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Irish ears are smiling as Dublin’s National Concert Hall installs a Yamaha PM5D

Mar, 2010

Dublin’s National Concert Hall (An Ceoláras Náisiúnta) is the premier venue in Ireland for classical concerts and also the home of the RTE National Symphony Orchestra. Recently, its long-serving analogue Yamaha PM5000 mixing console was replaced with a digital PM5D-RH, which had to be installed in just one night.

Originally constructed for the Dublin International Exhibition of 1865, the building was converted into the central building of University College Dublin (UCD) when the National University of Ireland was founded in 1908. With UCD gradually relocating to a new campus in the 1960s, part of the building was converted to a music venue and reopened as the National Concert Hall in 1981.

Having done many years of sterling service, the replacement of the PM5000 with a PM5D also saw the addition of an LS9-16 mixing console and two SB168-ES stage boxes for the hall’s John Field and Carolan Rooms, seating 250 and 100 respectively and used for small scale recitals, exhibitions, talks, receptions and corporate functions.

The rectangular, 1200-capacity main hall is a highly reverberant space, belying its original function as an exhibition venue. Dublin-based sound company Audio International has had an ongoing relationship with the National Concert Hall since it opened in 1981 and installed a major Sound Projects line array system two years ago to tame the acoustics. Following the completion of a similarly thorough public tender process, the contract was awarded to Audio International, who championed the Yamaha PM5D desk as being the best fit for the needs and requirements of the hall.

According to Pat O’Brien, Managing Director of Audio International. “Reliability and versatility were key requirements and the Yamaha console proved to be the best in both departments.”

Paul Kohlmann, the venue’s chief technician, adds. "We've been using Yamaha consoles in the main auditorium since 1984 and never lost a show due to the desk. With this kind of track record, reliability was obviously one of the main factors in deciding which console to invest in.

“During the tender process the PM5D figured prominently in many applications and the fact that the PM5D has proven itself over the years as a workhorse was one of the deciding factors.”

With an orchestral rehearsal starting at 9.30am, the PM5D had to be installed in one overnight shift. Not only that, but the start of the Christmas performance season meant it had to be a seamless transition from the PM5000 to the PM5D.

"As well as the orchestra rehearsal, we had three shows the following day, so there was absolutely no margin for error,” says Paul.

“Once it was in, we had a couple of hours training from Yamaha's Nick Pemberton at 7am whilst the orchestra set up and then off we went. It was very slick and a great team effort.”

“The changeover went very smoothly from the show the night before using the PM5000, into the first show the next day, using the PM5D, of the Snowman series of concerts, which used a full live orchestra, narrator, choir and big screen projection,” says Pat O’Brien.

“What also helped was the fact that the head amps on the PM5D-RH are the same as the PM5000, which meant we were already familiar with the sound of the system," adds Paul.

Meanwhile, in the John Field and Carolan Rooms, the new LS9 and SB168-ES stage boxes join a previously purchased M7CL to provide a highly versatile ‘mix and match’ audio specification for events of all sizes.

"We had already invested in an M7CL for the smaller spaces so, with the addition of the LS9 and stage boxes, it means we now have a very flexible and discreet set of equipment that can cover all eventualities,” says Paul.

“The user interfaces of the PM5D, M7CL and LS9 are all very similar, so it’s a straightforward task for anyone who knows one to use any of the others.”

Another advantage of the two SB168-ES is that they can be used in the main hall to augment the system, if more channel flexibility is needed for any particular event. With the portability of these parts of the system in mind, Audio International wisely supplied a field deployable, heavy duty Belden Cat5e cable, known as the CatSnake.

“The reliability of the Yamaha products and the ruggedised CatSnake means that my enjoyment of a good night’s sleep can continue unhindered!” smiles Paul.


Products PM5D-RH , SB168-ES

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