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Yamaha helps Audio Alliance to be heard and not seen


Manchester-based sound company Audio Alliance has a solid reputation for providing high-end systems and staff to events for the UK and European corporate market. Whether it’s AGMs, shareholder meetings, awards ceremonies, seminars or fashion shows, Audio Alliance is renowned for delivering a high quality, discreet and consistently reliable service. These are all key reasons why the company puts its trust in Yamaha equipment.

One of a number of committed specialist providers in the AV industry, the company prides itself on using the very latest in production technology available at its customers’ events.

“Probably 90% of our work is in the corporate market and it’s all very high end companies,” says Audio Alliance founder and sound designer Oliver Driver.

“Clients tell us in practical terms what they need and our job is to deliver. They rely on us to come up with new and innovative solutions to situations, which can be technically quite challenging. A recent example was to provide clear uncompromised audio for 150 delegates, each with their own microphone, in a very small venue. Our client was delighted with the result.”

Corporate events put different demands on equipment than other disciplines, while the number of inputs is generally smaller than a live music event, the output side is a lot more complex. On average feeds have to be provided to around 20 or 30 different locations, for example satellite links, video trucks, foyers, translators, live feeds to webcasts and to advisers who may not be in the same room or even venue, but need to hear what’s happening.

“We provide feeds to a lot of ancillary areas that people may not be aware of,” says Oliver. “On top of that, the mixing is very specialised and control is crucial. For example, if a chairman wants to cut off a question from the floor, we need the console control surfaces to be very intuitive, allowing that to happen quickly and easily.”

A crucial aspect of the job is that the company’s equipment has to be reliable, which is a major reason why Yamaha forms such a huge part of the inventory.

“Reliability has to be absolutely 100%,” confirms Oliver. “We cannot afford for the kit not to work and there can be no excuses. I’ve never once had a Yamaha desk crash on me so, as we keep all our equipment immaculately maintained, it gives us that essential confidence.

“The feature set and controllability are also excellent,” he continues. “We have a lot of LS9s and M7CLs in our inventory, which are ideal for many of our jobs. Clients want us to be discreet and so having small format consoles with fibre optic multicores makes for considerable space-savings. Naturally we do most of the processing onboard the desks.”

But the small footprint of the M7CL and LS9 don’t mean that Audio Alliance has to compromise on quality in any way. Quite the reverse - the company has recently invested in a number of Yamaha’s SB168-ES and NIA48-ES/AD8HR stage boxes and is planning to also invest in the brand new Dante-MY16-AUD interface card.

“We're one of the first UK companies to adopt the Dante networking standard,” says Oliver. “Fitting all our Yamaha consoles with Dante cards means we will have 16 channel multitrack audio recording and playback directly from computer via a CAT5 cable, which is a great step forward for small format digital mixers.

“Investing in the SB168-ES for our LS9s and the NIA48-ES/AD8HR for our M7CLs has meant we can retire our analogue multicores, improve the audio quality and provide both space and cost savings to our clients.”

These investments have meant that, while Audio Alliance’s systems get progressively more compact, the quality and flexibility of them broadens. They also make it easier to do unusual jobs, like the recent contract to do a live relay of a hospital operation.

“It was a one-off job for Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals in London. They wanted an operation relayed from the operating theatre to teaching rooms, located in another building across the road,” says Oliver.

“We used EtherSound and around 400 metres of fibre optic to allow the surgeon in the theatre to talk to the students and vice-versa. The same fibre optic also carried live HD video signals. With the Yamaha equipment it was very easy to do and the client was over the moon. They had never seen or heard quality like it.”

A very different event was the Royal Television Society North West Awards, held at Manchester’s Hilton Hotel on 14th November, this was glitz and glamour all the way, with award winners ranging from BBC’s current affairs staple Panorama to Coronation Street, Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow and legendary scriptwriter Jimmy McGovern. Chris Wright for Constellation Worldwide oversaw the technical production, with the audio system featuring a Yamaha M7CL-48, NAI48-ES stage box and AD8HR mic pre amps.

“With such a high profile event, we needed to ensure we had total reliability and quality,” says Oliver. “The Yamaha equipment gave us a very flexible and easy to use system. Both the client and we were really happy with the result. What more can you ask for?”


Products SB168-ES , DANTE-MY16-AUD , M7CL-48

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