David Williams, Soundmirror RF tech, Mark Donahue, Soundmirror recording engineer, and Mike Paddock, head of AV at Santa Fe Opera.
Santa Fe, NM (October 23, 2015)—Classical music recording and production company Soundmirror recently put the first Lectrosonics Venue 2 Digital Hybrid Wireless modular receiver to work on the world premiere of Cold Mountain at the Santa Fe Opera in New Mexico.
Soundmirror’s veteran recording engineer, Mark Donahue, and Massachusetts-based independent wireless specialist David Williams, working with classical music record producer Elizabeth Ostrow, employed a total of 12 SMQV and 18 LT body pack transmitters, combined with DPA 4071 lavalier microphones. These were paired with four six-channel Venue receivers fitted with VRT tracking filtered modules plus a new Venue 2 receiver with six VRT2 modules.
A number of transmitters were deployed in the minimalist scenery in order to unobtrusively capture some of the on-stage action. The dual-battery SMQVs were mainly reserved for the female singers, where the smaller pack was a better fit for the tighter costumes.
“The nice thing about the Venue 2 is being able to tune across three full blocks with a single unit,” comments Donahue. The new receiver tunes across a 220 MHz range, matching the tuning ranges of the SSM and L Series "large bandwidth" transmitters, including the LT body packs used on Cold Mountain. Each of the Venue 2’s six receiver modules covers 75 MHz, or three Lectrosonics blocks.
“[O]nce you start operating all 30 wireless channels in close proximity to each other on a 46-foot by 28-foot stage, there’s always a need to adjust some frequencies. Being able to move between blocks without having to think about what hardware we have is a quantum leap forward for us,” reports Donahue.
The recording of the opera—composed by Jennifer Higdon with a libretto by Gene Scheer—is scheduled for release on the Pentatone label in surround SACD format.