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Allen & Heath At The Heart Of Modified Primo Maggio Celebration In Italy

A variety of dLive control surfaces and MixRacks – joined by an Avantis console, AHM-64 matrix mixer and more – handle multiple duties in dealing with challenges presented by changes due to the pandemic.

Primo Maggio, Italy’s annual Labor Day celebration that usually attacts more than 500,000 music lovers to the streets of Rome for a day and night of live music, this year was moved to the Cavea, an open-air amphitheatre in the Auditorium Parco della Musica, to accommodate a live broadcast on national TV and radio plus a small audience of 500, with Rome-based rental company ABC overseeing production that utilized Allen & Heath for the mixes and distribution.

ABC enrolled the assistance of Italian A&H distributor Exhibo plus dLive rental partners Mod/Rooster, Arcadia Digital and Suono e Luci to help provide support in light of challenges presented by the change in format and venue. “We’ve worked on the previous four Primo Maggio concerts, but this is the first time it has not been possible to use active splits between the two stages and the broadcast system,” explains Roberto Marchesi, Pro Audio Manager at Exhibo. “This year we relied entirely on dLive’s tie-line functionality for the splits. Each MixRack was connected via fiberACE or gigaACE, and 96 inputs on each stage, plus over 24 channels of communications, were split digitally via dLive’s tie-lines.”

A pair of dLive S7000 control surfaces were used in the broadcast studio, alongside IP8 remote controllers.

Broadcast mixing duties for TV and radio were handled by a pair of dLive S7000 surfaces, both connected to DM64 MixRacks fitted with Dante and gigaACE cards for digital splits. Broadcast engineers Roberto Rosu and Arturo Pellegrini also utilized IP-8 remote controllers for easy control of comms channels without consuming channel strips on the S7000s. “For a show like this, flexibility of the control surface layout is fundamental, followed by the ease of achieving the desired sound with internal effects, without resorting to external processing” Rosu notes. “This, combined with the ability to add external control like the IP-8, allows you to focus on musical choices, rather than purely technical ones.”

For front of house sound at the Cavea, two dLive S5000 surfaces were paired with two DM48 MixRacks, both fitted with Dante and gigaACE cards to facilitate splits to the other systems. FOH engineers Simone Squillario and Gianmario Lussana were both pleased with the choice of dLive for FOH duties, particularly considering the demanding changeovers. “They sound great, and they are user friendly and quick to operate, especially in a festival situation where time is precious,” notes Squillario.

“It’s easy to use, even with very short soundchecks,” Lussana adds. “I also love the built-in compressors, and the DYN8’s dynamic EQ is clean sounding and easy to use.”

Over in monitor world, staffed by monitor engineers Michele “Sem Cigna” and Cristiano Grassini, another two dLive S7000 surfaces were utilized, both connected to onstage DM64 MixRacks fitted with Dante, gigaACE and fibreACE cards. A pair of IP-8 controllers were used for local comms levels, with four DX32 and four DX168 audio expanders deployed for additional I/O. “It ticks the most important boxes” explains Grassini. “Great sound, easy to mix and a very fast workflow.”

The comms requirements for the event were managed by an Avantis mixer — also used for mixing the onstage presenters and external video feeds — at the FOH position, while a dLive C2500 partnered with a DM32 at the monitor position, overseen by Comms engineer Luca Marini. Additionally, an AHM-64 matrix mixer handled the FOH feeds for the sound management system, under the direction of industry veteran Klaus Hausherr, as well as distribution of the feeds from the Avantis and dLive Comms systems.

“Everything went smoothly, and it was possible to obtain a perfect stage swap and control of the patches for each artist with ease,” Marchesi concludes. “Overall an excellent result, confirmed by the smiles of the resident engineers, and the satisfaction of Alessio Martino of Alto Stage Management.”

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