AIDA – The Musical On Tour With AURUS

A STAGETEC’s AURUS console is to turn the spectacular Broadway show by Elton John and Tim Rice into a (re)sounding success 


aida aurus

When AIDA – The Musical by Elton John and Tim Rice starts its tour through the German-language regions, it will be supported by an AURUS as a live tour console. On the tour start in Munich, on 19 November 2005, AURUS will be in use on the road for the first ever. »We were thrilled to learn that AURUS was selected as heart of the sound system for this prestigious project. It proofs one more time how ideal the desk suits into live applications,« commented Dr. Klaus-Peter Scholz, STAGETEC’s managing director.

At the moment, the props, set, lighting, and PA system are prepared for the rough touring life. To this end, STAGE ENTERTAINMENT, the producer of the musical’s German version, rented a huge TV studio for rehearsals in Köln (Germany). All gear is being installed in huge racks, while the sets, lighting rigs and trussing are adapted to fit into the various venues. For the first time ever, an AURUS console will be at the heart of a tour sound system. And that proved a wise choice: »It took me a mere two hours to install AURUS and the associated NEXUS base devices, and have the system up and running,« smiles Christian Fuchs, the project leader. Armed with a massive amount of experience as sound designer and sound engineer for live productions, he will assist the musical crew until its first station in München.

Until the first night in München, he will be busy saving the mixer settings to AURUS’s snapshot memories and preparing them in such a way that they can be recalled semi-automatically during actual performances. For this, he takes advantage of two new AURUS features: SnapMix that brings complex dynamic fades to the theatre automation, and the new simulation of VCA groups. »At first sight, AURUS shows striking similarities with a well thought-out analogue console. And of course, it offers its excellent sound quality as well as a complete automation of all parameters,« explains Christian Fuchs.

In addition to AURUS, NEXUS STAR, and one NEXUS base device in the effects rack next to the console in the hall, three NEXUS base devices will be used. One is located in the rack for the 28 wireless channels of the actors’ microphones, and will be used as a stage box for 32 analogue inputs and eight analogue outputs. Another Base Device, fitted with 48 TrueMatch microphone inputs and 24 analogue outputs for in-ear monitoring, will be installed close to the orchestra. After all, the musical is based exclusively on live music without any recorded backup! Another NEXUS station will drive the mainly active speaker and is therefore located in the sound system’s distribution rack. With a view to keeping cable connections inside the racks simple, compact and transparent, D-Sub connectors are used for all I/Os, except the microphone inputs. Thanks to that decision, each of the NEXUS base units could be installed in 3U rack frames.

NEXUS and AURUS are linked to each other by special road-worthy fibre-optic cables and rugged connector jacks. Going optical for tour sets proves a major advantage: thin and light-weight, those cables are much faster and easier to install than traditional copper-wire multicore snakes. Once configured and connected, such an optical cable can also be used for other applications. For AIDA – The Musical, for instance, the data signals for power amp control also goes via NEXUS – from the laptop installed next to the console all the way to the power amp racks close to the stage. This approach is so reliable and simple that the crew are currently considering sending the lighting control signals also through NEXUS.

Roadworthiness is considered an important asset of AURUS and NEXUS, especially since the versatility such a system provides is housed in surprisingly compact units. Another reason for selecting AURUS for AIDA – The Musical was its reputation as rock-solid, fail-safe system. What better way is there to prove that this reputation is indeed justified than to use it in a touring environment?