Full Compass Systems provided services gratis for Opera In The Park, an annual outdoor event that finds the Madison Opera teaming with the Madison Symphony Orchestra.Madison, WI (September 6, 2007)–A full 12,500 opera and orchestra patrons spread over a wide-open 5-acre space to enjoy Opera In The Park, an annual outdoor event that finds the Madison Opera teaming with the Madison Symphony Orchestra as a gift to the community. Once again, SR provider Full Compass Systems and its owner, Jonathan Lipp, provided the company’s services gratis.
Lipp called Henry Heine, co-owner of Bag End, and Mike Pappas, senior applications engineer with Sennheiser and Neumann, to spec out a system that would be powerful enough to cover the large expanse of the park while maintaining a “transparent” presence to the audience, orchestra and singers and allow the opportunity to record the entire performance in 5.1 surround.
The on-stage microphones were kept to a bare minimum. Lipp and Pappas chose four Sennheiser MKH 800s for the singers, while three MKH 800s were used as overheads for coverage of the entire orchestra. Additionally, two Neumann KM 184s were used to highlight the harp and percussion sections and a stereo pair of Neumann KM140s set in an ORTF configuration and two Neumann KM184D Solution “Ds” used as “flankers” covered the choir. Meanwhile, the basses used piezo pick-ups and Countryman DIs. For audience and ambient sounds, a Neumann KU100 Binaural Stereo Dummy Head Microphone was used because, according to Pappas, “its scary realistic.”
Because the team was simultaneously recording the event and feeding the FOH mixer, the microphone signals were split before being routed to the recording desk and the recording pre-amps supplied phantom power for both. For the recording, Pappas brought his personal rig, which includes two Grace 801 R and one Grace 802 phantom power supplies; one Meitner Design EMM Labs DAC8 digital to analog converter; three EMM Labs ADC8 MR IV A/D converters; and a Rosendahl “Nano Clocks” Word Clock generator which fed to a Tascam x48 running 24 channels to record. Output of the x48 went to a Mackie SR24-4 mixer for a reference mix. Pappas said, “This recording would not be possible without a really well behaved PA. We were running condenser mics on the whole system and it creates a big, full sound. The challenge is to make the sound non-intrusive and transparent to the audience.”
Lipp and Heine developed the house system, which consisted of a Yamaha 01V96 digital console; two clusters of three 1000w powered 2 x 12” Bag End Crystals (run in stereo) that were flown in front of the stage with four TA6000-R front seat fill speakers; and two powered 21” and two powered double 18” subs. The electronic crossover for the system was a Bag End Infrasub processor. Upstage monitors were a pair of TA6000-Rs, flown above the chorus, and the floor monitors were four Bag End Sapphires. A Goldline TEF25 Tefpro audio analyzer was used to calculate the 135ms delay time for two towers set 138 feet in front of the stage, where each held an additional cluster of two stereo1000w powered 2 x 12” Bag End Crystals. A Shure Brothers P4800 handled the entire speaker matrix.
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