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Hungarian Madách Theatre upgrades with Allen & Heath mixing systems

The theatre is currently testing out its new Allen & Heath dLive mixing systems with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘School of Rock’ production

Madách Theatre (or Madách Színház), one of the most popular musical theatres in Budapest, Hungary, has recently undergone a major audio renovation with Allen & Heath dLive digital mixing systems.

The 800-seat venue – which hosts approximately 500,000 visitors – holds around 350 performances a year, including some of the biggest international musicals, such as works by Andrew Lloyd Webber; the theatre is currently premiering its new sound system with Lloyd Webber’s ‘School of Rock’ production.

Supplied by Allen & Heath’s Hungarian distributors, Audmax, the installation features three dLive Surfaces, three MixRacks, eight Expanders and several ME Personal Monitoring systems, which allow for the independent mixing of vocals, orchestra and IEM/stage monitors.

Krisztian Varga, system designer and managing director of Audmax, commented: “The requirements of this installation were quite complex. Madách needed a system that allowed for four independent mixing systems which could also work together. This meant we needed something with a very high level of flexibility, a large number of channels and a common “language” for inter-connections. Allen & Heath’s dLive system has so many options which allow for a flexible and easy workflow, it was the perfect solution.”

The theatre’s FOH now comprises two dLive S7000’s; one controlling sound for the orchestra and the other handling vocals and additional musical performers.

Tamás Ditzmann, leading sound engineer at Madách, added: “dLive was chosen for many reasons. The ability to have a large channel count is hugely important to us, as each show could need more than 100 input channels. dLive also offers a high level of flexibility, allowing for audio to be controlled through multiple locations using DX expanders. With Director software, every single system is accessible from FOH. Plus, the audio and processing quality of dLive is outstanding, particularly the Dyn8 plugin.”

Each surface is connected to a DX32 Expander located at FOH and a Waves Soundgrid system for additional processing. Ditzmann elaborated: “It’s also great that dLive supports Waves integration with 128×128 channels, as well as other major formats such as Dante and MADI. The superMADI card is genius and we use this for feeding the OB truck on a regular basis. Even the engineers from the broadcast field have commented how amazing the whole system is.”

The S7000 surface used for the orchestra is connected to a DM32 MixRack – located in the orchestra pit – which in turn is connected to a ME-U system powering 12 ME-1 personal mixers used by the musicians.

Ditzmann continued: “The ME system is extremely popular in the pit, it helps them to focus and develop their artistic interpretation. They’ve commented that they feel their performances are much better now and have more feeling.” Additionally, the DM32 is paired with a DX32 for additional I/O and a DX Hub card, which is fed to a central DX and ME patch system.

In the wireless/amp room a DM64, connected to the second FOH Surface, is utilised for wireless microphones used by the onstage performers. A connected DX32 expander is positioned in the orchestra pit for additional I/O.

Also in that room is a second DM32, connected to a dLive S5000 which performs monitor mixing at the side of the stage, handling mixes for IEM’s, the orchestra, choir and additional band members.

All three MixRacks are equipped with two GigaAce cards and one DX Link card; gigaAce is used for splits between all FOH and monitor systems, while the DX Link cards are fed to a centralised patch panel, which is then strung through to additional panels placed on stage and in the orchestra pit, allowing for further I/O and personal monitoring when required.

Two DX32 and two DX168 expanders, accessible through the patch panel, are placed on stage along with a second ME-U system and used for more I/O or extra musicians on stage. An additional dLive set-up was also purchased for purpose of touring, including an S5000 surface, DM32 MixRack, a ME-U and ME-1 and two DX168 and DX32 Expanders.