Portland, OR.- November 23, 2010-The Peter Gabriel “New Blood, Scratch My Back Tour” is nothing less than spectacular. For this tour it’s only Peter, and a 54 piece orchestra. No drums, no guitars. Peter and the New Blood Orchestra performed cover songs to sellouts at amphitheaters and arenas throughout Europe this spring and fall. It’s easy to understand why Peter and his artistic style keep gaining popularity over all these years. From a tour production standpoint, it’s also easy to see why Audinate’s popular digital media networking technology Dante™, was chosen by Brit Row Productions.
Because of the complexities of delivering an even orchestral sound to large arena audiences, a number of finely controlled zones were required. Richard Sharrat, FOH engineer for the tour, used 9 sends from the Digico SD-7 to Dante-enabled products. In order to ensure that these sends were combined properly, a Yamaha DME 64 with a Dante-MY16-AUD was used to transfer the AES outputs of the console to the entire Dante network. The DME also allows for fine system matrix control and testing of the system independently of the console and FOH engineer. Final system EQ was achieved using (2) Dolby Lake Processors running MESA EQ modules, to an additional (5) Dolby Lake Processors and a Lab.gruppen LM26 acting as crossovers for the PA all distributed via Dante over fiber.
Josh Lloyd, Systems Technician for Brit Row Production said, “Using Dante over fiber replaced a 32 pair return snake. A tiny piece of fiber optic cable delivered far greater control of the sound, which is critical in such an application”. Lloyd went on to say, “Naturally Dante is capable of much more than this especially when employing a single mode fiber. Dante gives the reassurance that there is plenty of headroom in the network, and that everything is going to work reliably, show after show”.
Brit Row Productions (BRP) is using single mode fiber as opposed to the older multimode fiber. The advantages of single mode fiber over multi-mode fiber are; greater potential bandwidth (this is the medium on which 10 Gigabit Ethernet is transported), and longer maximum distances (up to 160km in one hop).
Another feature of Dante used by Lloyd is its Multicast vs. Unicast settings tool, which in a tour of this size and complexity, made Lloyd’s job much easier. Lloyd remarked, “Dante, being a truly IP over Ethernet compliant system allows for a wide variety of network topologies to be used. Because signal only goes to the places where it is needed, there is no wastage of network bandwidth. Traditionally this could only be achieved with considerable time spent configuring network settings and audio channel settings”. Says Lloyd,” Dante’s easy-to-use configuration tool makes it a no brainer- if the signal needs to go to several places, I choose multicast, if it needs to go to one place then unicast. The great thing about Dante is that it will “show its workings” but not force you into making a decision if you are happy with what it suggests”.
As with most Peter Gabriel tours, multi-media and video plays a big part of the show. The use of Dante was especially useful on this tour. When an audio feed was required to the Video department, it took very little time to set up. The sound engineers simply plugged an Ethernet cable into a conveniently located switch, set up the patch on Dante Controller, and gave the video crew a very clean feed, without having to consider complex routing or topology issues. This speed of deployment and flexibility
meant that the sound engineers could concentrate on their main job, which is delivering great sounding audio to the audience.
Tours are all about efficiency. Lloyd added , “Using Dante on a tour of this size makes load-in and load-outs much faster, it is easy to use and understand and most of all, gives me the kind of audio control I could only dream about a few short years ago”.