Montreux, Switzerland (August 1, 2006)–In its first year as a Montreux Jazz Festival sponsor, Digidesign collaborated with the festival’s audio staff to consolidate and streamline the technology, most notably by bringing its Venue live sound mixing environment and DigiDelivery high-speed file transmission system to the event. The Festival took place from June 30-July 15, with this year marking its 40th anniversary, and the 70th birthday of founder Claude Nobs.
Comprised of the D-Show digital mixing console, the FOH rack (with digital mix engine and embedded control computer), the Stage rack (with recallable, remote-controlled preamps) and a multichannel digital snake system, Venue was used at FOH and monitor positions in three of the major venues of the festival: the Auditorium Stravinski, the Miles Davis Hall and the Casino Barrière. Digidesign also provided a console for the Jazz Café.
Venue received universal acclaim from the 30-plus visiting sound engineers who piloted it, with many taking advantage of the Pro Tools recording options. The HDx option provided the ability to seamlessly integrate up to 128 channels of industry-standard Pro Tools|HD record/playback to the Venue systems, allowing sound engineers to record shows, perform virtual soundchecks with pre-recorded multi-track material and even enhance live performances with Pro Tools playback.
Most of Digidesign’s European live sound team was present to support the event. Also attending the festival for Digidesign was Live Sound Market Manager and celebrated engineer, Robert Scovill (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Rush and Def Leppard), who oversaw the technical operations. At one point, while Scovill was giving a presentation to the company’s international distributors upstairs at the Stravinsky Auditorium, Massive Attack FOH engineer Robbie Allan was explaining to journalists how he planned to use Venue’s HDx option to record that night’s show, taking 96 channels sourced directly from the remotely located mic pres.
Matthieu Bameulle of Niveau 2, Digidesign’s Swiss distributor, was on-hand conducting training workshops for many of the onsite sound engineers who were given a hands-on demonstration of Venue’s functionality, ergonomics and ease of operation.
In fact, it was that ease of use in specific that wowed many at the demonstration. Indie British rock band, Starsailor, were so impressed with the recording potential that an agreement was struck which enabled FOH engineer Walter Jaquiss’ multitrack recording of the show to be transferred securely via Digidesign’s DigiDelivery global media delivery system to veteran sound engineer Gannon Kashiwa. Based in Denver, Colorado, Kashiwa was able to quickly download the Pro Tools sessions, mix the set in his private ICON studio and then deliver the stereo tracks to the band the morning following the performance.
“We knew we would eventually have to move to digital,” stated festival senior sound supervisor, Bernard Natier. “It had been presented to us with a competing platform as far back as 2000. At the time, however, it was not the right desk and we decided to wait. When we discovered Digidesign’s Venue, it changed everything. The console now has a reputation for its intuitiveness. In the past 12 months, it has really taken off.”
Niveau 2 music director, Patrick Vogelsang, who was also the event’s sound director, confirmed that while Le Voyageur 1 and 2 mobile recording trucks were again taking splits for broadcast and TV–along with the Camion 2 in the Casino Barriere–a lot of recording activity had taken place straight from Venue. “This was not intended to replace the trucks,” he said, “but simply to show production and the artists the huge possibilities of this desk.”
Vogelsang suggested that Venue had passed its “baptism of fire” effortlessly, handling a huge opening show paying homage to Atlantic Records founders, Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegun–and which saw 96 channels in use at both the monitor and FOH positions. He noted that the turn-around speed necessary to keep the busy program on schedule was another point in favor of Venue. “With three or four shows happening each night, the stage constantly had to be repatched, and the fact that the sound engineers could easily transfer their mixes from a USB key to the show console was a huge bonus.”
In addition to Vogelsang, Natier and Bameulle, other key personnel in the success of the Montreux Jazz Festival included André Vouilloz (production director), Martin Reich (sound designer); Stravinski sound engineers Stephane Wyss and Jerome (Jason) Barri; Miles Davis Hall sound engineers, Benoit Saillet and Caryl Montine; and Remy Beuchat, Gabrielle Wyss and Chris Hauri at the Casino Barriere. At the Jazz Café, was engineer Franck Cavet.