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Yamaha answers the call to battle


Summer outdoor concerts, featuring classical music and fireworks, have become so prevalent in recent years that nowadays it seems every town and village has its own version. So it takes something unusual for such concerts to stand out from the crowd. One series of events that does exactly that is Battle Proms - and with a Yamaha LS9 console at the helm, audiences can be sure that the shows sound as impressive as they look.

The shows take place in the grounds of a number of stately homes throughout England and combine a classical concert and fireworks with unique military displays, including Napoleonic cavalry and infantry, a Second World War Spitfire and the ear-splitting accompaniment of around 200 cannon!

The 2009 season saw Battle Proms take in six concerts in July and August, with Yamaha Commercial Audio’s digital systems manager Nick ‘Biggles’ Pemberton mixing the shows on an LS9-16 console with an SB168-ES digital stage box.

Audio supplier for the shows was Luton-based Concert Sound Clair, who supplied an EAW/Clair Bros/Showco front of house system, together with Schoeps microphones to get the very best of the orchestral sound.

“It’s actually a very simple setup,” says Nick. “All audio processing is done within the LS9 and I have a laptop wirelessly linked to the console. The desk is positioned sidestage, but I can walk on to the stage at soundcheck and out to anywhere in the field to adjust the system.”

The wireless control system comprises a PC running Yamaha Studio Manager, which is physically connected to the LS9 via CAT5 cable and a wireless switch. An Apple Mac Book Pro is wirelessly connected to the wireless switch, controlling the PC via Remote Desktop software.

With a range of ‘warm-up’ performances before the main classical concert, the fireworks, cannon and the changeable British weather - not to mention the endless clinking of glasses and popping of champagne corks so prevalent at classical proms - Nick has to be on his toes throughout the show to ensure that the paying public enjoy the best possible sound throughout what is, inevitably, a large audience area.

“There are many variables that can affect the sound and the shows tend to attract very large audiences,” Nick confirms.

“Of course, unlike a seated theatre, people can sit anywhere within the arena and it provides a much better spectacle for them not having a mix position tent in the middle of the field. So the wireless link is vital in allowing me to walk around the arena while the show is in progress to tweak the mix as necessary.”

He concludes, "My whole approach to the system and mixing the shows is all about simplicity. The LS9 is has a tiny footprint, is easy to operate and it has the perfect compliment of features for this type of work. By using the new SB168-ES as well, I can really get the most out of the Schoeps microphones. It’s a simple and very elegant solution for these shows."


Products LS9-16 , SB168-ES

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