DM Audio, based in Edinburgh, report their involvement in the sound and light show, “The Enchanted Forest: Force of Nature”, in Faskally Wood near Pitlochry in Scotland.
“The Enchanted Forest: Force of Nature” brings together the talents of sound designer/composer, RJ McConnell and lighting designer, Simon Wilkinson, to create a spectacular, site-specific son et lumière promenade. The audio system was supplied and installed by DM Audio, who were appointed as a sub-contractor by main technical contractor, Northern Light.
The technical requirements of the project were challenging as they involved the distribution of 24 channels of audio around a kilometre-long promenade for a month of Scottish autumn weather, making reliability as important as sound quality. The audio system had been programmed and thoroughly tested before travelling to site, minimising the labour required in the forest. The show runs on a continuous loop, with set pieces at various points around the woodland circuit beside a small loch and with more ambient linking pieces drawing the audience onward. The audience arrive at half-hour intervals in shuttle buses from nearby Pitlochry and are free to walk around the route at their own pace.
DM Audio’s project manager for the event, Marcin Buczek, designed a system that utilises CAT5 cable to distribute digital audio around the site. The heart of the system, with central control of all audio functions, is an Apple Mac Pro running Logic Studio software. Logic’s main audio outputs are assigned to a Dante virtual soundcard and the audio is sent down the CAT5 cable run using Audinate’s Dante media networking protocol. MC² Audio TIBOB8DX, 8-channel Dante audio breakout boxes, are positioned at various points around the site and their analogue outputs feed the d&b amplifiers, which are positioned locally to minimise speaker cable runs. In addition a MOTU I/O 24 PCIe 24-channel analogue/digital interface is provided for local monitoring at the control position.
DM Audio have worked closely with Northern Light to bring this project to fruition, integrating sound and light where possible. For example, as well as handling the 24 tracks of pre-recorded music and soundscapes, Logic Studio is also used to send MIDI control to the lighting equipment via a MOTU MIDI Express 128 interface.
Nick Read, Head of Hire & Events at Northern Light, said: “We work with DM Audio on a regular basis and, although we normally carry out sound installations in-house, on this high profile project it made perfect sense to bring them on board as a sub-contractor. Creatively, it was beneficial to have their sound expertise on board to assist with the distribution, playback and synchronisation of the audio and lighting elements to fit with the vision of the client and the designers – we are all very pleased with the results.”