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Oscar's Behind-The-Scenes Winners: Yamaha Digital Audio Consoles

February, 2009

Two Yamaha PM1D digital audio consoles and a PM5D were all behind-the-scenes Oscar winners.

BUENA PARK, Calif. —While Slumdog Millionaire took home eight Oscars including Best Picture on  Sunday, February 22, 2009 when the 81 st Academy Awards Ceremony was held at the Kodak Theater and broadcast live on ABC, there were three behind-the-scenes winners that evening: Yamaha digital audio consoles. PA designer and front of house engineer, Pat Baltzell, received a helping hand from ATK Audiotek supplying both a Yamaha PM1D 128-input/64-output Dual Engine system and PM5D digital console to outfit front of house. A Yamaha PM1D–128 input/64–output Dual Engine system was also used and manned by monitor mixer Michael Parker supported by monitor tech Tom Pesa.

"Digital recall consoles have increased the detail of a mix by an order of magnitude for multiple performance television shows such as The Academy Awards," states Patrick Baltzell. "In the analog days, I was always 'splitting the difference' and making compromises, knowing I would only be able to restore certain settings but not all. I now can confidently program and recall the subtlest details in an orchestra balance for each performance. The Yamaha PM1D and PM5D consoles have a proven reliability and are widely accepted by artist engineers." Baltzell was also the PA system designer and front of house mixer for the 44th Presidential Inauguration and Super Bowl XLIII. "For the Inauguration of President Obama, I used a pair of Yamaha PM5D's cascaded. Several alternative digital consoles were offered to me, but I had the most confidence in the Yamaha consoles to work outdoors for three weeks in sub zero temperatures."

Michael Parker, who was also the monitor mixer for the "B" stage at The 51st GRAMMY® Awards notes that digital mixing in general has been a major step in offering quickly accessible processing, which is very important in live television shows. "The engineer is now able to create a consistent, personal starting point for the Yamaha PM1D that is well developed from other shows. Of high importance is the layout of PM1D, which allows for quick fader accessibility on only two layers. The console offers pure digital sound that is dynamically true and clean. With a proper approach, the engineer can achieve extremely full sounding mixes which is especially important when creating in–ear mixes."

Monitor tech Tom Pesa said that individual scene recalling has become a standard on multi-act television shows. Pesa was also the monitor mixer for Super Bowl XLIII and the "A" stage at the GRAMMY Awards. "Performers and guest engineers traveling into a show expect to be able to have their own scene, fully customizable to their performance and recalled exactly for the live show," says Pesa. "Yamaha pioneered this on a large–scale console early on with PM1D." This year’s 51st Annual Grammy Awards had 24 live performances on two stages. While Parker and Pesa split the duties with two separate PM1D monitor systems at the GRAMMY Awards, Ron Reaves at front of house was responsible for mixing every act and relied solely on a single PM1D system.

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