Durt tracks mountain biking with A&H
AUSTRALIA: To manage the sound reinforcement at the recent National Mountain Bike Championships, Durt Pty Ltd put a pair of Allen & Heath digital mixers to use. The event and PA company employed the Qu-32 and an ME digital mixer.
‘The location for a major mountain bike event can be the size of 10 football fields,’ explained Durt’s managing director, Russell Baker. ‘The trails can be upwards of 8km2 and the audience, often well over 10,000 capacity, can be spread over several mountains. There will be multiple concurrent events, each with their own audio requirements, plus briefing, meeting and conference areas which require audio but also minimal background noise.’
A control cabin housed the Qu-32 with AR2412 and AR0804 I/O racks serving as two external connection points. A router and aerial farm were installed on the roof of the cabin and iOS control was utilised for managing long-distance coverage.
‘The Qu managed multiple cable and wireless microphone systems but the large distances and mountainous terrain meant that normal wireless couldn’t always cover it all,’ noted Mr Baker. ‘So handheld radios, coming in through DI boxes and iPhones plugged straight into the board were used to get live race reports back from the distant parts of the courses.’
FOH speaker feeds catering for up to 18 main speakers from six zone mixers, as well as feeds to broadcasters and web partners, and mixes to control the ducking were all supplied via the Qu system. Dedicated mixes were also provided to broadcasters and webcasters for commentary and interviews. These mixes couldn't include music due to licensing restrictions and to ensure no microphone spill of background music, broadcast engineers received a separate phase and delay adjusted music feed.
Commentators in each sport zone were also able to duck the music in that area. A ‘whole-of-event’ mix was also available with ducking control of all sources. This was used for major announcements and emergencies. Scene changes allowed commentary to be patched to the main event centre as each event reached its final stage. The ME system’s primary use was to enable commentary teams and broadcast operators to produce monitor mixes of their own as a PAFL system.
‘The whole system runs with minimal human intervention – mostly scene changes – for up to a week and is almost all controlled from iPads and iPhones,’ concluded Mr Baker. ‘Without a person on the mixer 24/7, automated ducking is very important to keep the music level up for the crowd, while allowing the commentary to be heard clearly when needed. Recent updates to Qu firmware eliminated my last remaining outboard equipment, and the features just keep on coming.’