Madrid, Spain (January 5, 2006)–The opera Carmen is always a major undertaking when it is performed; move it into a major outdoor bullfighting ring in Madrid and figure out how to cram 60 wireless microphones into the production, and you start to get an idea of the challenge that local production company Kultperalia faced recently. The company, then, turned to Sabine Wireless for the effort.
Sound designer Paco Cano from Pro3 & Co in Barcelona had to find a way to get 60 channels of wireless running without interference problems and without violating any of Spain’s strict channel allocations for wireless microphones. “The people at Sabine had a system that solved so many of our potential problems,” said Cano. “We needed a wireless system with the audio quality to handle the dynamic range and presence of the opera voice, and we needed 60 of them, and they had to be approved by our regulatory agencies. We could have chosen several different types of wireless systems to achieve that many simultaneous channels, but then we would have been faced with inconsistent sound quality. That just would not have worked. Our primary concern was the sound, and we chose Sabine because they sounded the best. The license-free band and the multi-channel capabilities made the choice even easier”
The opera features three chorus groups and nine principle actors. Cano chose to use a Sabine Wireless bodypack for each member of the choruses, and he called for two bodypacks for each of the principals, adding up to 42 channels of microphones for the chorus members, and 18 channels for the principals.
The AES3 digital audio outputs of the SW72-NDR receivers were patched to the digital inputs of a Yamaha DM2000 mixer. Cano used this mixer to create stereo submixes of the three choruses. Individual sends were maintained for the principals, which were sent along with the submixes out of the DM2000 via ADAT optical to a Yamaha PM5D, the master mixer for the production. All the orchestral mics were also patched to this mixer, which Vinander used to balance the entire show.
The 60 bodypack transmitters were transmitting from the stage back to the front of house (FOH) position; high-gain, directional antennas were patched to one Sabine SWA6SS antenna distribution amplifier, which was then patched to an additional six SWA6SS units. Each of these units then distributed RF to six 2-channel Sabine SW72NDR receivers.
A combination of lavalier and headworn mics from Countryman were placed on the actors, all wearing heavy period costumes. Lake Technologies was used for the system processing which controlled a large array of Meyer powered speakers. “Everything sounded great, and having Sabine Wireless made this potentially difficult wireless application go very smoothly,” noted Vinader.