DUBAI, INDIA--Atlantis, The Palm -- the focal point of the man-made island of Palm Jumeirah, billed as the ultimate fantasy hotel and estimated to have cost around 1.5 billion dollars -- launched itself upon Dubai on 20th October with a much publicised extravaganza attended by stars from stage, film, music and sport. Audio specialist Delta Sound, which has recently expanded its Dubai office, was on hand to provide a sound system that truly befitted the occasion.
“We were recommended by technical director, Simon Ransom, and worked directly for Atlantis’s owners, Kerzner International,” explains Andy Jackson, in charge of Delta Dubai and sound designer and project manager for the Atlantis launch. “Simon asked me to design the sound design and so it made sense for Delta to look at the whole project, including supplying equipment.”
With an 11-month planning period and Delta already in a significant growth period, it gave the company both focus and sufficient time to carefully consider its scale of investment for new equipment, a decision that now stands it in good stead for future large-scale events.
“We started the project pretty much with a clean slate,” recalls Jackson. “We knew there was going to be a large audiovisual content and we knew that there would be some serious pyrotechnics involved. Those were the things that were set in stone as far as the sound design went. Things evolved over the next eight months, but we also knew fairly early on that there was going to be a major artist performing. The sound design had to cover all those aspects and preferably not double up on systems.”
That artist was, of course, diminutive pop princess Kylie Minogue and Jackson designed a system that worked for Kylie’s engineers, who brought in their own DiGiCo SD7 and D5 consoles as local control to dovetail with Delta’s system, as well as for the 5.1 system that Delta installed and mastered for the overall production.
Delta’s Front of House control was via a DiGiCo D5 digital mixing console – the first to reside permanently in the UAE -- operated by FOH engineer Martyn Ward, with playback from two RADAR V 24-track hard disk brought out from Delta’s UK head office specifically for their durability. These were primarily used for the 20-minute audiovisual 5.1 surround piece that was the climax to the show and included the music the fireworks were set to.
“All the sessions were mastered on Pro Tools by Ali Viles. We then put everything onto the RADARs and two 360 Systems Instant Replay V2 were used for all the incidental two track audio, walk up music and backing tracks,” says Jackson. “We were the source of all timecode, which we distributed to everyone else – pyro, lighting, projection, show callers, etc -- so when we hit the button, we effectively blew up The Palm!”
The previously mentioned equipment investment includes a substantial L’Acoustics loudspeaker contingent, which Jackson knew would be perfect for the job in hand. “We had a total of 28 V-DOSC, 32 dV-DOSC, 24 SB28 subs, four ARCS, 12 KIVA, four KILO and four dV subs. Our monitor system was 16 Audio Analyst 12FRs with control from a Yamaha PM5D and was run by our monitor engineer, Phillip Down. Everything was powered with L-Acoustics amps.”
Main left and right hangs of 10 V-DOSC, a centre fill of 12 dV-DOSC, and rear left and right of four V-DOSC in each position, plus 16 subs covered the main room for both the 5.1 system and Kylie’s stereo system. As the guests arrived they were met by Poseiden himself as part of the opening reveal, for which a separate system consisting of 24 dV-DOSC and eight SB218 Subs was employed. This system also covered the ‘Afterglow’ party, hosted by DJ’s Donna D’Cruz and Samantha Ronson.