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Yamaha M7CL mixes with high profile politicians at Abu Dhabi conference


With the global appetite for energy continually increasing, in only its second year the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) has already established itself as a leading forum for change that is becoming more urgent by the year.

Held between 19 and 21st January 2009 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 16,820 people from 79 countries visited the WFES exhibition, while 2,634 delegates took part in a conference which featured some of the world highest profile politicians and renewable energy experts.

It was in this latter high pressure environment that a Yamaha M7CL digital mixing console was entrusted with ensuring that every word of each speaker was heard perfectly by both the delegates present and around the world via the media.

Bristol-based Revelation Event Management provided production crew for the conference and appointed Tim Headley to mix the front of house sound. Tim specified the Yamaha M7CL, which was also used for the event’s accompanying Zayed Future Energy Prize awards evening. Both were events on a literally global scale and the brief was simple - there must be no problems!

“The M7CL is my desk of choice and it’s incredibly reliable, which of course is paramount when you’re dealing with such a high profile event,” says Tim. “No expense was spared on the production, so it was a high pressure job.”

German company Neumann and Müller was the main technical supplier for the event and the company’s Middle East branch supplied the console, with programming aided by Tim Headley’s use of Yamaha Studio Manager software.

“I used Studio Manager for offline programming, then simply uploaded the settings into the console,” says Tim. “It made the whole setup very simple - plus of course, a huge bonus was that it was possible to do the Awards ceremony on the same console because it was very quick to save and recall the settings. Neumann and Müller’s staff programmed and operated the console for the Awards and the save/recall functions meant that there was never a chance of things going wrong through losing the setup for either show.”

Inputs for the conference comprised 12 tie clip microphones, a pair of lecterns, four handhelds, five stereo feeds from video playback sources plus a feed from an English-Arabic translation booth.

As well as outputs to the main front of house system, the M7CL mixed the onstage monitors and supplied audio for an overflow area in the venue’s entrance, as well as providing feeds to the translation booth and to the Bloomberg financial media server. A 30 way splitter also received an audio feed. into which the world’s press could connect for a live sound feed of the event. Flash drives were also used to record both the English spoken on stage and translated Arabic.

One of Tim’s favourite aspects of the M7CL is the intuitive user interface, which was extremely important in the highly pressured environment of a globally-important conference.

“I really like the surface layout. All channels are to hand and the console is really straightforward to use,” he says. “You have so much control over each channel.”

He continues, “The nature of conferences is that you only have a certain number of microphones, but there are many different people using them, all with different voices. One thing you cannot do is soundcheck with all the voices. You have to be able to quickly change the desk settings for using the same microphone with another person’s voice, who may be of the opposite sex to the previous user and often has completely different timbre and projection.

“I have to work really fast at the beginning of each speech so the audience can hear the speaker clearly with no feedback, rumble or howling. The audience shouldn’t know that I’m having to do that work, the speaker’s voice should sound entirely natural from the beginning. The M7CL’s simplicity of use allows me to attend to the individual tonal issues very quickly. I can assign as much EQ as I need and de-ess a voice within seconds. The visual of the EQ on the console’s screen really helps with that.”

With most of the M7CL’s processing power allocated to 31 band graphic equalisers, Tim was able to tame the acoustics of the hall and provide excellent sound for all involved in the conference.

“In the conference world, at this level there really is no room for error,” he says. “We had no issues at all. The M7CL was completely reliable and made what could have been an extremely daunting job a lot less fraught than it could have been.”


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