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Wiltshire school goes digital with Yamaha

David Davies 5 July 2011
Wiltshire school goes digital with Yamaha

A large performance space at Wiltshire co-educational independent and boarding school Dauntsey’s has been equipped with a Yamaha digital audio system.

The 730-capacity Memorial Hall is used for a wide cross-section of events, including plays, musicals, classical concerts, school assemblies, speech days and more. It is also available for hire to external opera and music groups, corporate clients and event organisers.

Challenging acoustics and the need for a more up-to-date infrastructure led the school to pursue an audio upgrade that has included the installation of a Yamaha M7CL48-ES digital mixing console and three SB168-ES stage boxes.

“We opted for this system for two main reasons,” said Graham Paddon of Hertfordshire-based Amber Sound, which supplied and installed the system. “Firstly it is the only current digital console that makes all the input faders available at once. Secondly, the remote stage boxes could be located in different positions – knowing the kind of work that the school does, it seemed like the ideal solution.”

Flexibility was indeed a key requirement – the venue routinely hosts stage productions like Chicago and Spamalot (pictured), necessitating elaborate sound specifications. The system’s ability to be used by operators – including students – with varying levels of technical expertise was another important consideration.

Thanks to a newly-purchased iPad, there is also the opportunity to control the M7CL via the StageMix app.

“I’d been looking for an excuse to buy an iPad and the M7CL was the perfect opportunity,” said head of music technology Kester Sims. “Controlling it via the StageMix app has opened up another whole new world of flexibility in the hall.”

Summing up, Sims said that the school was “very pleased with both the system and support from Yamaha. The sound in the hall is cleaner and crisper and it is now easier to create accurate delays anywhere in the space. I very much like the M7CL’s ability to change scenes without affecting the pit channels, in effect making the orchestra an isolated mix from the stage mics, but still on the same board.

“We also occasionally hide radio mics on the chapel choir and route them through a cathedral reverb. This is now much easier, less noisy and more stable than it was with the old system.”

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