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Innovative Yamaha Solution Has CPS in Seventh Heaven


With the live music industry heading indoors for the winter, Yamaha UK has had time to reflect on the company’s most successful summer yet. As well as the huge events like Glastonbury, T In The Park and many others, Yamaha technology allows many smaller productions to take place outdoors. Christchurch-based CPS Group used the company’s equipment to provide a highly innovative audio system at a series of orchestral shows.

Unusually, southern England enjoyed what was essentially a touring festival, as CPS Group and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra spent several weekends staging seven outdoor shows at Osbourne House on the Isle of Wight, Mercedes Benz World in Weybridge, Meyrick Park in Bournemouth and Broadlands House, Romsey. All featured a Classical Prom, with the latter three venues adding a second night titled Symphonic Disco, featuring West End artists performing numbers from shows such as Mamma Mia and Saturday Night Fever.

“The project had a high channel count and very limited time for soundchecks, so we needed to be able to pre-programme the consoles for instant recall of settings at each new venue,” says CPS director and event front of house engineer Chris Caton.

The solution devised by the company’s project manager Mike Newman involved three M7CL48-ES consoles and five SB168-ES stage boxes on a pair of EtherSound networks.

“The first network had a single M7CL48-ES and three SB168-ES stage boxes, providing inputs from the string and woodwind sections of the orchestra,” Mike explains. “The second had two M7CLs on it, which acted as the main front of house and monitor consoles, with 32 inputs from two further SB168-ES.

“We then had 16 channels from the first network routed into the 16 remaining channels of the FOH console on the second network, via AES. These 16 ‘stem channels’ were then bussed out to the monitor desk over Ethersound. It allowed the main monitor engineer access to the 32 inputs from the network his desk was on and also the 16 channels of stems from the other network, without any form of decoding.”

The AES output from the FOH M7CL sent the mix directly to the PA, while 24 monitor mixes (21 on IEMS) were sent either via the Omni outputs of the monitor console, or via the EtherSound network, to the pair of stage boxes.

With a Yamaha 01V on stage to provide a submix of the percussion, the choice of an all-Yamaha system provided CPS with the desired flexibility, but also much-needed peace of mind outdoors in a British summer.

“The build quality of Yamaha products is extremely high and, being trucked from field to field for over a month, the kit needed to be pretty resilient,” says Mike. “The system also provided great flexibility for Ethersound patching. Both the stage boxes and consoles had custom patches applied so that the monitor console could pick up mix outputs from the FOH console direct, without the need for any conversion out of the Ethersound format. ”

He continues, “The amount of Word clock options available on the M7CL also meant that we could use the master FOH console to clock the entire system.”

And it wasn’t just the Yamaha hardware which helped to make the shows a great success, - the StageMix iPad app was a star of the show.

“StageMix was a fantastic aid,” says Mike. “With 24 monitor mixes and tight timescales for soundchecks, we had two monitor engineers and both could work at the same time on different mixes - one using the desk and the other on the iPad.

“All the musicians agreed that they enjoyed the best monitor sound that they’ve ever had. And the advantage of having more channels than you would have on most individual large format consoles meant that every instrument could be individually miked up, meaning a better overall mix.

Chris concludes, “The results were fantastic. A concert hall sound was achieved even though the shows took place outdoors, helped in no small part by the consistently excellent Yamaha reverbs. The support received from Yamaha UK has also always been of the highest quality.”

Fellow CPS director Richard Colegate agrees, adding “We were extremely pleased with the performance of the Yamaha equipment and with the support we received from Yamaha UK - especially Richard McLean, Wayne Powell and Dave Dine.”


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