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Queen Victoria Ocean Liner Sets Sail with Digidesign

FOH Staff • News • July 2, 2008

DALY CITY, Calif. — Two Digidesign VENUE live sound systems set sail recently on Cunard’s newest state-of-the-art international vessel, the Queen Victoria. The majestic ocean liner’s 12 decks are replete with some of the most luxurious and modern accoutrements on water, including a grand, multilevel lobby, casino, restaurants and two theaters.

Nautilus Entertainment Design Inc. of San Diego provided the audio and video designs for the ship’s 30 individual entertainment venues, which range from intimate lounges, fitness centers and recreational areas to the palatial Royal Court Theatre and Queens Room ballroom. The theater and ballroom are each outfitted with high-tech sound systems that feature a Digidesign VENUE system.
As Nautilus’ Principal Sound Designer Alan Edwards explains, dependability was a key factor in choosing the VENUE systems: “Reliability is a key component to any installation, but even more so for one that is in the middle of the ocean. In the unlikely event that something does go down at sea, you can’t just call the local technical shop for a repair. With the VENUE, it’s as simple as swapping out a component. VENUE gives us the confidence that the show will go on every night.”

The Royal Court Theatre is outfitted with a 96-channel D-Show system comprised of a D-Show Main unit, two D-show Sidecars and a sliding script tray. In addition, the system features two 48 input stage racks, a FOH Rack with five DSP Mix Engine cards and additional option cards that provide FireWire interface to Pro Tools LE for recording and playback and Ethernet connection for remote control of the system. This large setup handles 72 analog/24 digital inputs and 32 analog/64 digital outputs. The Queens Room features a smaller D-Show Profile system with similar options to manage 48 analog inputs and 16 analog/16 digital output channels.
Edwards cites the VENUE system’s exceptional audio quality and user-friendly interface as key features, as well as the console’s instant recall capabilities. “These rooms are used for multiple events, from production shows to lectures, and they’re always busy,” he explains. “The engineers typically have less than an hour between shows to do a changeover, and that’s pretty much impossible with an analog desk. VENUE’s snapshot automation gives the engineer the freedom to concentrate on the quality of the mix, rather than worrying about what cue has to happen next. And it’s such an intuitive interface, which really streamlines the workflow. In a busy live situation, that’s invaluable.”
Having a vast array of studio-quality TDM plug-ins available natively to the system is another tremendous advantage, Edwards observes. “There was no need to specify a lot of outboard gear, which was ideal in terms of reducing our overall footprint and cabling runs. We were able to go from five racks of processing gear down to only two.”
Flexibility is also key in the ship’s busy environment. “The system is really adaptable to just about any situation,” Edwards notes. “It’s a really powerful tool.”


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