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Dallas Symphony Orchestra upgrades with Merging recording equipment

Paddy Baker 23 October 2014
Dallas Symphony Orchestra upgrades with Merging recording equipment

The whole recording chain at the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas, home of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (DSO), was replaced this summer, with Merging Technologies a significant equipment partner. With the DSO, under its music director Jaap van Zweden, rated as one of the top orchestras in the country, president and CEO Jonathan Martin along with resident recording engineers George Gilliam and Roy Cherryhomes identified the limitations of the current equipment and wanted to move their recording activities to the next level.

The new equipment saw its debut at a major gala concert on 13 September where violinist Itzhak Perlman played with the DSO. The recording equipment featured Merging Technologies’ Horus and Hapi Networked Audio interfaces, two Merging silent PC chassis, and Pyramix 9 MassCore. The hall was filled to capacity and the event was simulcast to a nearby park where thousands were able to enjoy the music and video. The TV truck was fed audio via MADI from one of the Hapi converters and the sound in the park was rated as “excellent”.

George Gilliam said: “The microphones include Schoeps CCM and Pearl microphones hanging from the attic and canopy above the stage. We have one Horus in the attic for those mics, plus three Hapi converters. They provide 56 channels of microphone preamps and converters capable of DSD/DXD performance. Two are installed at the stage for spot microphones, or special setups using mics on stands. The third Hapi is in the audio control room in the basement of the building. A fibre Gigabit Ethernet network was also added to connect all these points for the RAVENNA network. I couldn’t be happier with the operational and sonic performance of the Horus/Hapi converters and microphone preamps.

“The equipment in the control room is straightforward. We installed two Merging silent computers for primary and back-up recorders and each one is running Pyramix MassCore software with Flux VST plug-ins for dynamics and EQ processing. A custom Argosy desk houses the PCs, two 24in LED monitors and four Avid/Euphonix Artist Series controllers which operate the Pyramix mixers. The main monitoring system includes a custom 5.1 surround monitor controller built by Rens Heijnis in the Netherlands, and five Avalon ‘Mixing Monitors’ plus subwoofer. Powered monitors by Focal and Klein + Hummel are also available for reference.”

Supply and installation of the equipment was undertaken by Audio DAWg from nearby Irving. CEO Spunky Brunone has been selling Merging equipment for a number of years and when he started Audio DAWg, he particularly wanted to keep the line. “It’s such a tightly integrated system. I really like the customisable mixing console, DSD capability, integrated CD burning, and the cool software plug-in tools that come with the system. I think besides all of those great things, Merging offering their RAVENNA/AES67 hardware truly makes this a great system. Having this kind of power all integrated by one vendor is outstanding. You know it’s all going to work.”

A few weeks on, Gilliam said: “We can pronounce the project finished and a resounding success. It fulfils all our goals, and the Merging hardware and software operate flawlessly. I still cannot believe the sound quality improvement in the audio control room, all due to the fine microphone preamps and converters in Hapi/Horus. These are the highest quality I’ve experienced. This is an incredible system that perfectly meets the needs for classical music recording and production. I can’t imagine using anything else.”


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