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Yamaha LS9 gets in festival mood with the Hoosiers


Self-styled ‘odd pop’ band The Hoosiers are playing an extensive array of festivals this summer and their front of house sound engineer Trevor Gilligan is taking his Yamaha LS9 console along to every show as well.

Festival dates the band are appearing at include some of the most prestigious in Europe and Asia - the Isle Of Wight, Glastonbury, T In The Park and V2008 in the UK, Summersonic in Japan, Lowlands in the Netherlands and Gampel Das Festivalgelände in Switzerland, to name just a few.

An inherent obstacle for front of house engineers on the festival circuit is that they often have to use the mixing consoles that are provided. And with such a variety of consoles on the market, this means they sometimes have to use one that they are unfamiliar with.

However the Yamaha LS9 has meant that Trevor Gilligan doesn’t have that problem, because its combination of small size and powerful facilities means that he can take it with him into any festival situation.

“Although I’ve been mixing for 25 years, I’m a relatively recent convert to digital,” says Trevor. “When I first started working with the Hoosiers, I had been using a DiGiCo D5, but for some dates (rental company) Britannia Row didn’t have one available. So to save them sub-hiring one in I took a Yamaha M7CL out instead.”

Trevor’s experience with the M7CL was a positive one and so, when he wanted a physically small console to take on the festival circuit this summer, the LS9 was the obvious choice.

“A hard and fast rule I have is that I shouldn’t be mixing my band on a console I don’t know,’ he says. “You don’t know what’s going to be available at a festival and I don’t think it’s fair to be learning a console while the band is performing. So before the dates began I tried the LS9 and I loved it. It was the perfect solution.”

The Hoosiers are very much a band on the rise, so they are generally playing early evening slots, which can be a problem if an engineer wants to take his own desk.

“For bands playing where we are on festival bills, they normally don’t let you take a console in,” Trevor continues. “But the LS9’s compact size has meant that I don’t have any problems. Most importantly there’s no rack to go with it, I just put it down, plug the multicore in the back and I’m up and running within five minutes.”

Of course the desk’s portability is only part of the story - it’s sound quality, facilities and ease of use have all made Trevor a happy man.

“Something that many mixing console manufacturers don’t really consider is every aspect of the display,” he continues. “We’re playing outdoor shows in the early evening, so the sun’s still up. A digital console whose display is unreadable the moment the sun gets on it causes huge problems. If you can’t see what you’ve called up it’s a nightmare.

“Equally, if you’re in a darkened venue and the indicators are so bright you can’t actually read the legends on them, that too causes major problems.

“Yamaha has got the display on the LS9 exactly right, it’s ideal in both situations and it’s all laid out in a very logical manner. Plus the sound is fantastic, it’s really clean and powerful. Having a parametric EQ on every output is really useful and I’ve found that I’m also using much less compression than I was before.”

Indeed, so impressed is he with the LS9 that he is seriously considering taking the console on The Hoosiers headlining tour of UK theatre-sized venues in October.

“I honestly don’t see why not,” he says. “In some ways I’m quite keen to prove a point. If you’re mixing a band and you’re not stood in front of this huge console covered in lights, people have a habit of looking at you as though you’re stupid. But it’s not about how you look that’s important, it’s about how your band sounds.

“It seems that digital desks are going through a period of getting bigger and bigger, which to me seems to defeat the point - surely they should be getting smaller? And, to me, the more expensive a desk is, the more there is to go wrong.”

He continues, “It would save so much hassle in touring if people realised the benefits of using something that doesn’t cost much or looks hugely impressive, but just gets the job done to a high standard with no fuss.

“I can’t praise the quality of the LS9’s sound enough, it really is very, very good. I’ve had nothing but compliments at all the festivals we’ve done. Every time I use it, it’s rock steady, reliable, it has the facilities I need and it delivers great sound. For the combination of price, size and weight it’s my favourite desk.”


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