MyMix overcomes the monitoring hurdles of Dreamgirls the Musical
Sunday, 1st May 2011
The spectacular musical Dreamgirls has just completed its run in Johannesburg at the Monte casino Teatro, where all sound communications and CCTV systems were supplied and installed by the Prosound Rental Division.
Showtime Management the producers of the show in South Africa selected Prosound as their preferred supplier based on their proven track record with many productions of a similar stature and their ability to meet the requirements of the international design team on budget.
The show has an inherent hurdle from a sound perspective in that the Band is split over two distinctly separate locations with the Drums, Bass, Guitar and First Keyboard appearing on stage as part of the show (albeit far upstage centre), whilst the balance of the musicians are located in the pit, some 15 meters away. Not only is there the distance to contend with, the musicians are out of sight of each other and isolated by the massive screens that are the key scenic element of the show.
Visual communication is the easy part to deal with, and a conductor camera feed is distributed amongst all musicians who have individual 7" LCD screens.
The audio is a different issue, as it is imperative that the solution provides real time acoustic isolation for the musicians as there are obvious delay problems relating to sound from the onstage monitoring for the cast, as well as live sound from the pit to stage and vice a versa. In addition the musicians have to be able to hear themselves, as well as each other, but in a balance suited to each players' personnel and professional tastes.
The solution was to provide a system comprising of 12 individual MyMix pods, one for each musician that enabled 16 channels of band mixes to be balanced as needed. The clear labelling method and ease of use ensured rapid setup and minimal familiarisation period for all. The musicians also have the ability to adjust certain equalisation parameters and even add reverb to the overall signals. Once the settings are finalised these are stored and are available for instant recall (invaluable in a situation with stand in musicians).
Signal distribution was easily achieved as the individual feeds from the mixing console were sent directly to the IEX-16L input expander located on stage; this unit converts the analogue audio to the MyMix digital protocol (AVB), from here there is a standard Ethernet cable infrastructure that is routed via a managed switch to the two principle locations. Here in turn there are also managed switches for the local signal distribution and the supply of "Power Over Ethernet" (POE) to the individual personal mixers.
Although not integral to the show, the system also allowed for each individual musician to record the show as a multi-track on standard SD cards within the MyMix pods, for use as a rehearsal or reference medium.
After intensive rehearsal periods and in excess of 60 shows, the MyMix system has proven to be extremely reliable whilst being flexible enough to cope with the challenging show requirements.