Yamaha Speakers Deliver Magical Sound At The Alta Lumina Night Walk
Since 2001, Montreal-based Moment Factory has created more than 450 unique projects around the world which are designed to bring people together. In 2020/21 it has produced the Alta Lumina Night Walk in its first collaboration with French ski resort Les Gets. Installed to increase what is on offer to visitors throughout the four seasons, a Yamaha audio system helps to create an engaging, interactive experience.
Alta Lumina is Moment Factory’s 12th Lumina Night Walk and the first in Europe. Visitors are invited to walk along a one kilometre path, where sound and light installations play out the story of a travelling music-maker and his hot air balloon. The nature of the Lumina Night Walks allows for physical distancing between visitors, so the creative team was able to create a high quality audio/visual installation with little compromise.
Moment Factory has developed partnerships with various companies for its projects, especially with Yamaha for sound integration. The technical co-operation for Alta Lumina took around six months.
The soundtrack is based on zone-by-zone variations of a common melodic theme, allowing the zones to merge into one another, highlighting the installation’s evolving story without any jarring changes. To achieve this, 52 Yamaha VXS8 and 36 VSX5 surface mount speakers deliver high quality audio, powered by 13 XMV series amplifiers, processed and distributed by two MRX7-D matrix processors.
Along the path several temperature-controlled miniature log cabins blend seamlessly into the landscape. These house the equipment racks and mini servers running X-Agora, Moment Factory’s proprietary software. X-Agora is used to program and deliver the entire show, including Dante, ArtNet and video media. It also allows the system to be controlled and monitored from a single iPad.
Dante carries the music and sound effects in a fibre ring network. At each cabin the equipment takes what it needs for the nearby speakers, with fades between zones programmed in conjunction with visuals to draw visitors along from one to the next, letting the narrative subtly unfold.
Thanks to the excellent reproduction and wide pattern of the VXS series speakers, visitors do not notice that the sound is coming from point sources, helping to create the seamlessly changing audio environment. They are positioned, and the levels managed, to also avoid spill into unwanted areas and allow conversation between people.
Because the Alta Lumina Night Walk is a long-term installation and the speakers have been outdoors throughout the Alpine winter, the audio system is programmed to feed a quiet white noise signal continuously through the speakers when visitors are not present.
“The white noise is independent of the audio program, designed to maintain some movement of the voice coils, no matter how small. This helps to defend against the cold in particular,” says Emeric Dubois, the project’s technical manager. “Similarly, all of the equipment racks are powered 24/7 to prevent both cold and condensation forming.”
Despite the difficulties of present times, the unique Alta Lumina Night Walk has been a great success, described as ‘imaginative’, ‘magical’ and ‘enchanted’. As the Moment Factory web site states, it has been specially designed to give visitors a rich emotional experience, where music is seen and light can be heard.
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