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STAGETEC Upgrade at Konzert Theater Bern - AURUS goes AVATUS comes

Bern, Switzerland, January 2021: The Konzert Theater Bern is the largest concert theater in the Bern-Mittelland region. Last summer, the house underwent a technical upgrade. STAGETEC, the Berlin-based manufacturer of professional audio technology, replaced the AURUS Platinum consoles installed in 2017 with the latest generation of AVATUS digital mixing consoles.

The joint history of STAGETEC and the Konzert Theater Bern goes back a long way. The first digital consoles and a NEXUS audio network from the Berlin-based manufacturer were installed as early as 1999. The CANTUS consoles ran smoothly and without failure for almost 20 years, which is why the company switched to AURUS platinum in 2017 in the course of extensive renovations to the technical systems and the audience area. Even then, the operational reliability and audio quality were convincing arguments for a renewed decision in favor of the products from STAGETEC.

One year after the market launch of the first fully IP-based console, the Konzert Theater Bern is now bringing the first AVATUS consoles to Switzerland. A permanently installed console with 36 faders is used in the audio control room and two mobile versions with 24 faders and 12 faders.

The entire AVATUS system is used with maximum flexibility. Each of the three consoles works independently, e.g. as a monitor console or FOH, and is user-programmed for each use. The console in the audio control room is used for productions such as operas or plays without FOH. The medium 24 fader handset is used for smaller productions and the small 12 fader desk for rehearsals. For live mixes, a temporary FOH in the stalls is equipped with one or, as in musical productions, with both mobile AVATUS. For the setup of complex productions, all three consoles are used together, but only one of the consoles is used during the performance.

To use the three individual consoles together as one device, they do not have to be physically adjacent to each other. AVATUS consoles are designed from the ground up to be modular. Each display and fader encoder unit has its own IP address. This means that individual displays or entire sections of the mixing console can be operated spatially or user-separately. This innovative way of working is made possible by the complete absence of a central control unit, an enormous extension of the application possibilities. As flexible as the surfaces of the console can be designed and scaled, as unique is the DSP core, which is scalable in 7 steps and based on STAGETEC's proven RMDQ DSP cards with the best audio signal processing.

For the upgrade in the Konzert Theater Bern, only one RMC board had to be exchanged for the new RMCQ board in the NEXUS Star router. Parts of the audio interface of the previously used NEXUS Matrix4 network could be reused for the new Nexus Matrix5, and some IO boards have been in use since the initial installation in 1999. The audio network in Bern consists of seven Base Devices and a STAR router. In addition to audio routing, the NEXUS is also used to distribute all monitoring signals from the various trades, such as sound, lighting, stage technology, and stage management, as well as for emergency alarms. Two mobile NEXUS Base Devices are flexibly placed directly at the venue, thus offering maximum flexibility even for the most complex, innovative productions.

While the house had to remain closed for performances in front of live audiences in the last few months, all three new AVATUS consoles were used for live streamings to the Internet. This meant that the consoles had to be used repeatedly at other production locations in the building. The IP-based architecture made this possible without much effort. A Cat cable to the RMCQ card was all that was needed. Thus, the small console was used for the live mix on location, the medium-sized AVATUS for mixing into the stream, and the large console for multitrack recording. Under the given difficult conditions, the trouble-free use of the consoles was a helpful advantage.

Bruno Benedetti, head of audio engineering at the Konzert Theater Bern, is enthusiastic: "We have been relying on STAGETEC products and digital audio routing for more than 20 years and are still convinced of the excellent audio quality of the mixing consoles and the stability of the NEXUS system. After all, the system runs almost 24/7. Thanks to the high manufacturing quality of the devices, there have never been any audio failures or DSP errors despite an extremely high number of input and output channels. That is convincing."

Just like the close contact between user and manufacturer. Customer feedback is especially important for troubleshooting and further development of products. "Customer satisfaction takes a high priority at STAGETEC," adds Benedetti. "This is also noticeable in the high level of support and the possibility of remote maintenance and analysis, which, just like updates, are possible at any time without any problems and without much effort for our employees thanks to the Internet connection."

Since 2011, the Konzert Theater Bern has united the Stadttheater Bern and the Bern Symphony Orchestra under one roof as a foundation. The national and international program offers more than 300 performances and around 30 new productions per year in the opera, dance, drama and symphony orchestra sections. In addition to classics, many world premieres and first performances are shown in Bern.


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