Last stop: Montreal Jazz Festival July 4 – 6, where Nikki Yanofsky, the young phenom jazz-pop singer now being promoted by Quincy Jones himself, performed with Richard Forte of Forte Sound, Montreal, doing FOH mixing.
While on tour with Nikki, Forte has solved some of those live sound issues that seem to go along with the extreme jazz genre. He’s been able to do so with little more than a 32×16 Yamaha LS9, and he is still able to get the big sounds that come out of artists like Yanofsky, who started out “channeling” Ella Fitzgerald and is now coming onto her own with some fresh, eclectic sounds ranging from symphony and big band to pop. “I’ve covered so much ground with this artist in terms of musical style and challenges for live sound, and I’ve learned a lot in the process,” says Forte.
So how does he mix all those channels of sound coming from young Nikki’s band and still travel light? In a word: fiber. Richard Forte just began using LightViper, FiberPlex' fiber optic transport system including head end mic preamp/line level unit, lighting multiplexer, MIDI interface, fiber optic connector, and Ethernet-to-fiber converter. This allows him to skip the heavy copper snake and associated manpower and run an insanely large, capable system between FOH and stage through one fiber optic cable that in addition to carrying the audio, also carries the four universes of DMX lighting control for Nikki’s show. No more having to ratchet up the input gain on the board to get a decent SN that will overcome the noise picked up by copper along the way. He can get all 32 channels across and then some with no noise whatsoever. When he runs out of board, he uses the digital cards in the desk to expand the console by an additional 32 EtherSound preamps and 16 channels of AVIOM A16 to handle all of the nine-piece band’s monitoring needs with no noise issues, no compatibility issues and all on a single quad core fiber optic cable.