DiGiCo SD5s Power Main Stage Audio at Poland’s World Youth Day

The first World Youth Day (WYD) was held in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican by His Holiness John Paul II in 1984 as a response to his invitation for an International Jubilee of youth on Palm Sunday. Three hundred thousand young people from around the world gathered that first year and it has become the tradition that every Palm Sunday WYD is celebrated in a different city around the world. This year, the event held in Brzegi near the Polish city of Karkow and DiGiCo consoles helped form the backbone of the massive audio system provided by Polish rental company Gigant Sound.

unnamedWith over two million people attending, the day included an address from Pope Francis, prayers and concerts featuring a 100-strong symphony orchestra and a 300-strong choir plus soloists on the main stage, as well as various bands on the second stage.

“Three SD5s were deployed at the main stage Front of House position,” says Krzysztof Polesiński, who manned one of them , along with Arkadiusz Wielgosik and Andrzej Sterna. “We had one SD5 for orchestra, one for the choir, and a third for all announcements, the Pope himself, altar mics and instruments.

“The first SD5 had 112 channels coming from two SD-Racks. This console was for the live orchestra and a band of musicians,” he continues. “All effects and dynamic processing were purely on board processing, which really underlines their incredible quality and versatility.

“The second SD5 served the big choir and had 96 channels from two SD-racks. The third console was for channels used during the Holy Mass for the Pope, Cardinals and microphones used by those participating in the liturgy, which gave a total of 50 channels via a single SD-Rack.

“We had Waves servers on two of the SD5s as we used a number of Waves plugins. For example, Pope Francis had a Vocal Rider inserted and to clear the crosstalk between a large number of microphones we used a Dugan automatic mixer,” says Polesiński.

Three DiGiGrid MGBs were also utilized – two for recording and the third as a backup —  recording 224 channels in total.

“All three consoles and the 5 SD-Racks were on an Optocore loop,” Polesiński adds. “This allowed the exchange of 56 input and output channels between the consoles. We selected the most important channels, for example the channel for Pope Francis’s microphone, and then mirrored them on all consoles, so that everyone had a backup.”

The team also found that the console’s Text Chat function was extremely useful for silent communication during moments that required absolute silence, such as parts of the liturgical Mass.

“We used DiGiCo for World Youth Day because of its ability to handle a huge amount of channels and share them between consoles,” says Polesiński. “The speed and quality of transmission via Optocore was also vital, as was the ability to back up the most important channels for each consoles.

“Providing high quality audio to such a huge audience over considerable distances was challenging, but the results were fantastic. The DiGiCo consoles were a big part of the success of the overall system.”

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