May 1, 2013

Aviom Monitoring System at the Alliance Theatre

For this video we took a trip to the Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta, GA. The Woodruff Arts Center is home to the High Museum of Art, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and the Alliance Theatre. It’s a beautiful facility located at the cusp of the heart of downtown Atlanta (in case you are ever in the area and looking for great music, art, and theater). For our purposes we visited the Alliance Theatre to take a look at how they have integrated the Aviom Personal Monitor Mixing System into their live sound installations.

The Alliance Theatre was hosting a production of Zorro which included lots of choreographed acrobatics and full use of the theater space. The orchestra members for this production were not placed in the traditional orchestra pit, but were instead lifted onto the right and left sides of the stage with a drummer placed below the stage (for obvious noise bleed control). Clay Benning, the resident sound designer for the Alliance Theatre, walked us through step by step how the engineers and musicians control their own personal monitor mixes for the show’s performance. He showed how each piece of the Aviom system worked together to create a streamlined work flow for all those involved in the production.

Lets take a look at each individual piece highlighted in the video and go over its functionality.

Aviom 16/o-Y1 A-Net Card

This is a must have for those with a Yamaha mixer.

This is a must have for those with a Yamaha mixer.

This is an essential piece for how the Alliance Theatre houses control over their Aviom system. If you are interested in the Aviom system and own a Yamaha mixing console, this is something worth including in your own setup and here’s why:

After installing the card into the back of your Yamaha console and connecting to an Aviom distribution hub like the A-16D A-Net Distributor, you now have complete control over how the Yamaha console communicates with the personal monitor mixing stations throughout your setup. The card will fit into any expansion slot on a digital Yamaha mixing console, and you can even install multiple A-Net cards to expand your Aviom setup however you would like. Each card can output up to 16 channels over a single CAT-5 cable, and with the Aviom AN-16SB System Bridge you can get up to 64 channels on a single cable. The bottom line here is if you are working a digital Yamaha mixing console, and are looking to incorporate Aviom into your work flow, the A-Net card is going to optimize that work flow.

Aviom A-16D A-Net Distributor

The hub that connects your mixer to the personal mixers.

The hub that connects your mixer to the personal mixers.

The A-16D is a low profile distribution hub for your A-16 II personal mixing modules. The way the Alliance Theatre had this setup was in their stage mixing area as the central hub going from the Yamaha mixer to their other distribution stations throughout the theater. The A-16 D will distribute power to the personal mixing modules via a DC line connection on one or all of the eight channels. This is great if you have the outlets to accommodate that kind of power distribution, but if you don’t then you may need the…

Aviom A-16D Pro A-Net Distributor

This distributor eliminates the need to power each mixer individually.

This distributor eliminates the need to power each mixer individually.

It really depends on your work flow here but the A-16D Pro can be an essential piece for being a distribution hub for all of your personal mixing modules. It can provide power to all of the modules and has the ability to send signal to 16 different personal mixing stations. This is all done through a single isolated (floating ground) DC power supply. So instead of connecting separate DC power supplies like with the A-16 D, you can have just one power supply for providing juice to the individual mixing modules. There is also a connection for thru power so you can use CAT-5 to power another distribution hub. It’s rack mountable but quite large in size and weight so you may want to consider your needs here before picking either the A-16D or the A-16D Pro.

Aviom A-16II Personal Mixer

Total control over everything you need to hear.

Total control over everything you need to hear.

The flagship product in the Aviom personal monitor mixing system is the A-16 II. Aviom’s latest update to the personal mixing control line is the A360. The Aviom A360 has many of the same features as the A-16 II but with some great new features like adding effects to a mix, the ability to control more channels, and a USB input for storing preset mixes. If you want to know more about the Aviom A360 then check out our video from Winter NAMM 2013.

The obvious appeal of the Aviom A-16 II is its ability to control the mix of each individual band member for your own monitoring needs. You have options for connecting the A-16 II to a separate monitor, an in ear monitor system, or headphones. With volume, pan, and basic EQ controls, you can customize which channels you want to hear. You can also adjust how those channels sound without affecting the mix of the other personal monitor mixing stations, even when they are all chained together via CAT-5.

If you want to see even more practical applications of the Aviom system in use, be sure to check out our video from a local Atlanta house of worship to see how their sound engineer organizes their Aviom system for a live band.

Until then if you want to find out more information, or want to purchase any of these Aviom products, visit



My name’s Clay Benning. I am the resident sound designer here at the Alliance Theatre. This stage currently we have a production of Zorro. And we’re going to do a little walk through showing how we are using Aviom for all our band monitoring needs on this particular production.
This is just what we call downstage right VOM and what we call monitor world for this particular production. What we’ve got it is, we’ve got a monitor mix console here that’s taking a split of all the band inputs and then we’re doing a sub mix that’s sending out to all of our Aviom systems. Take an analog split, mixing everything down, and then there’s an Aviom MY card in the back of the Yamaha console that is then sending our sixteen subnet streams to the Aviom. All of that comes over here to our first A-Net distributor which then splits that feed to our three different band locations. We’ve got one on stage left, one on stage right and then the drummer is down in the trap room by himself. We also have a separate Aviom listening station here so any of our deck sound people can monitor the Aviom mixes right here without having to go up on to the band areas to confirm that everything is working properly.
This is our house level, left band platform. Up here we have chairs for trumpets, keyboard, and percussion. What we have here is our band input rack. All the band inputs come in here. Also located in this rack is one of our A-16 distros and that distributes Aviom for the A-16 mix stations for each of the players up here. At the same time they all have video communication so they can talk to the music director who’s actually located on the platform on the other side of the stage.
All the A-16s are laid out the same. We’ve got sub mixes for keyboards, bass, drums, percussion, two different acoustic guitars, an electric guitar. We have some actor driven stage guitar so they have their own volume on here. The brass and then talk backs. There is a talk back mic in each location so that each of the areas can communicate back to the music director. We have a click track that allows for one particular instance to have some kind of guidance. And then a vocal mix which is all of the vocals coming from the cast down to one channel so they can dial as much of the cast into their mix as they would like.
Just allowing all of the orchestra members to have their own individual monitor mix which takes a lot of weight off of the front of house mixer and the deck sound people. Not having to spend a lot of time customizing a monitor mix. The fact that we can simplify the cabling and audio flow throughout, the whole system is really appealing to us. In addition a lot of Broadway productions, when we first got into Aviom a number of years ago, were starting to move that way. Us being able to say, “Oh we have Aviom setup for in house,” was very appealing to a lot of guest designers. We love them because they are so easy to setup and maintain. Just the fact that its pretty much plug and play. If everything is connected properly and powered on, the system just kind of works. Always getting live musicians to synchronize in a live environment with actors they may or may not be able to see sometimes or even hear directly is always a bit of a challenge. But that is the nice thing about the Aviom system is we can remote it to other places and it still allows everybody to play together well. This is Clay Benning at the Alliance Theatre and you’re watching