Optocore boosts functionality at Royal Opera House Muscat

Officially opened in October 2011, the new Royal Opera House Muscat (ROHM), which consists of a concert theatre, auditorium, formal landscape gardens, retail outlets and restaurants, has employed an Optocore optical fibre network system to boost functionality within the facility.

The technical infrastructure of ROHM was bolstered by the Optocore network system, enhancing connectivity and routing signals to the many different performance spaces within the complex. At the same time, a MADI bridge will enable recording from the proposed capture/production suite, whilst utilising Optocore converters to link with a Midas XL8 FOH mixing console.

Bruno Silva, one of ROHM’s deputy sound and broadcast managers, sourced the 20 Optocore components for the network from long-standing UK Optocore specialists HD Pro Audio. He is one of three resident engineers to have joined the project in September 2010. The remainder of the team is made up of head of sound and broadcast Collin Chivers and joint deputy manager of sound and broadcast Mike Compton.

Working with the consultants, the team modified some of the specifications, adding additional equipment, including the Optocore network. “We knew this would boost the sound and video comms connectivity via analogue, optical, video and Ethernet patches,” stated Silva.

Headroom has been built into the system so that the Pro Tools capture suite, with a proposed Lawo mc90 desk and video gallery, can eventually be connected to the Optocore network, without the need for an additional stagebox. The network can also be arranged to provide multi-tracking to OB’s.

The newly commissioned Optocore solution is aimed at providing the house with a flexible input and return system. At the hub is a DD32R-FX in the main theatre comms room, offering 32 AES ports with SANE and Ethernet.

The DD32R-FX interfaces with the new X6R-TP (8MI/8LO) converter and Optocore DD2FR-FX, providing MADI ports, linked to Klark Teknik DN9650 processors and to the two Midas XL8 FOH consoles via a RME MADI bridge.

The two main stage racks offer 48 channels, so that one or both racks can be deployed for the orchestra or split across other areas of the building. The racks consist of four additional X6R-FX and CAT5-linked X6R-TP modules, (variously configured 16MI and 8MI/8LO), before outputting to a further X6R-TP (16MI) and X6R-FX (8MI/8LO) on the Terrace stage, connected via an Optocore DD4MR-FX and LX4B FOH network converter, with 48 outputs and 16 inputs at FOH.

Also linked into the digital architecture are the Foyer/Porch, via an additional X6R FX (8MI/8LO), and three rack modules in the Studio Theatre — comprising X6R-TP’s (configured 16MI) and X6R FX (8MI/8LO).

“The whole idea behind Optocore is to enable us to relay audio and record, across the stage areas,” said Silva. “For instance, if we need to put a band into the second theatre we can use the Optocore to connect the multi-channels to the FOH Midas desk using the local Optocore preamps and to also split the feeds simultaneously to the Capture Suite and Lawo mc90 desk, deploying the MADI stream of the DD2FR-FX interface.”

The design of the ROHM was a collaboration between a UK-based design team, including Acoustic Dimensions and architects WATG, working with the in-house interior designers and the client (The Royal Court of Affairs Oman).