The Odeon Theatre in Tremblay-en-France, north-east of Paris, has recently replaced its ageing digital desk in favour of an Eclipse GT digital console from Innovason. This is also one of the first Innovason sales or installations to have been handled by Sennheiser France since the company took over distribution of the brand at the end of 2012.
The theatre is part of a municipal cultural centre that also houses an academy of arts offering courses in music and dance. There are two performance spaces within the Odeon; the main theatre, which offers a wide variety of musical productions, from classical concerts to jazz, blues, contemporary music and la chanson française, while the smaller stage is dedicated to auditions for the arts academy.
Sylvain Fievet, head of sound at the Odeon, had already decided that the new console would be an Eclipse, having participated in the choice of an Eclipse for the Cité des Sciences science museum in Paris four years ago. His next task was to convince the municipality to release the necessary budget. “It took me almost two years because it wasn’t the cheapest option available,” he recalled, “but I managed to convince them in the end because I was able to demonstrate that the incredible sound quality and superior functionality of the Eclipse (especially once the GT version came out) compared to the slightly cheaper alternatives from the other main manufacturers far outweighed the difference in price.”
“Apart from the sound quality, what I like best about the Eclipse is its configurability,” continued Fievet. “The ability to set up the console exactly the way you want according to the specific requirements of the show and/or the engineer is a huge advantage. You can determine the number of inputs, auxes, groups, VCAs, matrices etc., and then decide which faders or Smartpanel knobs you want to assign to those functions. Once it’s all set up, the console is then incredibly quick and easy to operate. There is no need to dig through menus or layers to find anything – it’s all at your fingertips enabling you can concentrate exclusively on the mix and manage your effects with astonishing rapidity. In fact, to make it easier for visiting engineers, Axel [Brisard] from Sennheiser France and I created and saved a basic configuration so that any engineer, whether he is familiar with the console or not, has access to all of his sources, destinations and key functions directly from the control surface.”
In terms of functionality, Fievet made particular mention of the SmartPanel and EQ pots that are adjustable in increments of 1dB. “It feels almost like an analogue console,” he observed. He also noted that the new LINK interface is extremely intuitive, and the PANDORA function makes all the difference to stereo mixing. “Pan management takes on a whole new meaning – I can hear things I never heard before!”
“I also like the simple yet powerful routing functions as well as the EDIT function on the stereo faders in the SmartPanel enabling you to configure L/R parameters separately which is extremely well thought-out,” he went on. “Finally, the ability to control Neumann digital microphones directly from the Eclipse control surface is another huge plus. Even though I don’t yet have a Neumann DMI-8 interface, it’s clear that we will be investing in one in the near future. In short, the Eclipse GT is the ideal tool for us, and stands head and shoulders above anything else in a similar price range. Sennheiser France and Innovason have done a sterling job for us in terms of support and customer service, and I’m very grateful to everyone involved in the process.”