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Shopping is the new rock’n’roll as Yamaha mixes it up at Westfield London

Jan, 2009

With an audio specification that many live music venues would be envious of, the brand new Westfield London retail complex in London’s Shepherd’s Bush is substantially raising the bar when it comes to the facilities for in-house entertainment. With a Yamaha DME24N digital mix engine and M7CL mixing console at the heart of the system, at Westfield London, shopping really is the new rock’n’roll!

One of the primary facilities at Westfield London is The Atrium, a large, multi-purpose performance space, which features a highly advanced technical production system.

The key requirement of the system is versatility, so it is equipped with a comprehensive audio network for both digital EtherSound and analogue audio, with facilities panels allowing connection of a range of equipment throughout the area. This means that performances can take place in a range of different locations in the area, with staging able to be constructed at the end of the space, along the side or in the middle for ‘in the round’ performances.

The hub of the system is a Yamaha DME24N digital mix engine, which not only controls the Atrium’s audio network, but also acts as the interface between it and the audio systems throughout the rest of Westfield.

“Working very closely with Westfield technical manager Simon Jones, who oversaw the whole Atrium project, we had some fairly stringent demands which needed to be met,” says Lee Dennison, project manager for audio installer Delta Sound.

“We needed a system which can handle everything from a full production with monitoring via the M7CL console, to just a microphone on stand for an announcement, without having to use the console.

“But, the same time, we needed something that would interface with the building’s emergency system, so the production system can be automatically overridden and muted for evacuation messages. This also made complete reliability absolutely essential.

“The DME24N was the ideal solution because of its power, versatility and the way it can seamlessly integrate with the rest of a system using both digital and analogue audio, the latter being used for background music and playback.”

All audio for the Atrium is routed via the DME24N, which is connected via AES/EBU and an NAI48ES interface to the main control room. The EtherSound network connects it from there to the M7CL console, which is used to mix both front of house and monitors as required, via another 48 input / eight output NAI48ES stage rack, fitted with AD8HR and DA824 interfaces.

In the opposite direction, the DME connects via AES/EBU to the main FOH system of Lab.gruppen amps and an EM Acoustics line array, as well as the onstage monitors.

“It is a highly complex, multi-directional system,” adds Nick Pemberton, Yamaha Technical Sales Specialist.

“We had meetings with Lee and Darren at Delta Sound to discuss their ideas, how to make the system extremely versatile but also for it to be cost effective. Delta has already installed multiple DMEs in other locations, so they know its capabilities.

“As well as fulfilling all of their requirements, it also occupies just a 2U rack space and it allows a complex system to be very easily controlled, via the ICP1 Intelligent Control Panel.”

The M7CL was chosen as the mixing console for performances, partly because of its combination of excellent facilities in an extremely portable package, but also because of the range of acts and events that Westfield wants to attract. It had to be a desk which was as well-known as possible.

“The M7CL is really the standard mixing console for medium scale events,” says Lee Dennison, project manager for audio installer Delta Sound. “We needed a ‘rider friendly’ desk, it’s well known and it’s thoroughly well-proven. The stage rack also gives us exactly what we need. It ticked all the boxes.”

Nick Pemberton adds, “Most sound engineers are familiar with using Yamaha digital consoles and it is very easy to learn, making it straightforward for one of Westfield’s technical team to teach anyone who isn’t familiar with it.

“It’s a versatile desk, takes up very little room, has high quality onboard effects and the sound quality is excellent.”

Working very closely with Delta Sound, Yamaha’s highly-regarded pre- and post-sales support is, of course, very much to the fore at this most prestigious of installations. Both Nick Pemberton and DME specialist Scott Fraser have been closely involved, ensuring that the installation and programming of the equipment has been as straightforward as possible.

With the opening ceremony also having featured a pair of Yamaha PM5D consoles, shoppers at Westfield may not be aware of the Yamaha equipment as they enjoy the entertainment provided in the Atrium, but they will certainly be aware of the audio quality it is providing.


Products PM5D , M7CL-48 , DME24N

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