Professional Sound - February 2018 - Page 26

A New Digital Workflow at the Grand Théâtre de Québec By Andrew King cording studio and electroacoustic laboratory – a true beacon of art and culture in a province so often celebrated for its own. In 2017, a plan was approved to update the suite of consoles in the two main venues – the FOH desks in both Salle Louis Fréchette and Salle Octave Crémazie and a floating third unit for monitoring in either hall – with digital solutions, significantly increasing the two rooms’ capabilities and enhancing the overall audio workflow throughout the complex. Grand Théâtre de Québec 269 Boulevard René-Lévesque E Ville de Québec, QC G1R 2B3 418-643-8131 S GRAND THÉÂTRE DE QUÉBEC tanding proudly along Quebec City’s boulevard René- Lévesque Est, a main thoroughfare passing through the capital’s downtown core, the Grand Théâtre de Québec is one of the city’s – and country’s – finest and most re- nowned live performance venues. The multi-purpose and inter-disciplinary arts complex was con- ceived by Premier Jean Lesage’s government in 1963 as a means of commemorating both the Canadian Centennial of 1967 and the anniversary of the Quebec Conference in 1864, one of the key gath- erings that led to Canadian confederation three years later. Construc- tion on Polish-Canadian architect Victor Prus’s design began in 1966. Since officially opening its doors in 1971, the Grand Théâtre has welcomed presidents and pop stars, dancers and divas, orators and orchestras, and thousands more performers from a myriad of artistic disciplines. Within the iconic and instantly-recognizable brutalist landmark are two principle performance venues: the 1,875-seat Salle Louis Fréchette, named after the 19 th -century French-Canadian writ- er, and 506-seat Salle Octave Crémazie, named after the 19 th -century “father of French-Canadian poetry.” Additionally, it houses Quebec’s Conservatory of Music, an arts-focused library, dozens of classrooms and teaching studios, and a multimedia centre comprised of a re- 26 PROFESSIONAL SOUND Leading into 2017, the Grand Théâtre was mainly a Midas house, boasting an XL4 at FOH in Salle Louis Fréchette and newer Heritage 3000 in Salle Octave Crémazie. “We wanted to work with those for as long as possible,” explains the venue’s Technical Director, Michel Desbiens, “and though sound quality was never the issue, we realized in 2016 that it was time for a change because the XL4 had really reached its limit as far as its capabilities when so much else was changing to digital.” Over the course of roughly a year, Desbiens and his team – in- cluding General Stage Manager Steeve Simard, Salle Louis Fréchette’s Head of Sound, Pierre Forgues, and Salle Octave Crémazie’s Head of Sound, Robert Caux – auditioned a number of options from the ma- jor players in digital mixing consoles. Being a government-run facility, objectivity was paramount throughout the auditioning and purchas- ing process, and thus they reached out directly to the manufacturers to arrange their demos. Sound quality was of course a significant factor in the decision, with the performance of the XL4 used as the benchmark by which all of the digital options would be measured; however, as Desbiens and