Print This Page

Yamaha PM1D ghosts into Her Majesty’s Theatre, as Phantom Of The Opera undergoes fast technical refit

Nov, 2008

For 22 years, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom Of The Opera has been wowing audiences at London’s Her Majesty’s Theatre. But sound technology has seen many advances in that time and May 2008 saw a technical refit of the show featuring an all-new audio system, with a Yamaha PM1D digital console at front of house.

Chris Jordan, head of audio at Blitz Sound and Vision, was instrumental in the supply and installation of Phantom of the Opera’s original Cadac analogue console, back in 1986. So it’s appropriate that he was also key in supplying its 21st century replacement.

“The PM1D was the choice of Mick Potter, who designed the new sound system for Phantom,” says Chris. “He has a long history with Yamaha consoles, as we do at Blitz, so we were pleased to continue our association with both the production and Yamaha by supplying the new console.”

Phantom Of The Opera’s technical refit was accomplished in just four days, a remarkable feat considering the complexity of modern West End sound design.

“Three weeks prior to the show temporarily closing, a crew was pre-wiring the new system around the old one,” says Chris. “But it was still a major achievement to have an entire new system in and running in such a short space of time. And I cannot overstress how marvellous the team at Yamaha was in its support of us, in what was a very time-constrained project.”

A key factor in the decision to replace the audio system was that consumer audio technology has changed just as much in professional applications.

“Audience expectations are now completely different to what they were two decades ago,” says Chris. “No disrespect to the original Phantom system, but people are now used to being able to do remarkable things with audio in their everyday lives, so the vastly enhanced control achievable with the PM1D reflect what people are now used to - and indeed expect.”

He continues: “Greatly improved dynamics and sound quality are also possible - for example, the orchestra now has two microphones on each stringed instrument, a close mic and one which allows a little more ambience. That would have been possible with the analogue system, but a great deal more difficult.”

The PM1D installation features twin ‘brains’, which offer full redundancy, plus high quality analogue-digital inputs and full floating point processing, outputting to a mixed Meyer / d&b rig of over 100 surround speakers. With most of the effects processing being done on board the PM1D, just two TC Electronic digital Reverb 6000s were supplied for use as outboard processors.

So with the refit completed, what has been the reaction of audiences? And does Chris Jordan think the PM1D will serve Phantom Of The Opera for another two decades?

“I heard the first night with the new system sounded great,” he smiles adding, “And the PM1D is a mature technology. I have full confidence it will be there for some years to come. Yamaha’s obsession with reliability gives us complete confidence in the product.

“And on top of that, their backup is fantastic, the response from the team is amazing, it’s always very fast.”


Products PM1DV2

Return to Top