ASL Intercom’s digital system provides perfect comms for Movimentos

Maier Sound Design GmbH has been involved with the Movimentos Festival since it first started in 2003, providing a complete audio solution which includes an extensive intercom system. “ Movimentos“ - which is held in Wolfsburg, Germany including the Autostadt of Volkswagen - offers a series of contemporary performances from international dance ensembles, dramatised readings, discussions, lectures, and live concerts covering everything from the classics to jazz and pop -Over the years, the technical requirements of this outstanding international festival have increased considerably, particularly in terms of the communications element and it became clear that the existing analogue solution could no longer cope. So this year Maier Sound Design has switched to a new digital system from ASL Intercom.

“Every dance company and every band has different requirements regarding communication,” explains Maier Sound Design managing director, Andreas Maier. “In previous years, we had to provide a totally different comms set up every week or even every three days or so. Sometimes it was a success, other times there was a lot of noise and on occasion it simply was not possible to do it with an analogue system.

“In 2010, we had the opportunity to work with ASL’s new Digital Intercom and decided to use a system comprising a DS 4000 matrix, a DS 1640 16-channel Speaker Station, 25 DS 290 Beltpacks, which we have found to be extremely rugged, and DS 73 Audio in/out Interface modules.”

Andreas and his team have found that this combination makes it very easy to set up a complex intercom system in a short space of time.

“The 16-channel Speaker Station is used by the stage manager to contact everyone directly before the show and ensure that all technical equipment is OK,” continues Andreas.”The Beltpacks are used for audio, light, video and production personnel. The first Audio Interface is used to connect the wireless intercom to the ASL digital. The second audio interface is used to connect a Motorola wireless receiver to the DS 4000 for important cues to Front of House.”

The function the Maier Sound Design team uses most, however, is to build different user groups: some that are allowed to talk to each other; and some where there is no need to talk to each other.

“For example, generally the follow spot operators do not need to communicate with the audio technicians,” he explains. “PTP – Person to Person – however, allows the follow spot operator to talk to anyone within the system on a person to person basis, which means they can talk to someone from the audio crew within this function, but one can also switch off this feature on any of the user stations. And we must not forget the audio quality of the system, which is absolutely stunning.”

“The festival crew works in shifts and runs almost 24/7, so the Intercom needs to work 24/7, too,” adds Tobias Kiemann, who has been Front of House engineer for the festival since 2003. “With this system, it was not a problem to let it run continuously and feel safe that it would work. During the setup of a show the crew can do their work in their own Group.

“For example, the rigging crew and the stage crew have a group to fix levels, lighting has its own group to do the focus and sound has its own group to setup the audio system. During the show they all use one big group, except the follow spots and the lighting desk operator. If I want to change between these two setups, I just have to load the setup I have stored before. It is very easy to do a new setup for the Intercom.”

Andreas also appreciates the future proof nature of the new digital products. “Previously, when an analogue system was launched, the parameters were fixed and there was no opportunity to change anything in the future,” he says. “Today, digital systems have the chance to grow on demand, to add features, optimize the software or simply react of the customer’s wishes. This means that the value of such a system is increased.

“During the last few weeks, after various shows, we would send an email with requests or questions to ASL. The next morning, at 9am, we had the reply with the answers to our questions. This is just how it should be if you are using a new system and ASL provides fantastic support!”

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