Buford Jones (at console) with USITT students
Ft. Worth, TX (May 1, 2014)—This year’s United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) biannual SoundLab focused on live sound reinforcement, one of its highlights being a Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc. product demonstration held in the Arena at the Fort Worth Convention Center.
“The idea that Mike Hooker (Head of Sound Design at UC Irvine's Department of Dramatic Arts) and myself, who co-chaired the project together, was to provide students with the opportunity to mix live music while being mentored by some of the top people in the field as well as mixing on premium systems,” states Erik Alberg, technical director for Events and Conferences, Hope College, Holland, MI. “The ideal system was to be much larger and possibly bigger than students would ever have a chance to mix on in their own university settings. We came up with a model of having two consoles at FOH and switching the live console from one to the other while bands were performing on stage.”
Alberg recalled, “We needed a console to drive the line array rigs and were thrilled when Yamaha stepped up and offered us not only equipment but the expertise of their staff. Kevin Kimmel, a systems application engineer at Yamaha Commercial Audio ,was a great help in developing the system layout for FOH and the monitor system. We created a network of inputs and consoles that not only worked for the SoundLab mixing events, but also for the special events held at USITT such as the keynote speech and award presentations, along with system demonstrations.”
The console system included three Yamaha CL5 consoles—two at front of house that handled the mixing for the live bands, and one as a monitor console. There was also a CL1 at front of house that switched between the two CL5s and was used for running the special events requirements such as wireless microphones, video feeds, and playback. The whole system was connected via Dante and included Yamaha Rio boxes onstage for inputs and outputs to the mains.
The bands were mixed by students at USITT under the mentoring eyes of Buford Jones and Jim Van Bergen, as well as Kimmel who stepped in for one session and provided services as monitor engineer for all but one of the bands. More than 70 students had the chance to mix during the event.
“The Yamaha consoles were intrinsic to the success of this year's SoundLab,” says Alberg. “They worked well and we had no problems with connectivity or routing thanks to Dante and Yamaha. I was also very impressed with the consoles, their flexibility, and ease of use. Sonically, they were great and provided our students with an amazing opportunity. The Yamaha staff was critical to the success of the project. Their patience, understanding, and support were great and a real gift.”
Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc.