after a stint in industrial acoustics and a period at ISB. My personal tastes drew me towards acoustic music, world music, jazz and classical, covering both front of house and monitor positions.
I met the team at “Violon sur le sable”, who organize concerts with a symphony orchestra on the beach at Royan on the Atlantic coast, where I do the monitors. They gave me my first taste of classical music sound systems back in 2005.

If you’ve never heard of Un Violon sur le Sable, click here for our report on this festival, which is both unique and very sandy for the equipment: Un violon, des potes et du STM dans le sable de Royan (A violin, some friends and STM in the sand at Royan).

Sylvain Béziat : I do a lot of live music. I grew up on jazz and world music, with a strong connection to acoustics. I joined the Fabrique Opéra in its first year in Orléans and we’ve been together ever since. This is my ninth year, and the first time I’ve used a spatialized system. So it was a big unknown on an important project with established habits, which we all know are as valuable as they are dangerous in this business. You have to challenge yourself. I’ve been wanting to try it for a long time, because it’s totally suited to the style of music I do.

SLU : On this opera, you are two engineers working together.

Séverine Gallou : Yes, the principle of the Fabrique Opéra is to have two mixing boards. One for mixing the voices, managed by Sylvain Béziat, and one for mixing the orchestra, which I do. There is no monitor console.

SLU : What was the mixing setup like?

Séverine Gallou : We mixed on Yamaha. I used a Rivage PM3 for the orchestra and Sylvain used a CL5 for the voices. I had two Rio D2 stage racks for the orchestra, for a total of 64 channels. We didn’t use any on-board miking, so it was all still overheads, but with the emphasis on proximity.

All Yamaha for the Voice and Orchestra mixing. © Denis Guichard

I had about fifty sources, which I sent individually in direct out to the FletcherMachine. I just made a few groupings to fit within the maximum of 64 objects allowed by our configuration. I also left some spare objects, so that I could cover any unforeseen needs during the rehearsals.

A tablet remote control for the FletcherMachine to mix the front fills.© Séverine Gallou

SLU : So there were actually two of you using the FletcherMachine?

Séverine Gallou : Yes. I’d send my direct outputs to the Fletcher and Sylvain would also send his for the voices. It was the Fletcher that mixed everything. We each had a remote computer with a touch screen to work on the same FletcherMachine. I also had a tablet that I could use to adjust the spatialization as I moved around the room. I used it for the front-fill mixes for the floor seating.

SLU : What changes did you have to make to your usual setup?

Sylvain Béziat : We usually use a left/right configuration, where the stage front is very wide, so we compensate with a central array. In terms of consoles, we had one that managed the voices and monitors, and another that went out front and took the voice premixes and mixed them with the whole orchestra.

Here, with the FletcherMachine, none of that could work. So we had to forget everything and use object mixing. Before the day of preparation, it seemed complex and just imagining it all took on enormous dimensions. In fact, I discovered that spatialization simplified things and made a lot of sense. It all came about with amazing simplicity and naturalness, and I have to say, it was delightful. I really enjoyed working on the project over those ten days.

The FletcherMachine Traveler, 64 spatialized objects in a small box! © Denis Guichard

SLU : Was the preparation day that you mentioned essential?

Sylvain Béziat : The prep day was extremely important. We had to rethink everything. You don’t arrive with your stereo mix to listen to… you need a multitrack. It allowed us to prepare everything and that was indispensable.

Séverine Gallou : Yes, of course, in order to get to know the FletcherMachine, which we weren’t familiar with. What’s more, you can get a free 24-input, 12-output virtual machine that runs on your own computer. I used it to train on the software before coming to Orléans.
I was able to put five small speakers in my living room with a simple sound card, plus a virtual soundcheck using an internal Blackhole virtual sound card that played orchestral instruments. I was able to get to know the software and do some very interesting audio tests.

SLU : Was it risky to opt to use a spatialized layer for the monitors?

Sylvain Béziat : When the idea of spatialized monitors was suggested to me, it seemed complicated in my mind. In the beginning I mixed the monitors, but with the Fletcher that wasn’t possible anymore. Generally I get a premix from the orchestra which I mix with the vocal monitors, and with an iPad I go on stage to adjust it. By using this spatialized line of speakers, the monitors spread out like the FoH system, no matter where you were, the perception of the sound image of the orchestra was perfect.

We ended up with a very natural sound and very uniform coverage of the stage. The result was surprising compared to very directional side-fill monitors. I had the impression that the orchestra was huge but I couldn’t hear the speakers. The singers didn’t have the proximity defect of conventional monitor speakers and it was very comfortable for them as they moved around. I just kept some proximity speakers around for additional reinforcement.

Séverine Gallou : This is a good example of what we mean when we talk about spatialization. Opera singers especially need monitoring from the orchestra and not necessarily themselves, because they have powerful voices. I usually do mono orchestral mixes in side-fills. But while switching from a stereo mix to mono remains coherent, with a spatialized mix as a starting point, I wondered how I was going to do it.

What’s more, as we’ll see, the processing I have to do for an immersive mix is quite different from that needed for a stereo mix, and even more so than for a mono mix. So I was very worried about that. The idea of spatializing the monitors came from this assessment and it proved to be extremely effective. We used a layer for the monitors that naturally followed the object mix, mirroring the front-of-house mix.

SLU : What about the singers?

Séverine Gallou : The singers appreciated this system, which was consistent with the physical position of the orchestra. Unlike with side-fill monitoring, there was no masking effect from the extras on stage. This was a significant added value for them. Usually, monitoring for singers is complicated. Louder…softer… a constant issue during rehearsals.

After the first day of setting up, it was ready to go. All the singers forgot that there were monitors. I just positioned the monitor speakers within the space in the FletcherMachine. All the mixing calculations in these three speaker arrays were actually done by the Fletcher. I hardly touched anything and everything was spot on. We had just two or three speakers to cover areas obscured by the scenery, into which I sent a simple mono downmix from the Fletcher, as well as other speakers for the dressing rooms and backstage.

The 64 objects in the Fletcher are divided between voices, choirs and orchestra.

SLU : Is this your first object mix?

Séverine Gallou : It was the first time I’d mixed spatialized objects. We were introduced to the FletcherMachine during our day of preparation. It was really helpful because, at first, I thought I was going to manage groups of instruments in the objects, for example 1st violins, 2nd violins…
But when I compared the spatialization of a stereo group of instruments with that of one object per instrument, I realized that it was like night and day.

With a stereo group, you have to do some fancy summing and send it to the spatialization, which is no longer the case with an object for each microphone. So I reconsidered all my preconceived ideas and sent all my microphone sources as direct outputs to dedicated objects.

SLU : Did you get the hang of it quickly?

Séverine Gallou : Pretty much. The key issue was how I placed my objects to begin with. I placed them visually, in their actual position in the orchestra, and then I refined them by listening. I’m firmly convinced that the crux of the matter is to have a system that’s set up properly so that, once the object is in the machine, if it’s placed in the right place, it reproduces the sound very naturally. Especially because here we have the direct source of the orchestra combined with it.

Sylvain Béziat : I’d chosen a CL5 because I was a bit worried about running a system I didn’t know very well. With this console that I know by heart, I was at ease. I wanted to be sure of this aspect so that I could concentrate fully on getting to know the immersive aspects.

Visualizing the level of presence of an object, in this case Tosca’s voice, in the various loudspeakers. You can also see that it’s not in the monitors.

Now I have to admit that, for next year, I’d like to switch to a console that allows me to have direct control over the objects. While the remote screen is essential for controlling positions and movements in real time, I got used to it very quickly.

I thought it was great to be able to visualize the levels of an object in the different speakers. It’s a very important point that reassures you and shows exactly what’s happening in the sound system. You understand very quickly and you can avoid unpleasant surprises when you move an object.

SLU : What were the rehearsals like?

Séverine Gallou : We had several rehearsals for the artistic and staging aspects. When they start, we must be ready with the sound equipment. When the orchestra arrives, it starts directly with the singers. So I’m already supposed to be able to provide orchestral sound on stage. I was able to negotiate half an hour of orchestra alone before the singers arrived and that was enough. The objects were ready, we’d programmed them in advance, and I was able to deliver sound even faster than with a traditional left/right.

The IS5C front fills, four for each of the three audience zones on the floor in front of the orchestra. © Alain Mauron

SLU : How did you manage the different zones of the audience?

Séverine Gallou : With the FletcherMachine layers. We had the front layer for the arrays at the front, the sub layer positioned in the same place, and then three layers of four small speakers, one layer for each floor-seating area to give them individual spatialization.

As these speakers are in the FletcherMachine at their physical position, there is not at all the same thing in each of these layers. But I could choose which layer to send each object to. I went and listened to each front fill with nothing in the main arrays and just added the instrument objects that were missing. It was a very transparent method.

For example, for the stage-left seating area, I would add more harps and violins. In the stage-right area, a little more woodwinds or bassoons. I really did it “à la carte” for each seating area. In the center there’s practically nothing because the orchestra is naturally acoustically balanced. Of course Sylvain sent all the singers’ voices there to bring back presence and intelligibility.

The front rows also benefit from the direct sound of the orchestra. © Denis Guichard

SLU : Despite the proximity of the audience, did it work?

Séverine Gallou : I only did it this way because the audience sits still and doesn’t move. We kept 1.5 meters between the front fills and the first row. The audience is therefore in the configuration required by this principle of spatialization, that is, in the coverage of at least three loudspeakers.

The five main arrays at the front only cover the grandstands. © Denis Guichard

The layers: Main (dark blue just below the pink), Subs (pink), the three floor areas (red, light blue, orange) and the monitors (ochre).

SLU : What about the main front-of-house layer?

Séverine Gallou : The main system only covered the stands, which was a good thing. If we’d chosen to go all the way to the floor with the arrays placed so high up, it would have given the impression that the sound was coming from the ceiling.

SLU : The subwoofers are spatialized with the FletcherMachine?

Séverine Gallou : The spectrum does go down with the double basses, timpani, etc… What I don’t like to do with classical music is to use subs on the floor, because you get an unwanted ground effect. Here, since I had a separate layer, I could choose the objects I sent to the subs.
I really liked the fact that there was no central point. As the subwoofer was integrated into the sound source, the bass of each of the instruments came out well at their position in the spatialization. You could say that the subs were spatialized in this way. For classical music, this is very nice and very natural. The fact that the arrays covered the whole spectrum with spatial coherence was a real plus.

The subwoofers are integrated into the main arrays and therefore spatialized, a distinctive feature of Adamson and the FletcherMachine. © Alain Mauron

SLU : And did you have to supply stem feeds?

Séverine Gallou : We still need feeds for video recording. I was able to choose what I put in it. So I supplied the orchestra in stereo and two stems, one for the lead voices and one for the choirs. I was amazed by the quality of the Fletcher’s mono and stereo downmixes.

Overview of orchestra objects only, the voices and choirs are hidden.

SLU : How did you handle the positioning of the objects for the orchestra?

Séverine Gallou : I soon realized that I’d thought too far ahead in terms of the positioning of the objects. In the end, my harp was completely in the stage-right array, but when it came out of the speakers it didn’t give the impression that it was physically coming from where it was.

I had to rethink the scale and proportions to tighten up the spatial image of the orchestra a little. To give myself limits, I went to the extremities and listened to the instruments with my eyes closed. I pointed to where I heard them and when I opened my eyes again if it wasn’t right, I corrected it in the Fletcher so that it still sounded as if the instruments were coming from where they were. That way you’d forget that you had a sound system.

The voices coming through the FletcherMachine, controlled by Sylvain’s finger, eye and ear. © Alain Mauron

Sylvain Béziat : The voices were going into all the layers. In the monitor layer, however, it wasn’t the case.

SLU : What about objects that moved?

Séverine Gallou : For me, there was no reason to make movements on a static orchestra, but for the voices it made sense, right Sylvain?

Sylvain Béziat : Of course! At the first rehearsal, I kept the voices in the center, as in stereo, and opened up the choirs a bit. But very quickly I decided that I was going to play around with it a lot more. I had to follow the voices. With La Tosca it’s quite easy. I was able to control it manually, without the help of trackers. I found a way of moving the objects that made the movement very natural.

Many people in the audience noticed that the sound image followed the singer. They appreciated this connection with the visuals, unlike a voice that remains in the center. You have to know the music and follow the staging. As I could only move one object on the screen, I favored certain movements over others and as this attracted the audience’s ear and attention, it worked very well.
I was sending MIDI commands from the CL5 to the Fletcher to recall snapshots. I did this a lot less than usual. I just used it on specific passages to bring a sound object back in. As I was moving the objects in real time, I avoided positional discrepancies between snapshot recalls and the current position. The aim is to keep a firm grip on the Fletcher. But, since we were both working on the same machine, discipline and communication were essential.

Only one reverb is used, the one in the FletcherMachine.

SLU : Did you use any reverb processors?

Séverine Gallou : The only reverb we used was the one included in the FletcherMachine. It works very well, it’s very easy to configure and it’s very natural. With an orchestra, I usually only use one reverb and here I could adjust it for each object as I wished.

I could add a little more on certain instruments like the harp and depending on the proximity of the microphone. For opera, we stick to a hall algorithm, which is natural. What’s more, the Fletcher has a grey bar that lets you see its reflection wall. You can easily adapt the reverb by moving this virtual wall.

Sylvain Béziat : I normally use a Bricasti. But here, I thought it would be absurd to include a stereo reverb in the spatialization. So I also used the Fletcher reverb on the vocals. I thought it sounded really good. No frustrations. It became very simple: you insert the reverb, extend it a little and that’s it. The kit is natural and you find yourself in a Zenith that’s much prettier. Of course, as soon as the audience arrives, we run out of reverb. You readjust and it’s done.

When the Zenith fills up, we adjust the reverb and that’s it. © Denis Guichard

SLU : Which features of the FletcherMachine did you really appreciate?

Sylvain Béziat : I have nothing negative to say about this software. There’s nothing missing. And we were lucky… Sylvain Thévenard, one of the Fletcher developers, came to our rehearsal day. I wanted to make a few small changes and he was able to develop a few things for us on the spot. We were really well supported. The interface makes it easy to see what’s important. It’s a real winner in terms of the user interface.

Controlling an object. Its level of input in each of the speakers is illustrated by the size of the disc. We can see that it is not sent to the subs or to the stage-right or center front fills.

Séverine Gallou : I found the software very intuitive and straightforward. Working with objects is very well conceived. The fact that you can group objects together is very practical for violins, for example. You can move groups of objects and elements within the group very easily.

There’s also the option to choose the operating mode by object or by layer, with the device managing a delay, a minimum delay or no delay. To be very clear, we’ve only used the minimum delay. But I think that at some point it may be necessary to be able to choose… maybe for the voices?

Sylvain Béziat : We stayed within the minimum delay but I cheated a bit. I used the software visualization to manage the depth of the sources. If I kept the position of the singers in relation to the plane of the loudspeakers, I found that my movements were more awkward. By moving them away from the speaker plane, the lateral movements were more fluid. This increases their reproduction through all the speakers and avoids distortion.

It is also important to select the objects to be moved without modulation, to avoid any type of interference. These operas often feature a narrator. Each time he spoke, I called up a snapshot that placed him closer to my speaker plane, which meant that his voice was really in front of that of the singers, making it even more present for the audience. The singers were mixed into the music whilst the narrator was in front of it.

SLU : In terms of delays, didn’t you handle everything with the spatialization?

Séverine Gallou : Not completely. I had off-stage toms and the conductor told me not to put them in the front-of-house system. But with a full Zenith that doesn’t work. Especially for the audience at the back of the stands! I put a microphone on it and I made an object that was very far away. That’s why I didn’t use the object’s full delay, but put delays in my console.

I also delayed the whole orchestra by measuring with a rangefinder in relation to the zero point on the conductor’s and the first violins. I could have done it in the Fletcher, but in the console I could do an on/off to check if it made a difference. It’s not so easy to tell if it’s going to be good with the different interactions between the microphones. Even here, with the spatialization, it worked really well. With the last row like the clarinets at 6 meters, we were able to restore the precision and clarity of the orchestra.

Precise, right down to the delays on the console to accommodate the depth of the orchestra. © Denis Guichard

SLU : So, you tweaked the spatialization system to suit what you wanted to hear?

Séverine Gallou : In reality, we already have latency in our signals from console, to processing, to converters. I created a true zero point on my first row, with the speakers just above it. In the Fletcher, I should have put my first sound objects on this same line. Except that this would have meant that an instrument at far stage-right would have been heard almost exclusively through the stage-right array, and that bothered me.
To open up my spatialization, I virtually moved the objects back in relation to the speakers. You lose a bit of precision in terms of localization but you gain in terms of spatial effect for the listeners at the sides, who are not covered by all of the five arrays.

SLU : Has spatialization changed the way you mix?

Séverine Gallou : I realized very quickly – and this was great – that I was no longer processing as a compromise, but for aesthetic reasons. I was able to open everything up with just low cuts and most of the sound objects weren’t masking each other. You can really feel the difference between the electronic summing in a stereo bus and the acoustic summing that results from spatialization. I did a lot less EQ and in dynamics, where I just use compressors on problematic instruments, I didn’t need anything at all.

I did some equalization to cut out the frequencies that were a bit sensitive or to attenuate bleed between instrument mics, like on the cellos where I cut the treble a bit to attenuate bleed-in from the percussion behind them. At one point, we had a quartet of cellos playing on their own. I released the shelving just for that moment and it was perfect. With spatialization, we don’t have any summing problems, so there’s a lot less processing. It’s much more natural, with less loss and impressive reproduction.

Sylvain Béziat : I let the voices come alive naturally. The sound is so beautiful and natural that I just put a compressor on one voice so as not to have any surprises on an input. You get an impression of power that you don’t get with stereo. In my console, I set things up as usual, with my EQs and my multiband compressors, only to realize that I no longer had any use for them. Just classic high-pass, to avoid unnecessary frequencies.

The voices were much more lively and powerful. I didn’t feel the need to control their dynamics. I let the singers naturally settle into it. If during the rehearsals, when the singers started, it was a bit disturbing as usual, there was no need to panic… When they came back into the dynamic of the orchestra, I didn’t have to do anything else and I could concentrate fully on the objects of the Fletcher and follow them on the stage.

SLU : Are the timbres of the instruments preserved better?

Séverine Gallou : Compared to stereo, it’s obvious. I felt immediately that the timbres needed no correction. We’re not fighting against any disturbing effects in the summing or any other masking effects.

Sylvain Béziat : The timbres of the voices were perfectly reproduced. I use DPA 4060 or 4061, depending on the singer. I usually correct a little. Here, there was no need to, just go on to the next one. I was more impressed with the choir mics, where there was no breathing, the feedback from the monitors was impressively reduced… you really had to go looking for it.

KM 184

What surprised me even more was my row of KM184s that I put on the floor at the lip of the stage. Here, when I opened them to pick up all the choirs and a soloist, it worked better than usual. I could make the soloist stand out by pushing up his close mic, but much less than usual. The mix with the other suspended choir mics, DPA 4011s, was also surprisingly natural.

SLU : And what about the overall dynamics, which are important in an opera?

Séverine Gallou : We balance the orchestra just once. Whatever the dynamics of their playing, there’s no need to correct the instruments. The amplified sound follows the dynamics of the orchestra. If it’s balanced in terms of composition and direction, we find ourselves in the simple situation of amplifying what’s going on, in total transparency. That’s exactly what we’re looking for in classical music.

Sylvain Béziat : Everything is perfectly respected. You really forget about the system. Above all, your ears don’t lean towards the speakers. The image is correctly conveyed, including during pianissimo passages. This can be disconcerting, but in real acoustics, you must go looking for an opera that plays pianissimo. Here it’s the same.
In the fortissimo passages, the orchestra becomes enormous, but without any aggressiveness from the speakers. It worked very well, even in the front fills, where the mix wasn’t as complete as in the main arrays to blend in with the direct acoustic sound of the orchestra, which also worked very well. So there was absolutely nothing to do… It was overwhelming!

SLU : So, the job of mixing is easier?

Séverine Gallou : Yes. As I’m really trying to be faithful to the orchestra, in the end it simplifies my job. It’s much easier to get a balanced orchestra. I was really impressed by the dynamics. I had between 10 and 12 dB of headroom on my master fader before the first slight problem, which never happens in classical music with all the mics open. Even though I already had some headroom because of the configuration of the speakers in front of the orchestra and facing the stands, I clearly felt that it wasn’t just that. It’s also the fact that the summing is different.

Sylvain Béziat : The first day is often unpleasant because you don’t have time to balance everything, and the singers are often unhappy. It’s a complicated thing to do on a human level. Here, with spatialization, not at all. I got great voices immediately. The dynamics didn’t overwhelm them. This is a good illustration of how things work naturally without any great effort. You could probably go further with spatialization, but straight away it worked very well.

SLU : Did you have more freedom?

Séverine Gallou : Yes, I took the liberty of adding a bit more to the dynamics to put a bit more emphasis on the dramatization of the end of scenes or at the end of acts. Then I could push the master (for me, the master is basically a DCA in which I have everything). I make DCAs for individual sections, and of course all my direct outputs are post-processing and post-fader. I want to support the moment even more to get a more cinematic orchestral sound.

We also play in arenas such as the Zenith, and we’re in front of audiences from all walks of life, so we have performances that are a bit out of the ordinary, right down to the staging, which allows us to accompany them. When we were in stereo, I used to pick up the voices in the console and balance them with the orchestra. That’s no longer possible here because everything goes into the objects on the Fletcher. With this DCA I can correct the balance if necessary.

Sylvain Béziat : I didn’t actually need to keep my hand on the fader anymore. It felt a lot more like making music than doing sound. It’s a new way of approaching a mix. It reminds me of the early days of digital consoles. Re-learning how to do things. But this is a really big step forward.

SLU : Does spatialization improve the sound of certain instruments?

Séverine Gallou : In fact, all the instruments in the lower registers have a better presence. I didn’t have to cut the bottom end as much to avoid rumble, so I lost less of their fullness. The timbre is better maintained and that makes life easier. The double basses, cellos and bassoons are better separated in this part of the spectrum, which is complicated to manage in stereo. There’s no electronic summing and phase problems are avoided, resulting in prettier timbres in the lower registers.

Sylvain Béziat : The voices come through naturally. The same goes for the choirs, for which I used to use a bunch of KM184s at the lip of the stage. Well, with the FletcherMachine, I had the impression of having just one more microphone. No phase problems. As we only had 64 possible objects in all, I had to make groups for the choruses with a maximum of six objects. I also adhered to the visual placement for them. It would be great to have one object per microphone.

Six objects to handle the choirs. © Denis Guichard

SLU : Could you then choose other microphones, change your habits?

Séverine Gallou : Yes, especially in terms of directivity. I tend to use hypercardioid so as not to have too much mess on the cellos, for example, but it’s more of a medium range. When I’m spatializing, I’m more inclined to switch to cardioid which will give me more warmth at the bottom because I know that the summing with its neighbors won’t be destructive. And putting in more large diaphragms would also be less of a penalty than with stereo. It gives you ideas when you have more leeway.

Sylvain Béziat : When we choose a microphone, it’s to achieve a certain result and often to overcome sound capture problems. Here, there are so few phase problems or sound pick-up compromises to resolve that we are led to rethink our usual practices and use better microphones in certain cases.

SLU : Is it easier to work with the artistic director?

Séverine Gallou : The conductor realizes that there are fewer feedback problems when we do the rehearsals. And above all, since we had a virtual soundcheck, we were able to have him listen to the performance. He was blown away, with tears in his eyes. He moved from one side of the arena to the other, all over the stands. We couldn’t demonstrate the front fills because the orchestra wasn’t playing live to blend with it. He was amazed, very moved and the first to say “there’s no going back”.

Sylvain Béziat : On the first day of rehearsals, we’d never had a result like this without a soundcheck. When we raised the faders, we immediately had something we could use, in the front and the monitors. From then on we spent more time making music than sorting out sound problems. I didn’t feel like I was making any compromises.
With a commonsense approach, it works. When Clément Joubert, the conductor and driving force behind the project, comes up to you and says it’s brilliant, you simply reply that you’re just reproducing what he does.

When the audience arrives, they’re not expecting such a magnificent sound experience. © Denis Guichard

SLU : What about the audience? Did they notice the difference?

Séverine Gallou : I think a lot of the audience must have had the impression that there was no amplified sound. A few people came to congratulate us, which is generally very rare. On the other hand, we didn’t get any negative comments, which is even more uncommon.
A lot of the people who came up to us were musicians, telling us that they’d never heard anything like it. Of course, the same was true of the musicians in the orchestra during the virtual soundcheck. All good feedback, it never happens like this. It’s the first time I’ve achieved the goal of forgetting that the concert has sound reinforcement, and it’s really thanks to this spatialization system.

Sylvain Béziat : Deep down, I’ve never been so proud of myself as I was after that performance. It’s a real thrill. The satisfaction doesn’t really come from the job I did, but from this system, which is amazing and allows us to be with the artists, without having to make any technical compromises.

SLU : Well, before we finish this interesting conversation, would you like to add anything else in conclusion?

Séverine Gallou : I had so much fun and I had such a blast at this show that it was worth talking about. I’d have a lot to say, and I think the FletcherMachine deserves it. In terms of the results, as well as in terms of its use, the tool is undeniably attractive and effective.

Sylvain Béziat : Spatialization allows us to make even the most reluctant orchestra conductor accept a sound system. The music is really amplified, it’s bigger at every level. Stereo used to make the music sound bigger, but also coarser. Not this time! It’s just overwhelming. When you come back the next day to a traditional system, you’ve got a bit of a hangover. For me, this concert is the concert of the year, and I experienced an unprecedented pleasure in mixing.

The cherry on the cake. I promise, just one!

After this long article, and I thank you for having read it to the end, I don’t think it’s necessary to add anything to the argument in favor of a spatialized sound system for an acoustic orchestra performance. It’s the engineers who talk about it best… and when they’re so happy to be doing their job, interviewing them is as much a pleasure as listening to the sound of their mix. We look forward to seeing you at the next performance of the Fabrique Opéra, with spatialized sound, of course.

For more information, visit:

– AFM Adamson FletcherMachine
– The DV2 website
– La Fabrique Opéra website


Ayrton Zonda 9 throws a light on Suspekt at Parken Stadium, Copenhagen

© 4K Projects – Flemming Bo Jensen

Legendary dark and intense Danish hip hop band, Suspekt, appeared in a one-off date at Copenhagen’s 47,000 capacity National Parken Stadium in September. Suspekt is renowned for playing with cool lighting effects and Ayrton was delighted that its Zonda 9 fixtures were chosen for the dramatic lighting system that included 168 Zonda 9 Wash and Zonda 9 FX fixtures.

Le Zonda 9 Wash.

Le Zonda 9 FX.

Zonda 9 Wash is the first luminaire in a new family of Ayrton products devised for stage lighting, equipped with a high-performance 40W LED source with RGB+W additive colour synthesis. The lighting was supplied by VIGSØ, Denmark, and the striking lighting and stage design was provided by Johnny Thinggaard of CMY.

© 4K Projects – Flemming Bo Jensen

Thinggaard elaborated on his choice of lighting: “The concert was a one-day event and the band’s biggest show to date. I chose to use the Zonda 9 Wash because of its large light surface.
I really like the way that the lamp provides such a great visual fill for this type of show. In fact, the entire show was based on the Wash style. Not a single gobo.

For me, it is about creating space and emotions and since this is a hip-hop band, I didn’t think profile lamps would fit the style.
I also chose Zonda 9 as I needed a lamp that could light from a height of 20m all the way down to the floor. There is a lot of light in the Zonda 9 and it mixes colours really nicely.”

© 4K Projects – Flemming Bo Jensen

The strong and colourful design for the show and the rapping, hard-hitting style of the band required some strong, punchy lighting.
Arraying the Zonda 9 Washes in 10 pods of 4 x 3 units, plus a row of 48 more on the floor upstage, Thinggaard was not disappointed.

“I think in general I am most surprised by how powerful the light output is from Zonda 9. VIGSØ introduced me to the lamps in the warehouse where it is always difficult to see how much light there really is. Seen in relation to the amount of video screen, the fixtures did a great job and performed perfectly.”

Christian Vigsø, CEO of VIGSØ added, “We had a total of 168 pieces of Zonda 9 with a mix of Wash and FX fixtures and, throughout the complete production, we didn’t have to change any fixtures. In addition, we had a request from the production to make the DMX profile for both Zonda 9 Wash and Zonda 9 FX the same. We asked Ayrton to do this and were very impressed that they could present us with a solution in just two days.”

© 4K Projects – Flemming Bo Jensen

For more information on Ayrton Zonda 9 Wash and Zonda 9 FX, and the full range of Ayrton LED and laser-sourced lighting fixtures, visit

Ayrton is distributed exclusively in Denmark by VIGSØ SALES. For information, visit


Robe Has Big Presence at Lollapalooza Berlin

The 2023 Lollapalooza Berlin event at Olympiapark in the heart of the city was notable for a sizzling artist lineup as well as being a major Robe moving light installation, with almost 500 Robe fixtures over 75 on the Alternative Stage, over 125 on Main Stage North and over 250 on Main Stage South, plus some on Perry’s stage.

Lighting production was delivered to the Main Stage North by rental specialists TSE, Main Stage South by Media Resource Group (MRG), Alternative Stage by Sound Projekt (SPS) and Parry’s stage by Colour Sound Experiment.
Robe’s ‘On the Road’ show truck was also on site, located backstage left at Main Stage North, as for the first time at this event, TSE located their WYSIWYG pre-viz studio in the truck offering all lighting designers access to the service.

With all-day personal support by Thomas Heydthausen from Berlin-based pre-viz specialist prefocus, most LDs gladly accepted the offer and enjoyed the access to the hardware, hospitality and the cool vibe and yet quiet space.

Apart from its role in the creative production process, the Robe truck top deck functioned as a cool networking area welcoming all crew and anyone from the technical production community on site, who could enjoy their ‘down’ time with a perfect view across almost the whole festival ground and extraordinarily good weather, which saw the mercury top 30 degrees.


Six of Robe’s new Footsie2 footlight fixtures with wide diffusers and integral cable tray were made available on the thrust of Main Stage North, the first time the product has been used at a European festival! The Footsie2s were embraced by Imagine Dragons and their lighting designer Mitchell “Mitch” Schellenger, and tour lighting programmer Dennis Brasser, who could swiftly integrate them into their show.

Their show lighting production design typically had footlights along the thrust on podiums lower down from the stage, which was not possible at Lolla Berlin, so the Footsie2s were welcomed, and Mitch loved everything about this innovative new product!

Apparently so did the band, and especially lead singer Dan Reynolds who could clearly see the audience with whom he has such a great connection without being blinded. He also loved the idea of the BluMark™ stage edge indication. Illumination from the Footsie2’s also perfectly highlighted the artists at the front of the catwalk during the band’s dramatic and frequent confetti blasts!

Main Stage North

Thomas Stütz was TSE’s project manager for Main Stage North which utilised 12 x iFortes and 8 x iSpiiders on the front truss – picked for their power, intensity and of course IP rating as this position was exposed. They were accompanied by thirty-four Spiider LED wash beams positioned on the main overhead trusses, together with 30 x Fortes.

Alongside them were 36 x MegaPointes, also integral to the design, positioned on the side ladder trusses in a Matrix of 5×3 each side, and some on the deck. Robe’s MegaPointe ranks as one of the ‘must have’ all time festival favourite fixtures ever!
Robe products were also chosen because of their wide acceptance by international productions, their rider friendliness and the great creative design possibilities that using them offers to any performance environment.

Main Stage North production lighting design was created by Klaus Gräwert and Janine Lutz who commented that it was “ideal” to be able for the front IP rated fixtures to be twinned with identical standard Forte and Spiider products on the rest of the rig, all with the same control parameters and characteristics.

Imagine Dragons brought their own touring RoboSpot systems including BMFL FollowSpots & BMFL FS LTs rigged on the back truss, plus two on the FOH towers. They have been touring Europe with this for the summer.
A total of 60 TSE crew and staff were on duty across all the shifts, headed by project leaders Thomas Stütz and Marty Lemke and working closely with Janine Lutz, who also took on the head of lighting role.

Main Stage South

Alternating in flip-flop style, the South Stage lighting technical production was supplied by another major German rental company, the Media Resource Group (MRG), and project managed by Kilian Körber.

Robe MegaPointes were a major part of the lighting scheme for this stage, with 120 on the rig, together with 30 x BMFL Blades, 70 x Spiider wash beams, 27 x Tetra2s and eight PATT 2013s. The production lighting design started in classic festival style with a spot / wash base combination, augmented as additional rider information from individual artists became available.
This year, the leading specification came from David Guetta whose lighting design by the team at High Scream most influenced the Stage South. Their specification focused on beam lamps with reliability and precision, in this case the MegaPointe, to help unlock the creativity and WOW factors of their aesthetic.

Kilian commented that the “essence” of festival designs is always to have this latitude to fit every artist in terms of fixture types and positioning. “As a service provider, this allows us to offer a ‘full spectrum’ that is easy for everyone to utilize. Robe is rider-suitable, and everyone gladly accepts the fixtures, so the lights are perfect for these scenarios.”

MRG also enjoys working with state-of-the-art technology, so having a range of IP rated fixtures now available from Robe was greatly perceived by MRG, and they already have a significant amount of Robe iSeries products ordered. Finally, rain domes, which often look bizarre and strange, will be a thing of the past!
Paris-based ambient electronic / dance duo The Blaze added another 24 of their own floor based MegaPointes to the 120 already in the rig on Main Stage South, while for American singer and rapper Macklemore, MRG provided an additional floor package comprising MegaPointes, strobes and Robe PATT 2013s.

Accommodating David Guetta’s precise set and lighting requirements was one of the challenges of this year’s event, and getting this right was relished by Kilian and his crew. “Seeing the results of all that work, detail and pre-preparation was very satisfying,” he commented on the spectacular results as the superstar DJ and producer fired up the festival with his indelible array of bangerz and trailblazing dancefloor hits.
grandMA3 fullsize consoles were used for lighting control and all apart from two visiting lighting operators used the house control desks.

For Kilian, having the visualization suite in the Robe show truck was a big plus. It provided a hub for LDs and operators to work and a place for them and others to relax prior or after their shows if they chose. Up-to-date MVR files were supplied for the individual days and shows, and most operators both utilized and were impressed by the facility.

“Personally, I found it a great place to work and hang out! It would be great to do it again next year!” he enthused, clearly enjoying the vibes and atmos of another great Lolla Berlin. “It is simply an impressive festival with no expense or effort spared to make it an enjoyable and memorable experience for everyone,” he concluded.

MRG has been using Robe products for many years and has a large rental inventory spanning several product ranges. The company has been a supplier of the Lollapalooza Berlin event since 2022. Main Stage South video features a large upstage video screen and two side IMAGs, and the action was streamed live via Telekom Magenta.

Alternative Stage

Lighting for the Alternative stage with performances from Kiel-based Leoniden, known for their energy, attitude, and invention; indie rockers Lovejoy from Brighton in the UK; American indie pop band AJR from New York City featuring three multi-instrumentalist brothers that alt rocked the house, among many others, was supplied by Sound Projekt Veranstaltungstechnik from Stralsund (SPS).
It included 72 x Robe moving lights, a combination of iPointe 65s, MegaPointes, Spiiders and iSpiiders among which were rigged (with other fixtures) on the overhead rig and deployed on the floor, again all chosen as universally rider-acceptable.

Alternative Stage project manager Fabian Schwabe commented that working festival stages always requires the most flexible stage setups that can be used by multiple productions and artists. “That’s why we used MegaPointes and Spiiders both in the air and on the deck in consultation with the festival organisers,” he explained. These were supplemented by weather-proof iPointe 65s and iSpiiders in the front truss.

“It was perfect to have a front truss with identical IP-rated fixtures to those further back,” he elucidated, a practicality that Robe has spent a lot of time in developing.
Sound Projekt has also been working with Robe for many years and likes the overall usability, popularity, and reliability of the product ranges. The Alternative Stage lighting operator, for those not bringing their own, was Max Struppe using grandMA control.

Lighting for Perry’s Stage, named after Perry Farrell from Jane’s Addiction, the event’s creator was supplied by Colour Sound Experiment from the UK, who have also been a long-term supplier of the Berlin edition. Their rig this year included Robe Spiiders and two RoboSpot remote follow spot systems in combination with BMFL Spots.

For more information, you can visit



Simple, fast, complete, and powerful are the 4 words that best sum up the C4. Developed by DIGIdot, it is a complete control system for your LED systems controlled by an SPI protocol but also any luminaire or element controllable by DMX, Art-Net, or sACN.

Boasting an impressive range of features, the C4 is much more than just a controller, with each module capable of controlling up to 2,720 RGB LEDs or 2,040 RGBW LEDs. But, above all, it can be entirely autonomous, particularly for controlling channels and/or reproducing an entire show.

The DIGIdot C4 hides its strength well.

It was enough to arouse our interest and help us discover how a 140-gram box/case in Live or Extended version can change the way you work.

Le Boîtier

All the power of the C4 is in a box that is 15.3×7.4×2.8 cm whether for the Live or Extended version and it is easy to mount it on a DIN rail or attach it to a board or shelf. For connectivity, we of course find the power socket, two RJ45 connectors, an analog input (jack), a slot for a micro SD card, and a terminal block for connecting the inputs and outputs of the SPI and/or DMX signals. Just to the left of this last element, a programmable button can, for example, be used to trigger a show or a lighting state.

We see that the design has been carefully thought out; one side of the case has no connector or LED, it can be placed on the side or rear of the rack to leave the opposite side, where the status indicator LED is located, visible. As the C4 is rated only IP10, it is advisable to be careful where you place it.

Here we can see the status indicator, the micro SD slot, and the analog input for the Trigger(s).

The very useful Button for starting a test sequence, or a show, and beside there there is the terminal block.

On the other side, there are the 2 RJ45 connectors and the power input.

Underneath are the slots for mounting on a DIN rail.

To best adapt to the needs of your budget, DIGIdot offers the choice of the number of universes available. Each module of the Live version can have 4, 8, 14, 16, and now even 24 universes. As for the Extended version, it reserves 1, 2, 4, or 8 universes for your use. We can already clearly see the different uses targeted by the two versions.

One of the great assets of this product is its flexibility which is found in all the functionalities. Just for the inputs and outputs, there are 4 compatible protocols: Art-Net, sACN, DMX, and SPI
It also has up to 9 input/output possibilities:

  • Art-Net/sACN input to 4 SPI outputs
  • Art-Net/sACN input to 2 SPI outputs and 1 DMX output
  • Art-Net/sACN input to 2 DMX outputs
  • Art-Net/sACN input to 4 DMX outputs
  • 2 DMX inputs + Art-Net/sACN to Art-Net output
  • 1 DMX input to 2 SPI outputs
  • 1 DMX input (Trigger) to 1 DMX output (Extended version only)
  • 2 DMX inputs to Art-Net output, or record (Extended version only)
  • 1 DMX input (Trigger) to 2 SPI outputs (Extended only only)

Video presentation N°1

It is also important to note that the C4 is compatible with 63 SPI / IC protocols. The fact that we can output both SPI and DMX allows the C4 to be used as an Art-Net / SPI interface and at the same time as Art-Net / DMX. This solution has the advantage of removing one or more nodes. The C4 has 4 outputs, while many other products only have 2, we can define 4 points that make up its strength and its differences: the network, the interface, programming, and restitution (show playback).

The Network

Compatible with network protocols such as Art-Net and sACN, the C4 is also and above all a node, and not a simple interface. This allows it to integrate into a network and be a part of the system, or even control the system. This is a very important point since it can control and modify all parameters remotely and at any time. There are two ways to connect to the C4, either via a wired network or via a WIFI connection. For the latter solution, you must activate the parameter and select the “Access Point” option.

For the wired network option, it is recommended to enter an address type 10.0.0.X to be compatible with Art-Net, sACN, and C4 control. Then simply enter the address of the Box in your web browser to access these parameters or, even better, by using the address you can, via the interface, access all the C4 modules connected to the network. Once this address has been validated, the interface opens like a website page.

The Interface

Video presentation N°2

The web interface via an IP address is not new, but the one developed by DIGIdot simplifies many tasks and adds a large number of tools and possibilities to the C4 Extended version. Note that when you use an address like X.254.254.254 in the browser, in the center of the blue bar you can choose to work on all the nodes or select the one on which you want to make modifications. In the main area of the page, there are buttons grouping categories of options or functions.

All configuration and function settings can be found in the DIGIdot C4 application, available free of charge for Mac and PC.

The interface is common to both versions of C4.

The pop-up window to choose one or all nodes.

The Extended version interface with 4 additional menus.

If you have both C4s in Live and Extended versions, you have 5 menus for the first and 9 for the second. For functions common to both versions, the first button allows quick configuration of one or more nodes. You can also make or modify the settings via the different menus of the “Settings” button.
It is also in this window that we configure the wifi, and detect devices via the RDM. We can also check the proper “running” of the functions of each node, control the backups, the interface, and updates.

Settings pop-up.

The Network settings allow to configure the parameters of the wired network.

The Wifi parameters and its Activate or Deactivate buttons.

Modifying the input/output parameters is simple and easy and may be done at any time.

The Diagnostics window allows for monitoring the status of the C4 nodes in the network.

In the “Monitor” window of the main menu, we have an overview of the status of the functions, certain values and some very practical functions such as switching between the sources connected to the node. A “Group” function allows you to link the configuration, identification, test, restart functions of several nodes to facilitate the management of your projects.

In the Monitor tab, we visualize certain elements of the nodes and we can restart or turn on all the connected LEDs (a quick way to know who controls what).

Creating a group (background LEDs) allows you to assign a color to this group, for example, for quick selection of several C4s.

It’s the Extended version that reveals all the power of the C4! It adds the possibility of reproducing one or more shows and even includes programming tools!


There are two tools for Playback: Scenes and Playlists.

A scene is a luminous, static, or animated state that can be played back one by one from the Scene page. A Playlist will be created to play the Scenes in a certain order, with fade times and manual or automated transitions.
It is also possible to trigger Scenes or Playlists via external Triggers. This can be via a button, a “fader”, a motion detector but also a value, or a range of values sent by a DMX, ArtNet, or sACN channel. The small button on the C4 Box can be used as a Trigger.

In the Scenes window, you have an intensity level and you can view all the available scenes. They can also be played or stopped from this window.

By clicking on the 3 small dots at the far right of the Scene you can open the options menu.

If you edit the Scene, you can have the information and modify the duration, the name, and its place in the list of Scenes.

The Playlists page uses the same concept as the Scenes.

The Options menu is opened in the same way.

The editing window allows you to define all the Scene sequence options.

The Triggers window.

Here we have the different choices of input(s) when creating the Triggers.

Configuring the Trigger.

Creating a Linked Trigger.


Video presentation N°3

The last function, but not least, is scene programming. The “Generate Scene” tool allows you to create a Static Scene or a sequence of colors. If you use this function you will necessarily need a C4 Extended to reproduce the Scene.
This tool is currently quite basic and should surely evolve in future updates, even if the goal is not to replace a controller but to have a practical tool for basic programming.

The main window for creating Scenes.

We can create a static color effect using the C4.

Or a variation between different colors.

It is also possible to test the result before confirming and recording the Scene.

For more complex lighting states, you must go through an external controller, a light console, a media server, or even both. It is then possible to record the Art-Net, sACN, or DMX values to create a Scene. This is where, for me, is where its not a cherry on top of the cake but the whole bowl of cherries!

Once the values have been captured, there is a function to create a loop. To do this, you must capture enough values so that the programmed sequence is played at least once in its entirety. The software will then inspect all recorded values until it finds two sequences of identical values. It will then generate a loop between these two points.

If you choose to record an Art-Net, sACN, or DMX stream, you have many very interesting functions that make your work easier!

The recording options.


The C4 is a real Swiss army knife! DIGIdot has designed a node that can be useful in almost any situation. We are very far from a simple node allowing you to control LED pixels using SPI protocol. The C4 is a powerful and complete toolbox that can be an interface between a DMX, Art-Net, or sACN controller and any lighting kit including SPI, DMX, Art-Net, or sACN sources as well as a show controller.

Despite the impressive amount of features, DIGIdot has managed to develop a simple and clear interface with very intuitive handling. The success is no longer in doubt and a PxLNet Node version has been developed for large-scale projects such as the Turkish Airlines Lounge or the Italian pavilion at EXPO 2020 in Dubai.

It fits into a 19″ rack and has 16 PxLNet outputs (remote up to 250 m), and 96 universes to control up to 16,320 LEDs. The C4 is a tool that you need to know and always keep in the back of your mind because it can simplify many points on a mobile or permanent installation. LedBox Company will be happy to show you the extent of its possibilities on its premises or by traveling to the location (on-site) to be equipped.

We like:

  • The number of different protocols available
  • The wide variety of tools with the interface
  • The user-friendly aspect

On regrette :

  • I am still looking for some flaws…

General specifications


Bye D-Mitri, Meyer Sound Constellation welcomes Nadia

On the evening of October 27, The Appel Room of Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York hosted a diverse celebration of music and technology. To mark the first commercial installation of the NADIA™ integrated digital audio platform for Constellation® acoustic systems, Meyer Sound brought together acclaimed violinist Joshua Bell with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble, the Mark Morris Dance Group, Steve Miller, and the Bruce Harris Quintet, the latter introduced by Wynton Marsalis, managing and artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Co-presented by Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC) and Meyer Sound, and dubbed “NADIA’s Music Hall,” the invitation-only event underscored the extraordinary acoustical versatility of the Constellation acoustic system, which subtly optimized the room’s aural ambiance for each performance.

Company co-founders John and Helen Meyer were in attendance, with Executive Vice President Helen Meyer and Constellation Project Director John Pellowe making introductions and conversing with the performers.

From left to right Helen Mayer, John Meyer and Wynton Marsalis.

“We’re excited about this evening because we are about to bring you a unique variety show,” said Helen Meyer in her opening remarks, “featuring some of the world’s most celebrated artists from contemporary dance as well as classical, rock, and jazz music.
And we’re doing this so you can hear and enjoy how these different musical genres sound naturally their best using The Appel Room’s Constellation acoustic system, recently upgraded with the NADIA platform.”

Violinist Joshua Bell, music director of the illustrious Academy of St Martin in the Fields, led the Chamber Ensemble in works by Vivaldi, Beethoven, and Shostakovich. Between selections, he noted his own prior experiences playing in Constellation-equipped halls “from Berkeley to Singapore.” “Constellation is almost miraculous in what it can do. It is a wonderful use of advanced technology to add to our art form of [classical music], which is pre-technology.”

Steve Miller

Legendary guitarist and songwriter Steve Miller who recently joined the Board of Directors of Jazz at Lincoln Center recounted his fruitful relationship with John Meyer extending back to 1967 when Meyer created a custom amplifier for Miller’s appearance at the Monterey Pop Festival.
“John is a perfectionist and the sound in this room is an example of that,” said Miller. “I love playing here.” Miller then treated the gathering to a mesmerizing acoustic treatment of his 1977 hit, “Jet Airliner.”

The evening closed with an interlude of lively jazz from the Bruce Harris Quintet, introduced by Wynton Marsalis. Marsalis took the occasion to comment on his own experience playing in halls around the world, some equipped with Constellation and others sorely in need of the technology.

“On behalf of Jazz at Lincoln Center, I’m pleased to co-present this evening to showcase the debut of NADIA, a high-powered processing engine designed for the venues of the future. NADIA is the new heart of Constellation, which has changed the world of concert halls. When I ask presenters about Constellation, it seems everyone knows what it is, even if they don’t have it. And when I play dry rooms that are not ambient, where the sound really needs a lot of help, I say, ‘Call Helen and John Meyer, the hippest people you are ever going to meet.’”

“John and I were amazed by the response from both the artists who performed and the guests who attended this truly special evening,” said Helen Meyer following the festivities. “This was a celebration for NADIA, the new digital platform for Constellation, which we proudly named after our granddaughter. It proved to be the ultimate showcase of how we strive to give artists and audiences the best possible experience at the intersection of technology and art.”

Constellation Project Director John Pellowe.

NADIA’s Music Hall was designed and produced by Copper Leaf Productions, Marjorie Randell-Silver, Owner/Creative Director. For the edification of guests not fully familiar with Constellation, John Pellowe gave a presentation, with musical examples, of how the technology can create a wide range of natural-sounding acoustic environments.

The new NADIA platform, including core processor and input/output modules, replaced the prior generation D-Mitri units from The Appel Room’s original installation of Constellation in 2013. Constellation has transformed hundreds of venues worldwide.

More information on:

– The Nadia’s Music Hall website
– The Meyer Sound website


Tedeschi Trucks Band reaches the Moon with Robe

Tedeschi Trucks Band (TTB) is a popular contemporary blues band, known for superlative musicianship and gripping live performances, so Nashville based lighting designer Tony Caporale of design studio InfinitusVox was delighted to be asked to design a new lighting scheme for their live shows.

Tony has enjoyed an action packed 2023 schedule and TTB is a brand-new client. They reached out to him after seeing some of his other work, particularly the Goose tour earlier in the year, for which he was lighting programmer, working closely with LD Andrew Goedde.

A long-term Robe advocate, when Tony started drawing up the plot, he reached for some of his most trusted moving lights Fortes, Spiiders and MegaPointes, to help add that special magic and sparkle for TTB’s stage presentation.

It started as a summer shed and theatre tour and crossed over to arenas towards the later US dates, so the rig needed to be scalable and adaptable. Tony’s lighting also had to accommodate a raft of guest musicians and singers, all adding to the general stage dynamic. With a 12-piece band to cover, he needed some bold and large lighting looks to complement their impressive set up.
All the band are very tuned into and aware of each other, such is the nature of the blues and more improvisational playing, so emphasizing the scale but retaining the correct band footprint and distances so they could best communicate freely was another lighting challenge.

“I decided to effectively ‘wrap’ the trusses around their stage set up, including the floor lighting carts on the deck as well, so it could envelop them on one hand, but I could also have lights shooting out to the audience and transferring the energy offstage,” he explained.

When he showed Susan Tedeschi, a band founder together with husband Derek Trucks, the initial ideas, she loved the essence of the band being surrounded by lights. He also illustrated aspects like the Spiiders’ Flower Effect, which she instantly latched onto, making Spiiders an absolute must have for the tour!

Tony mentioned that he also sent Susan and Derek some links to Robe product videos when proposing the lighting design. “Many musicians have a high level of interest when it comes to the technology you are using and how they are being lit, so I often send them product info so they can see for themselves.”

Robe Spiider

The 70 x Spiiders were arranged in clusters on the mid and upstage trusses, enabling nice arrays of beams and pixels with two clusters of five on three mid stage trusses and sections of 20 fixtures lower down on the upstage trusses, all accentuating the depth and bringing added dimensionality to the stage.

Having the Spiiders rigged in this pattern meant the band could be illuminated and picked up in sections or if they were soloing or engaging in a special moment. They could also produce ACL-style ‘beam technology’ looks, and having these Spiiders in this arrangement just generally facilitated some very cool back lighting.
For the song “Midnight in Harlem” Tony created an animated, twinkling starry sky with Spiider pixels on a slow dimmer chase. Caporale also utilized a Hippotizer media server running through the grandMA control system to produce many more fluid and flowing effects.

The fifty Fortes were positioned on the overhead and side trusses and in the floor carts. Tony had used them on the last Goose tour with Andrew, and loved them, choosing them for this project “because I knew I needed a bright, rock-solid fixture.”


The Forte shutters and beam shaping were invaluable in precision coverage for the substantial line up, and Tony noted that even TTB’s regular lighting director Brian Pirrone, known to be extremely particular about having accurate specials and key lighting “was impressed!”

Forte was needed for its output, especially the luminaires on the downstage truss, and they worked equally well as a rear keys, including a row of four upstage center, used to throw quality back lighting onto Susan and Derek.

“We learned so much about what these lights could do and how versatile they are on Goose, so I took some of that knowledge and used it for different applications on this design.”

MegaPointes were the third essential layer of lighting for the design. Twenty MegaPointes were scattered in between the Spiiders and used for “fun patterns, and extra fire power” he explained. “We also used them on Billie Eilish last year, and while there were less units compared to Spiiders and Fortes, as MegaPointes do … they went a long way and produced some stunning and diverse looks.”

Robe MegaPointe

They were great for highlighting Susan and Derek with interesting asymmetric and defocused looks from behind. “I always have some MegaPointes on the plot” confirmed Tony “I love the speed; the prisms are fantastic, and you can simply do a lot with not so many fixtures.”

The overall vibe of the show was organic and relaxed with a need to amp things up for the up-tempo sections and jams, so they needed to get super intense with the lighting at times, following the music.
“It’s basically a very musical lightshow” said Tony, noting again that input from Brian on the basic do’s, don’ts and other vital tips massively helped the harmony and success of his design, and understanding of where it needed to grow.

With no video onstage, all the visual emphasis was on the lighting, and that needed to be dramatic and emotional at exactly the right times without ever distracting from the music.

Tony loved the fact he was able to get a bit experimental while developing this show. The antithesis of a tightly timecoded highly cued set, the go-with-the-flow improvisation style demanded that the design worked for this way of operation, and could produce a different lightshow each night in line with a band who play a unique set each time they take to the stage.

“It was a different but very invigorating and exciting way to work,” he concluded
Lighting equipment was supplied by Gateway Studios & Production Services out of St Louis, and project managed by Mikey Cummings. The lighting crew chief was Sandy Paul, LX1 was Max Mackintosh, LX2 was Chazz Malott, Jim Crandall was LX2 and rigger, with Sarah Jaffee taking care of dimmers/networking.

For more info on Robe lighting, you can visit