It would be hard to find a better place to enjoy an array of cultural activities - from exclusive performances by Cirque du Soleil to concerts by ZZ Top and leading international blues artists - than Amphithéâtre Cogeco in Trois Rivieres, Quebec. Located on a site marking the confluence of the Saint Maurice and Saint Lawrence Rivers, the stunning new amphitheater promises a full calendar of outdoor shows annually from May to September. With LUMINEX as the backbone for audio, video, lighting and control systems effective network integration is assured as the new venue kicks off its debut season.
Situated halfway between Montreal and Quebec City, Trois Rivieres is a historical heritage site in its own right. The Amphithéâtre Cogeco offers a new stop for tourists and a cultural meeting place for regional residents. It has covered seating for 3,500 people and can accommodate up to 5,500 more on a grassy slope. Sophisticated outdoor stage equipment can meet the needs of the largest local, national and international productions; the stage house can be closed off with a steel and glass door for cabaret-style shows. Cirque du Soleil has been contracted to present exclusive shows and previews at the amphitheater, and the site will host other prominent events, such as the annual Trois-Rivieres en Blues festival.
Trizart Alliance, the Montreal-based, globally recognized theater and design consulting firm, specified a LUMINEX solution for the amphitheater. Boucherville, Quebec's TKNL, which specializes in installations, events and environments, performed the audio, video and control integration. Montreal-based Solotech was the lighting integrator.
"It is great to see the entire AV and lighting infrastructure of a premium performing arts venue rely on and trust LUMINEX for such a important aspect of their system," says Hugo Larin, director for LUMINEX in America.
A single multimode fiber ring backbone comprised of six LUMINEX GigaCore 16Xt PoE switches handle three main locations in the venue: the FOH mixing point, the main patch room backstage and the amplifier control room. Additional GigaCore 16Xt and GigaCore 12 managed Gigabit Ethernet switches are used in mobile racks as extra local network devices.
Benjamin Wahiche, technical director with TKNL and a trained LUMINEX technician, believes the amphitheater is one of the first in Canada with a fully-integrated AV network. "I think it's a one-of-a-kind installation for Canada and Quebec," he says. "I've never seen that kind of deployment before. Transporting the signals over the network and receiving information in time and with the right priority is the real deal. Not every protocol plays well with others, but LUMINEX has met that challenge. There's nothing close to LUMINEX on the market that can integrate all the AV and network protocols we use and that can cope with a project of that size."
LUMINEX not only filled the technical needs of the amphitheater but also offered easy operation and maintenance. "LUMINEX is pretty much the only system that can run all the protocols with a user-friendly GUI," says Wahiche. "Other systems require more programming and configuration."
Also, since no IT staff was required the installation time and cost were reduced. All that was required by the technician on site was an easy assignment of Ethernet switch ports in preconfigured groups serving as different segments/protocols on a system.
Everything is redundant and double-wired, notes Wahiche. "We made sure all the redundancy of the system is there: If you unplug anything from the network at any point the network will use the back up link to that device."
DanteTM runs primary and secondary main audio for the Yamaha consoles, Rio stage racks, Shure ULXD4D Dante wireless receivers, Lake LM 44 loudspeaker management devices, and Nexo loudspeaker and amplifier monitoring. On the same ring a Q-Sys Q-LAN Core, I/O frames, stations and paging devices for audio distribution and communication throughout the building is also present. "A single interface controls everything, and all of it is redundant," says Wahiche.
For the amphitheater's sACN and MA-Net2 lighting network Solotech used six LUMINEX Ethernet-DMX2/Truss MkII with PoE nodes and three Ethernet-DMX8 MkII nodes to provide sACN lighting data distribution throughout the building. A grandMA2 light console and NPU processor are the house control system. A complete DMX RDM-ready system allows the system tech to monitor and remotely set lighting devices, such as 48 High End Systems' SolaSpot Pro fixtures, via a LUMINEX LumiNet monitor.
"We are very familiar with LUMINEX products having used them regularly within our rental inventory," says Alexandre Pecqueux, Project Manager with Solotech. "Integrating the equipment into a permanent infrastructure at the amphitheater was a real pleasure."
Pecqueux notes that LUMINEX enables them to "easily manage a complete DMX network via sACN ensuring total control everywhere in the amphitheater as well as a MA-Net2 network for control architecture. I would sum up our experience with LUMINEX as 'plug-and-play.'"
TKNL ran extensive tests of its portion of the system prior to the grand opening of the amphitheater on July 15. "Everything performed even better than we expected," Wahiche reports. At TKNL Josee des Serres is the project manager and Jean-Francois du Nogier the account manager.
Amphithéâtre Cogeco Technical Director, Daniel Savoir concluded, "I am so impressed with the number of patch possibilities and signal quality we have with the Luminex GigaCore system. I have full confidence in the network."
At Trizart Alliance Luc Gelinas is an associate in Trizart's Design Group. At Solotech Alexandre Pecqueux is the Project Manager and Simon Zayed the on-site programmer.
Luminex Network Intelligence is a Belgium-based developer of lighting control, pro audio, and video data distribution equipment for the pro industry. It was formed by Bart Swinnen and Jan Renckens. Their complete DMX and Ethernet solutions range debuted at the Paralympics 2004 in Athens. Most recently, the GigaCore switch family opened the doors to the Pro Audio and AV markets for the company and broadened their commitment to the industry. For more information visit www.luminex.be