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March 2012 l 69

installationnews FRANCE

Innovason desks add lyrical touch to Paris media centre

By Dave Robinson

SITUATED in the heart of Paris, La Gaîté Lyrique is a multimedia playground whose mission is to promote all forms of digital culture and new media. Occupying seven floors behind a modest façade, La Gaîté Lyrique is packed with digital technology including four Innovason Eclipse

consoles and an EtherSound network throughout. La Gaîté Lyrique began life in 1862 as a 1,800-seat theatre. An abortive attempt to run an ‘amusement park’ within the structure in the late ’80s ultimately forced its closure. The building lay dormant until 2002 when the Mairie de Paris stepped in to give the iconic space a new

lease of life. The project was a huge undertaking and was finally inaugurated in September 2011. The venue comprises seven

floors and includes rehearsal rooms, a recording studio and the ‘technical’ floor. There are a number of dedicated spaces, the largest of which is the 750- capacity ‘Grande Salle’ which houses two Innovason Eclipse

Pierre Le Cardinal, Grand Salle engineer at La Gaîté Lyrique

digital consoles for FOH and monitoring duties. Dedicated to live music, this space has its own bespoke EtherSound network within the room as well as the possibility to send audio from the stage to anywhere in the building. The other spaces include the small hall (max capacity of 150), a 130-seat auditorium with a 5.1 digital theatre surround system, a video games space, the resources centre and 1,000sqm of modular exhibition space across two levels.

The la Gaîté Lyrique audio system is fully networked throughout the entire building. All 360 ceiling speakers across all levels of the building are connected and individually addressable thanks to 96 Auvitran AVP4-ES100 Ether- Sound roof amplifiers. Ceiling speakers are complemented by 20 ML12-ES Amadeus subs from Atelier 33. The jewel in the crown of this set-up is the third of the four Eclipse consoles. The fourth is kept on hand as a spare or for extra events when required. “The Eclipse installed on our ‘technical’ floor acts as a massive matrix,” explains head of sound, Jean-Marc Harel. “Used in conjunction with the Auvitran ESMonitor software, it manages all the speakers across the site. These can be managed individually or in definable groups. In short, we can send sound anywhere at any time from any source in the building.” “We weren’t intending to use the Eclipse in this way,” admits Harel, “ but it was better than it sitting there doing nothing, which would have been the alternative. However, it’s turned

out to be the best thing we could possibly have done. “We use the M.A.R.S.

multitrack recording function all the time to send out different audio streams across the building. We also use it to handle effects, and of course we can manage all of our grouping on it very quickly and easily. It’s a genuinely multi-tasking piece of equipment and it’s a massive time-saver for us when it comes to setting up different scenarios. In fact, none of us would want to go back to a traditional matrix solution now.” Eclipse has been equally well-

received in its more traditional setting of the main concert hall where two consoles have been deployed for FOH and monitoring purposes complemented by a DioCore (Innovason’s EtherSound- enabled stagebox) for extra I/O capacity when required. “The best bit for me is M.A.R.S.” says engineer Pierre Le Cardinal. “We can record all of our shows on high-quality digital multitrack, which the engineers and clients love, but we also use it for virtual soundchecking, playback and all sorts. “Once we’ve recorded a show,

we can send it on the network straight upstairs to our studio for post-show mixing and editing. There we have a second DioCore equipped with a UM8 output card which converts the signal from EtherSound to AES/EBU and then straight into Pro Tools. In that way we have a completely digital chain from start to finish. It doesn’t get better than that!”

Rehearsal, recording and performance space in central Paris features fully networked EtherSound system and Eclipse consoles

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