Avid Takes to the High Seas Aboard Princess Cruises
It’s hardly a secret that today’s cruise ship experience is comparable to visiting a floating five-star resort. Princess Cruises—made famous by the popular ‘70s and ‘80s television series, The Love Boat—is one of the leading companies in the industry, boasting a fleet of 16 high-tech luxury ships sailing to ports of call across the globe.
In order to provide the best audio and visual entertainment for it’s customers, the cruise line recently completed an audio system upgrade on five of its ships’ 750-seat Princess Theaters—one of the main hubs for daytime and evening entertainment—as well as 500-seat secondary venues on two of the largest vessels. By day, the theaters offer a range of entertainment programs, lectures, destination events, and movies, while in the evening it hosts a Broadway-style revue, featuring a large cast, vocalists, and an eight-piece orchestra. To accommodate such a wide range of performance scenarios, the existing analog mixing consoles were replaced with Avid Mix Rack Systems featuring Profile System consoles.
The Profile System’s effects are built right into the desk, which gives it a compact footprint that’s the perfect size for our Princess Theaters.
Learn one console—know them all
The old consoles were showing significant wear and tear, according to Denise Zimny, manager of production services, and maintaining and repairing the systems was becoming increasingly difficult and expensive. They were also taking up a massive amount of floor space, clearly a premium on a cruise ship.“The Profile System’s effects are built right into the desk, which gives it a compact footprint that’s the perfect size for our Princess Theaters,” Zimny says.
Having a consistent user experience was another key factor that influenced the Mix Rack System selection. With more than 30 audio professionals rotating through the fleet, onboard FOH engineers change frequently. Because all Avid live systems operate under the common VENUE Software platform, engineers will now be immediately familiar with every system on every ship. The shared platform also enables engineers to create, save, and load show files for use on any VENUE system through a USB drive.
“The Profile’s performance is consistently outstanding and it’s very user friendly, which ensures we get excellent results regardless of which audio engineer is on board,” Zimny says. “Once the engineers learn one console, they know them all.”
Switching gears with VENUE
VENUE Software’s snapshot automation, which allows for instant recall of mixer and effects settings, also significantly influenced the company’s decision to install the Mix Rack Systems. Scene snapshots can be easily saved to any USB drive, giving engineers portability and expanded system control.
“Our engineers are switching gears often with different types of shows throughout the day,” Zimny reports. “Learning all the show designs and peak moments can be very challenging, especially with a multi-national staff rotating in and out so frequently. The snapshot feature does a lot of that work for us.”
Virtual Soundcheck is another VENUE feature that has proven to be invaluable to the engineers of Princess Cruises. It allows for direct multitrack playback of live recordings from Pro Tools, so that sound checks can be conducted without the entertainers present.
Princess Cruises fleet audio trainer Danny Fiandaca, who oversaw each of the installation projects, adds, “The VENUE systems have represented a huge leap forward for us. It’s a very intuitive interface that makes it easy for our engineers to get up to speed quickly, which is vital in our fast-moving environment.”
VENUE has certainly been a huge improvement in terms of sound quality and flexibility.
“VENUE has certainly been a huge improvement in terms of sound quality and flexibility,” notes Zimny. “It has also been quite helpful for us in maintaining the quality and design of our productions. Overall, VENUE has been an excellent choice for us.”
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Update the aging and expensive analog live sound systems on five of Princess Cruises’ ships.
Install industry-leading Avid live sound solutions to provide a common platform for cruise ship sound engineers, and deliver a better entertainment experience to guests.