One of the most important sporting events on the African continent took place from 24 January to 14 February 2004 in Tunisia: the African Cup of Nations.
This African football championship has been in existence for almost 50 years and has become one of the most highly respected sporting events in the world. As many as 70,000 football fans attended the opening ceremony in the "Stade de Novembre 7". A total of 16 African football teams took part in the competition, and the individual games were spread across six different stadiums throughout Tunisia.
Sirius Showequipment AG, managed by Wolfgang "Schabbach" Neumann, was responsible for the sound and lighting in the "Stade de Novembre 7". At the start of the year, five large articulated trucks set out for Tunis from the German province of Hesse, carrying almost 60 tonnes of equipment. Sirius subcontracted the lighting to the Frankfurt company, Procon. On 7 January the twenty-strong team from Germany arrived in Tunis. Twenty local stagehands were also hired. The construction phase took ten days.
Frank Müller was the FOH sound engineer. He worked in the production unit on a Yamaha PM1D console with 96 channels. The console handled both the main sound system and all the monitors. The PM1D was also used exclusively for all the other sound processing tasks, which meant that external outboard equipment was not needed.
"The reliability of the Yamaha PM1D is very important for us. Even in the extreme climate of Africa the console was always completely reliable and didn’t cause us any additional stress. It's also worth mentioning that the PM1D has every feature you could possibly imagine, which means that you don't need an additional side rack. All the inbuilt effects, compressors and gates are of very high quality and at least as good, if not better than external equipment.
We use only Yamaha digital mixing consoles because they're the most reliable on the market. We hire out a total of seventeen Yamaha digital consoles (PM1Ds, DM2000s and 01Vs) which need very little maintenance. We also have more than sixty Yamaha power amplifiers from the P and PC range, plus twelve SPX 990s, eight SPX 900s, one SPX 2000 and even two of the very old SPX 90s. We also use two Yamaha M-3000 analogue mixing desks for smaller events." (Wolfgang "Schabbach" Neumann)
Frank Müller is impressed by how quickly and easily the equipment for the event could be set up when using a PM1D:
"The whole system has the wide range of controls obligatory for analogue consoles, which allow it to be used intuitively, but it also has the flexibility which is typical of digital consoles when it comes to programming and automation."
Frank Müller used Yamaha's DME32 digital audio toolbox for signal distribution, setting the delays and signal filtering.
"The flexibility, scalability and user-friendliness of Yamaha's digital matrix products make them the perfect solution for complex audio installations. Their open architecture means that they can be used for many different applications, for example as a stand-alone or second mixer, as a speaker controller, a digital audio router and also as a surround sound matrix." (Frank Müller)
Around 1200 performers took part in the opening ceremony of the African Cup of Nations, entertaining the 70,000 spectators in the stadium and millions of television viewers. The performance involved a portrayal of the history of Africa up to the present day in song and dance. The climax and conclusion of the event was an impressive laser show combined with a stunning firework display.