+27 (0)11 470 6800 info@apexpro.co.za

Archive for Month: December 2019

AlleyCat Chooses Symetrix for Mi Cocina Highland Park

Serving authentic Tex-Mex food and excellent margaritas, the Mi Cocina restaurant chain is a favorite in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Mi Cocina makes an extra effort to stay a step ahead of its competition, including food, service, and décor but also sound systems. “The owners of the company, M Crowd Restaurant Group, are audiophiles, and they want clear, very high quality sound and a flexible system that’s easy to use,” reports Danny Salinas of AlleyCat AV, who has designed and installed networked sound systems in 23 Mi Cocina restaurants/bars.

Recently Mi Cocina did a massive remodel of its flagship Highland Park Village location, in a high-end section of the Dallas area. Delighted with AlleyCat AV’s Dante networked sound systems at two smaller locations, which were based on Symetrix DSPs, the owners brought in Salinas to design and install their new system in the much larger and socially visible Highland Park Village restaurant and bar. “They were blown away by the sound and ease of use of the systems in the two smaller restaurants, and they wanted something similar at Highland Park Village,” he relates. “Of course the spaces are different, so the systems couldn’t be identical, but they told us to just do what we do, and they’d be happy.”

To meet the client’s goals of high quality sound, flexibility, and ease of use, Salinas designed a Dante networked audio system managed by a Symetrix Prism 8×8 DSP. A Symetrix xOut 12 Dante-to-analog output expander brought the Prism’s total I/O complement to 8 analog inputs and 20 analog outputs.

“The Highland Park location has not been renovated in over 20 years, so they gutted the whole thing and went with all new construction,” Salinas reports. “We ripped out loudspeakers that had been there more than 25 years and pulled new wire, including CAT6 cable for the network. It’s a three-story restaurant, with a rooftop balcony that’s about 100 square feet and has a glassed-in lounge and a bar they call the Monkey Bar. The second floor is a mezzanine with 10 or 12 tables, and they can have a DJ up there who projects out over the first floor below. The first floor is the main dining area and has another bar and a big entry lobby. It has 20-foot ceilings, so I mounted the speakers up high. Also on the first floor is an outdoor patio with seating. With all of that and the bathrooms, we ended up using 10 zones on the network.”

To serve the differing needs of the various spaces in the venue, Salinas chose an assortment of speakers, ranging from Tannoy ceiling speakers in the first floor entry to Fulcrum Acoustic loudspeakers with Innovox subwoofers in the main dining room, Tannoy outdoor speakers on the rooftop balcony, and other combinations of speakers elsewhere. The variety of speakers and the multiplicity of zones meant some careful programming in Symetrix’ Composer software for the Prism DSP.

“The programming wasn’t complicated but there was a lot of it,” Salinas muses. “With smaller speakers in some places and larger speakers in others, some 16 ohm and some 70 volt, I had to carefully adjust every level. With a Symetrix DSP, I have the flexibility to adjust every zone and craft it the way I want it. I used crossovers, duckers, limiters and compressors, and loudness management modules, and every zone has its own EQ. I also had to carefully look at each input and decide where I wanted it to go and how I wanted it to sound.”

Before the renovation, the restaurant had two media players for background music. In the new system, Salinas provided dedicated inputs for the two media players and added a DJ input on the mezzanine, along with a line input for a guitarist, as well as an input for plugging in an iPod or similar device. These inputs are wired analog, straight to the Prism processor.

Salinas provided easy-to-use system control with five Symetrix ARC-3 wall panels: one on the third-floor balcony, one in the third floor lounge, one on the second floor mezzanine, one indoors on the first floor, and one on the outdoor patio. He also set up a Symetrix ARC-WEB virtual user interface for browser-based control of the Symetrix system. “The owners want to be able to walk in with their phones and log into the system, and with ARC-WEB they can do that,” Salinas explains. “If they want the sound a little louder or something like that, they can easily adjust it.”

Future expansion was another consideration. “I chose the Prism with the idea of having room for growth if they want to expand the system via Dante,” Salinas confirms. “The Prism 8×8 has all of the capabilities we need, including Dante networking and plenty of analog inputs and outputs; it was a perfect match.”

Reliability is a big factor for Salinas, as well. “I have to service a lot of locations with a small company, and I don’t want to have to run out to deal with a service problem,” he relates. “With Symetrix, I haven’t had to do it yet. I’ve installed a lot of Symetrix DSPs and about 80 ARC-3s, and they always work. They have been rock solid, and they’re easy for the customer to use because Symetrix has provided the programming capability to make them that way. Mi Cocina Highland Park rotates managers because it is a training location, and all of the managers walk up to the ARC-3 control panels and use them with no problems. Best of all, the system sounds great. So far, everyone’s happy.”

Eos feels the love in Freestyle Love Supreme

The Eos control system has proven itself as a favorite in Broadway theatres for its consistency and reliability, but what happens to the lighting design when a Broadway show is based primarily on improvised action?

Billed as a “freestyle, hip-hop, improvisational, never-before-seen comedy ride,” Freestyle Love Supreme features a rotating cast of MCs, beatboxers, and special guests and is unique every night, to every audience. That creates a unique challenge to the designers behind the scenes. A typical theatrical lighting performance runs on a cue stack that is carefully curated by a design team, and run consistently from night to night by the board operator. But the team on Freestyle Love Supreme wondered if a show so heavily improvised could be programmed on the Eos platform… or programmed at all. “When we started putting this together, a lot of people said this couldn’t (or shouldn’t) be done on Eos,” remembers Lighting Designer Jeff Croiter. “But, based on past experience with the family of consoles, I knew it was absolutely possible.”

As the designer, Jeff wanted to have as much control as he could, but wasn’t sure how much of the show would demand a live lighting component. And he wouldn’t know until going into the first tech with his programmers, Sean Beach for the off-Broadway production and Zak Al-Alami for the Broadway show. They were pleasantly surprised. The cast would choose five or six out of ten predetermined songs to perform each night. “Each has a unique look; some are specifically cued and called by a stage manager, a few have busked sections that exist within parameters, and one is entirely made up and completely different every night. For the busked parts, once the song’s basic look is cued up, busking takes over to help with the improvised storyline. And it’s not just ‘set the lights and hack away’ — the storytelling aspect is important. Where are they, what time of day is it, what’s the mood/vibe of the scene, and how can the lighting help tell and enhance the story? Like a regular theatre show except it’s shorter and you don’t know until the words come out of their mouths (or if things are really clicking, right before),” jokes Jeff. With help and encouragement from Director Tommy Kail, the design team was then able to set some blocking. “Even though the words are different every night, at several key moments, we were able to have them stand in the same spot saying them. More often than I anticipated prior to tech.”

The essence of Freestyle Love Supreme is the improvisation, so Jeff knew he needed someone with the right experience to run the board and busk during the show. For that expertise, Jeff reached out to Andrew Garvis, who he had worked with previously on several shows. “I was surprised at how well Eos is organized for the setup of a show like this, and how well we’ve been able to integrate it into cueing, because it’s busking on top of a cue stack,” Andrew explains. Building off the magic sheets built by Sean and Zac, Andrew uses two Ion Xe consoles and three total touchscreens—two to access the magic sheets and one that holds the cue stack and manual channels—along with two fader wings in order to run the show quickly and easily. “It’s fun because the show is still growing and changing,” says Andrew, “and the cast and I talk about what lighting can do, which is great. I’ll notice things they repeat or they like to call out for – I made a DeLorean cue, for example, because they like Doc Brown and jumping back in time to help with their improv cues.”

Located in the house left box with the stage manager, as opposed to a booth in the back, Andrew is visually part of the show, not only to the cast with whom he interacts during the performance, but for the audience as well—adding even more of a unique live element for the audience. “The best part is when the audience member who gets called up on stage says something that I can react to with lighting—it really makes the show interactive and fun,” says Andrew.

In the end, the Eos platform proved a reliable and nimble system for the show and its night-to-night demands. “It was fascinating to work with an Eos in a way that I was not familiar,” Jeff remarks, “I am fiercely loyal to the brand, to the Eos. At the end of the day this is a theatre show—and I find that hard to do on other desks.”

Boston’s Cathedral of the Holy Cross Relies on Symetrix

The Cathedral of the Holy Cross has dominated Boston’s South End neighborhood since its construction just after the Civil War. With a seating capacity of 1,700 and a ceiling reaching to 80 feet, the cathedral is the largest Roman Catholic church in New England and the mother church for the Archdiocese of Boston. In the spring of 2017, the cathedral embarked on its first major renovation, including new LED lighting and a large and complex sound system with Symetrix signal processors at its heart. Two years and $26 million later, the cathedral reopened for Palm Sunday services.

The new sound system offers a substantial number of inputs and outputs, which are transported over a Dante network to facilitate moving signals around the sizable building. Two Symetrix Radius NX DSPs handle all of these signals, with one unit dedicated to input processing and the other handling delays to the speakers placed throughout the cathedral.

System designer Evan Landry, president and CTO of Landry Audio, a division of CommLink Integration Corp, found the versatility of the Radius NX important in meeting the substantial needs of the cathedral system. “The Radius NX provides a great deal of flexibility in terms of processing, especially with the Super Matrix, which is processed on its own SHARC chip,” Landry asserts. “We also have the ability to do logic inputs and outputs, which is handy for switching things on and off in the processing rack and essential for muting the audio system in the event of a fire alarm closure signal.”

The system currently furnishes 32 channels of input, with the Radius NX offering British EQ and highpass filter modules on each input channel. Eight channels of wireless microphones are fielded by two Shure ULXD4Q quad-channel digital receivers. Another eight channels of wired microphones for the choir are routed to two PoE-compliant Attero Tech unDX4I Dante-enabled wall plates, each of which has four mic/line inputs with preamps and phantom power.

An Attero Tech unD4I-L Dante-networked interface receives the signal from the gooseneck mic that resides on the ambo (pulpit). The unD4I-L has four channels of mic/line inputs and four channels of logic I/O. The logic is put to use to sense a pressure mat at the ambo. The ambo mic gain is increased by 5 dB in the Radius NX when the mat is stepped on and is removed when the speaker steps off the mat. This boosts the signal for speakers with soft voices, while avoiding feedback when no one is at the ambo.

Provision was made for four inputs from altar microphones but these have not yet been needed. Similarly, a Symetrix xIO 4×4 Dante-enabled analog I/O expander is installed in the choir loft but is not yet in use as of this writing because the organ has yet to be reinstalled. Anticipating future expansion, Landry had 24-core multimode optical fiber run to the loft.

On the output side, the system feeds a custom-made Innovox MicroBeam 64 line array, plus 18 more Innovox line arrays along the support columns through the cathedral: 16 in the main nave area and one in each of the transepts. PowerSoft amplification drives all of the loudspeakers. Each of these units requires its own delay time in order to synchronize the whole system. Accommodating all of these delay times became the task of the second Radius NX, and the number of discrete outputs required was dealt with by installing 4-channel analog output cards in the option slots of both Radius NX processors, as well as adding a Symetrix xOut 12 analog output expander.

Two controllers are used for mixing and control: a Microsoft Surface tablet running a user interface screen programmed by Landry in Symetrix SymView software, and a Symetrix T-5 touch screen controller. “Having a touch screen is really handy,” Landry relates. “It’s programmable, so when someone changes their mind, as often happens with new projects, we can add a volume control, for instance, with just a program change. We don’t have to put in another piece of hardware.” Landry can even do changes or troubleshoot system problems remotely by logging in through a Nook PC in the processing rack.

The PA system is far from the only sophisticated technology at work. The cathedral’s RF mic system is configured as three separate zones and employs two RF Venue Diversity Fin antennas and two Shure UA864 antennas, all of which are sent to an RF Venue 4 Zone antenna combiner. A fully equipped broadcast studio in the basement generates content for TV and webcasting and feeds the Catholic TV Network, based in Watertown, 10 miles away. One of the Radius NX processors feeds signals through the Dante network, over a Luminex switch, to the studio’s Yamaha QL1 console. From there, program audio is mixed and transmitted with video from the cathedral’s broadcast facility, up an optical fiber placed on the building’s spire, to a microwave transmitter that sends them to the John Hancock building near the city’s Copley Square, from which the signals are then rebroadcast to Watertown.

The Cathedral of the Holy Cross project took nearly three years from the time Landry first asked to bid on the project until the work was finally finished. Success in such a large project depends on good relationships, something Landry had built with the archdiocese over time. “I had worked for the archdiocese a couple of times before we installed the system for them at Our Lady of Good Voyage in South Boston in 2017. That system also included a Symetrix Radius DSP and Attero Tech wall plates. The cathedral project started shortly after the Good Voyage project completed, so we were in a good working rhythm with them, and that made all the difference.”

Teatro Calderon upgrades with ETC lighting systems

In a move to a more sustainable future, the Teatro Calderón has chosen to upgrade its lighting systems with ETC products, supplied by the company’s exclusive dealer in Spain, Stonex.

Based in Valladolid, the Teatro Calderón has long been recognised as one of the best theatres in the country. It was decided that over the next few years the theatre will renew its lighting equipment in order to allow both LED and conventional luminaires to work together as effectively as possible. In order to do this, the Calderón chose ETC’s power control and entertainment consoles.

ETC’s Sensor3 power control system and ThruPower modules were installed into the theatre, replacing a Smartrack model which was in place for the previous 20 years. The Teatro Calderón now has five Sensor3 ESR3AFN-48 power control racks, filled with ETR15AFR and ETR25AFR ThruPower modules, in addition to Net3 Conductor and Concert to manage the network, and report any faults.

Gio and Ion XE console desks were also selected to control the stage lighting in the theatre. The Eos family consoles offer powerful programming and endless options of color control in an intuitive and simple format. In addition to this, the theatre added an ETCpad which conveniently allows remote control of the luminaires and acts as an accessory for any ETC lighting system.

With the upgrade of ETC lighting equipment, the Teatro Calderón aims to become a more sustainable venue in favour of green technology, that will ultimately reduce its energy costs by up to 80%.

ETC’s dealer, Stonex worked on the project and supplied ETC’s products to the venue. Stonex has over 39 years of experience in providing professional lighting and stage engineering solutions.

National historic landmark gets upgrade with ETC gear

Red Rocks Amphitheatre has attracted the attention of some of the greatest musical acts in the world since 1941. Everyone from The Beatles and the Rolling Stones to U2, James Taylor, and the Eagles has played Red Rocks.

Nestled just outside of Denver, Colorado in the tiny town of Morrison, where the Great Plains meet the Rocky Mountains, two giant rocks jut out from the earth creating an open-air performance venue that is nearly acoustically perfect. These monoliths not only create the perfect natural sound stage, but also provide a mesmerizing background for some impressive lighting effects.

In the spring of 2019, Barbizon Light of the Rockies completed the installation and programming of an upgraded lighting package at Red Rocks Amphitheater. Until 2019, large 400 W mercury-vapor lights lit the historic rocks and eight outdoor PAR 64s lit the audience. 

“We had been working with Venue Director, Tad Bowman, of the city and county of Denver to look at LED products for the space for about three years,” says Pete Maurelli of Barbizon. “While we looked at a variety of fixtures from small to large, we recommended the ETC Desire D60X fixtures for two main reasons – the five-year warranty and ETC’s history of customer service.” 

Maurelli also notes that the smaller size of the ETC fixtures offers better control and coverage of the rocks without visually interrupting the view. This is incredibly important for a venue that has such a monumental focus on naturally created elements. If one ETC Desire fixture were to fail, it’s a minor issue because of the impressive wash coverage the D60s provide.

The main control of the system at Red Rocks includes a full ETC Mosaic system with astronomical time clock features and local control. “We partitioned the controls so that visiting artists can control the lights on the rocks, while only Red Rocks staff and stage hands can control the house lights,” says Maurelli.

A full back up generator system and life safety system are included in the upgrades as well. The houselights are now part of the backup generator system and the ETC system provides a means for them to switch automatically in the case of power loss.

The completed system developed and implemented by Barbizon Light of the Rockies includes ETC fixtures designed to withstand the weather of an outdoor concert facility. The equipment includes 49 Selador Desire D60X Lustr+ luminaires, 24 Selador Desire D60XT tungsten luminaires, one Mosaic Show Controller 2, various button stations, touchscreens, gateways, and an emergency bypass system.

Electro-Voice and Dynacord audio upgrade for Wells Fargo Arena

When Spectra, the venue management and operator of the Iowa Events Center (Des Moines, Iowa), decided it was time to update the sound system in the Wells Fargo Arena, they opted to work with Daktronics on a design-build basis. The goal was to modernize the sound both within the arena – which serves as the region’s primary sports and entertainment venue – and for several ancillary areas outside the main space, including concourses, restaurant/bars, and interview rooms. The project was led by David Sturzenbecher, applications engineer in the Audio Systems division of Daktronics. The physical installation was managed by Daktronics Field Engineer Thijs Hammink.

Providing the highest level of sound quality within the arena was the main goal, and Sturzenbecher elected to fly a series of sub-compact line-array loudspeakers to achieve it – the XLD291 from Electro-Voice. A key factor was the physical size of the arrays, which provide full audio coverage within the bowl area without interfering with sightlines to the main floor and video scoreboards. A total of 94 XLD291 elements are deployed in eight separate arrays ranging from nine to 13 boxes each. Coverage for the main floor itself comes courtesy of four Electro-Voice EVH-1152 horn-loaded loudspeakers hung within the scoreboard structure. Another EVH-1152 is deployed as a fill speaker for the low seats behind each basket. As they do for the vast majority of their stadium projects, Daktronics also provided an Electro-Voice RE20 broadcast microphone for the announcer.

“The unique thing about Wells Fargo Arena is that it’s symmetrical across one axis, but varies wildly on the other, so the south end of the house has only about two-thirds the seating of the north end. We also needed to account for the Plexiglas dasher boards used for hockey, which can create shadowing if the arrays aren’t positioned precisely,” explains Sturzenbecher. “We mapped the venue in EASE, which allowed us to position everything for full audio coverage without blocking sightlines to the center video board. Because we are, after all, also a video board company.”

Amplification throughout the arena is provided by Dynacord IPX series multi-channel DSP amplifiers for fixed installation. This enables both sophisticated signal processing and Dante audio networking of the entire sound system, while also providing highly efficient power and state-of-the-art system performance and protection technologies. “Originally, we were considering another amp for this project,” says Sturzenbecher, “but when Dynacord came out with the IPX series, we found the processing and tuning for the entire EV system works natively in them, so we gladly made that change,”.

For the ancillary areas outside the Wells Fargo Arena main bowl, Daktronics employed a wide range of Electro-Voice surface-mount speakers, primarily the EVID-S models with their innovative quick-mount system. A total of 181 EVID-S5.2XB speakers were required to expand coverage beyond the concession stands, eliminating dead spots on the concourses while upgrading the audio in the facility’s restaurants and bars.

EV’s wide selection of surface-mount models proved a huge benefit in other applications as well. The dedicated interview room received nine EVID C8.2 ceiling speakers, while the service level entrance downstairs is covered by 12 EVID-S8.2TB models. Various bar areas benefit from the use of ceiling-mounted C10.1 and EVID-S10.1DB subwoofers, plus 20 C4.2 ceiling speakers.

The new sound system has received high marks from all involved. Spectra’s A.J. Johnson, Production Manager for Wells Fargo Arena, commented, “Wells Fargo Arena needed improved sound quality and clarity to ensure the best experience for our guests. We also needed a timely installation that stayed on budget. Daktronics nailed all our needs and stayed patient when we needed to make adjustments. The new EV sound system checked all our boxes with a greatly improved listening experience throughout the arena. We are also very happy to have improved flexibility of use to fit our varied types and sizes of shows and events.”

Electro-Voice and Dynacord sound system helps revive Roof Garden Ballroom at Iowa’s Historic Arnolds Park

Nestled on the shores of West Okoboji Lake in the heart of the Iowa Great Lakes resort region, Historic Arnolds Park has been a major vacation attraction in the Midwest since the 1800s. The park was renowned for its Roof Garden Ballroom, a large dance hall that attracted such artists as Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, The Guess Who, the Glenn Miller Orchestra and many others during its heyday from 1923 to 1988. Today, it operates as a non-profit attraction to benefit the community.

On August 2, the new Roof Garden Ballroom reopened as a 1200-capacity multipurpose venue, with an authentic vintage look buoyed by a thoroughly modern sound system – Electro-Voice X-Line Advance X2 line-array loudspeakers powered by Dynacord IPX series DSP amplifiers. The system enabled the park to celebrate its history with a series of concert events featuring artists who played at the original venue. Tommy James & The Shondells had the honor of headlining the first concert in the redesigned Roof Garden Ballroom.

“Tommy James played the original Roof Garden six times going back to 1966, so they were the perfect act to open the new building,” notes Jeff Vierkant, CEO of Historic Arnolds Park. “It was a packed house. They put on a fantastic show, and the sound quality was incredible.”

Designed and installed by NLFX Professional (Bemidji, MN), the all-Electro-Voice loudspeaker system consists of twin eight-box X2-212 line arrays, with five 90-degree enclosures flown above three 120-degree versions. Low frequencies are supplied via six X12/128 dual-18” subwoofers.  A set of four Fri-28LPM line the stage lip as front fills, ensuring full coverage in every seat.

Three Dynacord IPX20:4 DSP amplifiers drive the rig, with each capable of supplying up to 20 kW of power. These intelligent amplifiers also provide a built-in OMNEO/Dante interface for networking the system, plus FIR-Drive and additional system DSP for easy centralized control of the entire sound system. The entire system is controlled from a laptop via IRIS-Net software. Handy presets make it easy to operate the system while still affording the advanced control that touring engineers prefer.

According to John Lynch, FOH engineer for Tommy James and the Shondells, the Electro-Voice system was outstanding. “This was a really nice rig – really smooth, with tons of headroom,” he reports. “We run an old school rock ’n’ roll stage, with classic guitar amps and no in-ears. The EV system had the punch to get over that easily, yet with excellent clarity. And the subs are amazing. We were moving a lot of air – shook all the dust out of that room!”

The band’s monitor engineer, John Melasippo, had access to the venue’s new stage system, also courtesy of Electro-Voice. Available speakers include 10 Xw15A 15” floor wedges, with three Dynacord IPX10:8 DSP amps providing power along with network connectivity. One ETX-18SP powered subwoofer is also available as a drum monitor.

“We couldn’t have done this without NLFX Professional, who did a fantastic job,” notes Arnolds CEO Jeff Vierkant. “Ben Stowe really made sure we were well taken care of. He designed a system that sounds fantastic from every seat in the house. He also trained our local sound engineers on the system, and got it all installed and perfectly tuned on our short timeline. Great company.”

For Historic Arnolds Park, the re-opening of the Roof Garden with the X-Line Advance system marks the return of a classic venue that meets the needs of top-level talent to play amid the natural beauty of northwest Iowa. “From the opening number, the crowd was happy, the band was happy, and Tommy was happy,” adds John Lynch. “That’s what’s important. The sound system is a big part of that, and the EV rig helped make for a very smooth day.”

Symetrix’ Ease of Use Earns Raves at Arvada Presbyterian Church

Arvada began as a small town about seven miles northwest of Denver, less than six years before Colorado attained statehood in 1876. Incorporated in 1904, it once claimed the title of “Celery Capital of the World.” Today, Arvada is a thriving commuter suburb of 112,000 people. The Arvada Presbyterian Church goes back to Arvada’s early years, beginning in 1904 with a congregation of 14. Its current main building was dedicated in 1916, making it the second-oldest church building in Arvada. An education wing was added in 1952. As of 2016, the church boasted a congregation of 245 members.

Services are mostly traditional and feature a 20- to 30-voice choir. During the summer, the choir takes a break, and three to five praise singers lead worship. An electronic keyboard and an assortment of microphones are obvious concessions to modern technology. But behind the scenes, a state-of-the-art Symetrix Prism 12×12 DSP manages the church’s sound system, offering auto-mixing with a simple user interface, with access to deeper features when needed.

“The Arvada Presbyterian Church leaders developed their sound system over the years, as technology changed,” relates Dave Kistler, president of systems integrators Equalized Productions, which designed and installed the Symetrix system. “Their old system, which used an analog mixer, was being run by high school students. When the students went to college, two members of the congregation ran the system, which was okay until those two gentlemen retired and began traveling more often. So the church asked us to design a sound system that was completely automated and could be set up for a few different scenarios, using presets, so it would sound good without requiring somebody who’s knowledgeable about audio. They wanted access to the back end, with the EQs and limiters, but they don’t intend to mess with that for the most part. And they wanted a system that could be quickly and easily reset to its standard settings. Symetrix’ Prism DSP and SymVue software enabled us to provide all of that.”

The flow of the sound system is fairly straightforward. The church has an assortment of handheld and lapel wireless microphones, the lectern mic, choir microphones (pencil condensers), and wired mics for the praise singers, plus the electronic keyboard. All told, the system uses about 20 audio channels, so the Symetrix Prism 12×12 is connected via Dante to a Symetrix xIn 12 analog input expander, for a total of 24 analog inputs, leaving room for growth. The Prism’s analog outputs feed the church’s older Crown and QSC amplifiers, which in turn drive QSC speakers in the sanctuary and Atlas in-ceiling speakers in the lobby.

“After analyzing everything, we decided to leave the existing speaker and amplification system intact because it was robust enough and complemented the facility,” recalls Kistler. “That enabled us to avoid acoustical treatment. So the main item was the Symetrix Prism. We also added Slade power sequencing, so they can turn everything on and off from the booth, and we put an amp rack in the back room. They had traditional two- or three-gang faceplate floor boxes and had problems with people breaking the mic connectors, so we installed recessed floor boxes.”

For easy and intuitive control, the Equalized Productions team provided a Dell touchscreen PC running Symetrix SymVue software. “They log into their computer, launch the application, and enter in a four-digit PIN for security purposes,” Kistler details. “That brings up a screen that allows them to go into the front-of-house mixer, the stage floor-monitor mixer, and the choir monitor mixer, each of which is independently mixed in the Symetrix Prism using the touchscreen. Preset buttons call up the different situations they’ll encounter. For example, there’s a preset for the school year, when the choir is performing, and another preset for the summer, when the praise singers are performing with handheld, wired mics.”

Symetrix DSPs are Equalized Productions’ regular go-to systems, and the Prism proved an excellent choice for Arvada Presbyterian Church. “We choose Symetrix primarily for the ease of programming,” Kistler explains. “It just makes sense. SymView was the key component that allowed us to go into the mixer and control everything. Creating the back end is so much simpler than with other DSPs. With Symetrix, I can clean up the console, so when the client launches the virtual mixers, everything is simple. I can get rid of the Solo button, the Level button, and anything else they might hit that could mess things up. We label the mixers with the channel number that is associated with the floor box, and we create labels that makes sense to them, like ‘This is Pastor Bill’s mic.’”

Kistler’s team used SymView to enable the client to log into the mixing console, mix as they wish, and then reset the system with one preset. “They also have an Admin console where they can adjust the EQs, limiting, gating, and so on,” Kistler adds. “They didn’t want to control all that stuff but they wanted to be able to see it. So they have two separate SymViews that they can log into: One is for regular control and one is Admin.” By doing all mixing and processing in the Prism, Equalized Productions was able to remove not only the old analog mixer but old rackmount gear, such as graphic EQs. “We took 32 spaces of equipment down to 2,” Kistler details. “Overall the new system looks simple and appealing. During training, they wanted us to demonstrate messing the entire mix up and then resetting the system to get back to safety. The way we programmed the Symetrix system, they hit one preset button, and that happens. They loved it; they were raving about it. That’s what’s great about the Symetrix system.”

Eos brings the Moulin Rouge to Broadway

As one of this year’s most anticipated Broadway musicals, Moulin Rouge! The Musical has captured the hearts of critics and audiences alike. Its remarkable performances and production design combine to create a truly extravagant experience thanks to the talent on and off the stage—and, in part, to the power of Eos.

“ETC’s products are why we can make this show happen,” explains Lighting Designer Justin Townsend, “There is just so much data—nothing else could have driven the show.” Most people are familiar with the 2001 motion picture, a stylistic spectacle from the mind of Baz Luhrmann, so it was important to the musical’s creative team to make something that both honored the film and stood out for itself. “We didn’t want to just recreate the movie,” Townsend said, “but try to create a live Moulin Rouge experience.” The over-the-top scenery by set designer Derek McLane was matched by Townsend’s equally dazzling lighting design. “It needed to be bold, nimble, striking, rococo,” he explained, “And I’m tickled we were able to have such huge resources put into set electrics to make it happen. All around – we put the pedal down on all fronts in order to create something that could really sparkle and be unique.” With nearly 200 moving lights in the rig, LEDs, LED neon, actual neon, thousands of lightbulbs, and a huge amount of power in the footlights, the show required a control system that was up to the task. The answer was Eos.

“Any given show might have one really tricky element,” explains Lighting Programmer Brad Gray, “whether it’s pixel mapping, heavy on effects, or lots of discrete timing … this show was a combination of all the hard parts of every show I’ve done before.” As the flagship Eos family console from ETC, the Eos Ti provided enough versatility to program the complicated effects as well as the capacity to reliably control thousands and thousands of parameters in the rig.

One of the major advantages of the Eos software for Townsend and Gray was the ability to create a variety of Magic Sheets. Gray created 10 magic sheets that all interacted with each other—an enormous undertaking that included 6,000 channels. But once built, Townsend could then easily interact with the plots. “This was very exciting work we did. With the magic sheets and touchscreen monitors, it’s like we made our own app for the Moulin Rouge,” Townsend said. Gray adds, “One of the best parts about the Eos platform is that it’s so, so designer friendly. They can give direction and not worry about commands—it’s very conducive to how most designers work.”

The result is in the reviews—Moulin Rouge! The Musical opened on July 25, 2019 at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre on Broadway to overwhelmingly excellent reviews. ETC is proud to know that it continues to provide creative professionals the tools they need to translate their art to the stage without compromise. “I don’t see myself moving away from the Eos anytime soon,” Brad explained. Brad isn’t alone – Eos is currently the preferred platform for 27 Broadway productions.