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DiGiCo Manages Audio For Nashville’s “Let Freedom Sing! Music City July 4th” Celebration

Sound Image handles all audio for annual event with an SD11 console, SD-Mini Racks, SD-Nano Rack and Optocore X6R interfaces.

This year’s edition of Nashville’s “Let Freedom Sing! Music City July 4th” celebration actually took on New York’s famous Macy’s fireworks display, with Music City firing off 60,000-plus shells to the Big Apple’s reported 50,000.

The growth of the event also compelled the city this year to significantly rearrange its layout, spreading out stages to fit nearly a quarter of a million people into downtown.

That was no problem for Sound Image, the event’s anchor sound reinforcement provider, which had a DiGiCo SD11 console as the sole production console for the entire event.

Located at the Broadway Stage at Broadway and Fifth Avenue, the SD11 was the hub for an Optocore network, which provided transport, routing, format conversion for production audio, including master mixes and stage announcements throughout the downtown event campus, including the Ascend Amphitheater and the Country Music Hall of Fame’s Walk of Fame.

Towers loaded with L-Acoustics K2 speakers were located every 400-feet from the Broadway Stage to Riverwalk, where the Ascend Amphitheater is, and more leading south to the Walk of Fame and north to the courthouse square, linked by two strands of redundant multimode fiber cabling.

Ruby Stewart and her band, The Sisterhood, performing on the Broadway Stage.

“It was simply huge,” says Roz Jones, shop director for Sound Image’s Nashville facility. “All of the audio from all three stages was sent over fiber to the SD11 and from there it was routed to the delay towers through the Optocore ring network. We had sound covering several acres, and everyone heard the music from each stage clearly, no matter where they were in the event area. It was flawless.”

Jones credits the SD11’s user friendliness and intuitive topography for keeping the music flowing steadily throughout the event. Those features came in extremely handy when Sound Image’s staff arrived early on the morning of July 4th to discover that the event planners had made some location changes to the Walk of Fame Stage, moving it the other side of the street, that required rerouting some of the network cabling.

“The SD-Series consoles and the SD-Racks have an easy-drop fiber interface that helped us make the changes we needed to quickly and precisely,” he says, allowing Sound Image to have the rerouted fiber patched just an hour before downbeat at noon.

Audio traveled between the DiGiCo SD11, three DiGiCo SD-Mini Racks, one DiGiCo SD-Nano Rack and eight Optocore X6R interfaces. He also used one run of single-mode fiber to extend the network to reach to the courthouse square viewing area, over 2,000 feet away.

“There was no way this could have been done this quickly without fiber, and without the SD11’s interface and other functions,” says Jones, adding to that on-site support from Group One’s Ryan Shelton. “In terms of technology and support, DiGiCo was at the heart of making this event work perfectly.”

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