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Yamaha provides Stable full system sound at landmark venue

Mar, 2008

Ever since it was founded in 1969 by the husband-and-wife team of John Dankworth and Cleo Laine, The Stables in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, has brought an eclectic blend of new jazz, blues, folk, rock, classical, pop, and world music to a wider audience via artist education, mentoring, recording, and promotion.

After a £4.4 million expansion that was partly funded by the UK Government’s lottery grants was completed seven years ago, The Stables acquired a new auditorium that seats 500 people on three sides of the stage. This configuration was designed to make artists feel like they are performing with the audience, as much as for themselves.

However, some aspects of the original audio system meant that the new building never quite achieved its potential.

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“Basically, the system we had in the auditorium was too loud,” says Monica Ferguson, chief executive of The Stables since 2003. “The speaker arrays had too long a throw, and although it could sound good, it only worked if you sat in the right place. There were too many pockets of poor coverage.”

Last year Yamaha held a dealer day for its musical instrument division at The Stables, bringing along a selection of its new Installation Series loudspeakers for use during the day. During the event a number of the venue’s engineers liked what they heard, so a presentation to trustees was arranged. Suddenly it wasn’t a question of what to do, but how to fund it.

“We’re not a commercial operation,” Ferguson stresses. “We’re run by a charitable trust and rely on donations. However, the Arts Council [England] got back on board with us after we proved we could make our business plan work against the odds, which gained us another portion of funding for what we call the Next Stage Project.”

It was as part of this project that Yamaha, in conjunction with installation company LMC Audio, designed a completely new audio system comprising two left-right clusters flown from a cradle above the stage, each comprising two IF2112/64 mid-high boxes and an IF2108 for down fill.

Flying from the same metalwork are a pair of side fill clusters comprising an IF2115/95 and an IF2108, while ground-stacked on the stage are a pair of IS1218 subs, a pair of IS1215 subs, and a pair of IF2115/64 mid-highs.

At the front of the stage a pair of IF2208s completes the setup with front fill provision. The enclosures are powered by a combination of Yamaha PC series amplifiers and T5n amplifiers, the latter powering the subs.

Loudspeaker processing is handled by a DME64N digital mix engine, with an M7CL mixing console at front of house.

“There has been some tweaking since the initial installation,” says Karl Christmas, marketing manager at Yamaha Commercial Audio. “It was felt that the system needed a bit more low-mid punch to reflect the rock ‘n’ roll character of the previous system. But the speakers are flexible enough to allow us to do that.”

Another major advantage of the new speaker setup is that, because the boxes are so compact, there’s now a clear view of the stage from the venue’s lighting position.

The Stables long-awaited second auditorium, Stage 2, occupies part of the original stable block that Dankworth and Laine first converted into a jazz venue. Stage 2 continues the Yamaha connection, featuring an LS9 audio console at FOH.

Stage 2 opened in September with performances by five of the young unsigned singer/songwriters that The Stables is currently mentoring.

“By the year 2030, Milton Keynes will be the 10th largest city in the United Kingdom,” says Monica Ferguson. “The Next Stage Project is all about giving those people somewhere they can discover and appreciate new music, wherever it may be from and whatever style it may be played in.”


Products M7CL , LS9 , DME64N , Installation Series
Location Milton Keynes, UK
Company LMC Audio

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