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Eclipse Installed into Opéra Comique in Paris

First established during the reign of Louis XIV, the Opéra Comique in Paris is one of the oldest theatrical and musical institutions in France. It has had a turbulent history, both as a company and as a building, including being twice destroyed by fire.

Rebuilt for the third time in 1898, the theatre (also known as the Salle Favart) is now classed as a listed building. However, whilst the building may be listed, the audio equipment is thoroughly modern, as underlined by the theatre’s recent purchase of an Eclipse digital mixing console from Innovason.
Sebastien Arribas, head of AV at the Opera Comique explained that the time had come to move on from their old analogue console as it was simply too limiting in terms of the number of outputs and flexibility of configuration. “It still sounded good, but we had got to the stage where we were asking more of the console than it was capable of giving, so it was time to move on, and a digital console was the obvious choice.”
After researching a number of different options, the Eclipse from Innovason was the console that attracted Arribas and his team the most. “For one thing, it came highly recommended from Radio France. We do a lot of work in collaboration with Radio France, and I hold their technical team in the highest regard, so that was an important recommendation,” observed Arribas. “After that, once we started to look in detail at what the console had to offer in terms of features and functionality, we were very impressed. The M.A.R.S. recording function was of particular interest. Also, it’s a French console - perhaps only a minor point, but important to us as a French company nevertheless.”
The M.A.R.S. onboard 64-track recording system was a very important feature for Arribas and his team. “It’s a HUGE advantage for us,” he confirmed. “We really are using it to its full capacity for recording shows either for archiving or for broadcast purposes. It’s also very useful for soundchecking – in fact, once you get used to having the record function at your fingertips, you wonder how you ever did without it!”
However, M.A.R.S. aside, Arribas explained that the main requirement was for a truly multipurpose console that was capable of handling many different things at once. “We needed a flexible console with a lot of outputs, because we have to send audio to many different places. For example, for our current production, as well as handling FoH and monitors, we’re also sending the main mix to the dressing rooms, and we’re doing a separate mix for the media which will be used for a spot on the main 8 o’clock news. We have another separate loop for the subtitle machine for the hard of hearing, and then of course there are the effects returns, talkback and so on,” he noted. “However, each production is different, so it’s important that we can configure the console accordingly. I have used many consoles in my time, but none as flexible and as completely configurable as the Eclipse. It’s great for visiting engineers, as we can set it up exactly as they wish with no difficulty at all. I also like that we can swap modules between the Diocore and the console depending on our I/O requirements.”
Arribas also mentioned EtherSound networking capabilities as an important factor in the choice of the Eclipse. “In our view, EtherSound is the best protocol for what we need to achieve, so the desk had to be EtherSound-compatible. Most of what we do is over the network, so the fact that the console is truly plug’n’play from an EtherSound point of view was a big point in its favour.”
“In fact, Eclipse is an excellent console all round,” concluded Arribas. “It’s full of extremely useful features for us, such as M.A.R.S.and its ES networking capabilities, plus the onboard effects, 96 faders etc. The preamps are superb, so it’s also an excellent-sounding product – and all of that comes in a package that weighs just 40kg. In a theatre like ours, where the console gets moved around quite a bit, that is a very important factor. All in all, we’re very happy with our choice, and the support we’ve received from Innovason has been exemplary.”






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