A fusion of pop and classical music from the world’s greatest composers, Night of the Proms (NOTP.com) is Europe’s biggest annually organised indoor event. With the 2022 edition including Amy Macdonald, Kool & the Gang, Bart Peeters, Axelle Red and Fine Fleur, the Antwerp Philharmonic Orchestra (AOP) and house band, NotP Backbone, the audio for this complex and demanding show was skilfully executed by a highly experienced team, who have relied on the quality, flexibility and reliability of DiGiCo consoles for many years, along with a KLANG immersive in-ear monitoring system for 2022, all supplied by PRG Belgium.
At front of house, Tom Vuerstaek, who also designs the audio system, took care of the final mix on a DiGiCo Quantum 7 and Philippe Bosmans was on an SD10 for the wood, brass and percussion premix. Ben Artois handled premix for the choir and orchestra on a second SD10 backstage. At the monitor position Tim Habets was in charge of the artist and band mixes on an SD7, whilst Marc Zedda handled that duty for the orchestra, choir and conductor, deploying an SD5 and DMI-KLANG.
As well as the artists, many of whom did not bring their own engineer or band, the AOP included 60 musicians with at least one open live microphone each, and the five-strong NotP Backbone’s instrument setup featured the latest V-drum td50x, Bass, electric and acoustic guitar, keys and rock percussion. There was also a 24-person choir and three backing vocal singers, all on wireless mics and IEMs. Mr. RF, Pieter ‘Pita’ Tanghe, uses the SD11 shout mixer as well to pfl the receiver’s outputs via the MADI split coming from one of the four SD Racks. “Together with Amptec, who we can always count on for technical support, PRG’s Patrick Demoustier, well-known and respected as the previous sound designer and Front of House engineer for NOTP, printed the guidelines for this setup already a long time ago but they still apply,” says Vuerstaek..
Vuerstaek notes that the biggest challenges for the 2022 edition were to reproduce the setup after a two-year hiatus in production, a tight time schedule and some new members in the 10-person sound crew.
“This is a fully live show with integration of show control tracks from our ‘Clickmeister and RME friend’ Wim Daans, via MADI,” says Vuerstaek. “With inputs, premixes and in-ear mixes, this all adds up to 480 audio channels @96Khz in the Optocore loop, so it was clear to me that we needed flexibility in the console programming. DiGiCo is an absolute winner for that.”
At the monitor position, the use of the DMI-KLANG was a revelation for Marc Zedda.
“KLANG was introduced by my predecessor Alexander ‘Schmoedi’ Schmidt and I picked up the session when he quit the project. My SD5 is on the Optocore loop and I connected to the DMI-KLANG via an Orange Box under my desk, with MADI to DMI-KLANG. Each musician’s preamp and monitor units (Glensound Symphony) received three stereo signals (Classical section mix, Rock mix and a mix with click, counts and talkbacks), plus their own instrument as a console’s direct out through Dante (Orange Box madi to Dante).”
The KLANG was used for conductor Alexandra Arrieche’s mix at her central position in the first place. “This allowed me to create a realistic space from what she had in front of her,” Zedda explains. “It was a first for me working with KLANG. How you can achieve separation and clarity with subtle changes, especially in such a wide and busy musical spectrum, blew my mind.”
Due to the SD5’s madi port count, Zedda was only able to use half the DMI:KLANG, which had all the strings and choir premixes. “I also use it to send 3D mixes to Tim Habets’ SD7” he says. “It allowed him to integrate the orchestra into the artist’s mixes without taking too much space in their normal stereo mix.” For these mixes, the KLANG positioning was different from the conductor’s as the musicians were facing the crowd and were mostly surrounded by the orchestra. This is very much a team effort on both monitor desks, we work kind of in a synergy since I get submixes from Tim with the rock band and guest inputs.”
“Overall, the workflow is awesome. The integration into the desk is a must, as you can mix and make changes without standing in front of a laptop. In fact, my laptop was hidden under my desk and not above, so that I could focus on the performance. The musicians definitely felt more comfortable on such a long show, and it has reduced ear fatigue during the tour.”
In July, Night of the Proms Summer Edition will take place as part of two 7,000 capacity Koksijde open air shows, this time with a slightly smaller orchestra. Dates for November and December have also been confirmed.
“By all accounts, we produced a good 2022 edition,” concludes Tom Vuerstaek. “The audience was very enthusiastic, and a lot of people have already bought their ticket for November or December 2023.”