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Nomad Covers SXSW With Yamaha and NEXO

April 11, 2017

Consoles and Speakers Cover South By Southwest

South by Southwest might be over, but Nomad Sound (Austin) is still reveling in the amount of stages and audio equipment they provided.

The main Waterloo Stage, one of the largest stages, entertained packed-to-capacity crowds with performances by Spoon, Modern English, minus the bear, and Mike Posner, featured a Yamaha RIVAGE PM10 Digital Audio Console at front house, a CL5 monitor console, six per side NEXO GEO S 1210/1230 line arrays over six RS18 Ray Subs, and seven PS15R2 monitors on deck. Two GEO S12s were used for front fills, all driven by 4x4 NXAmps.

I am very familiar with Yamaha consoles, states Joel Hume who presided over front of house at the Waterloo Stage, having mixed hundreds of shows on CL and QL consoles. Yamaha gave me a brief introduction to the RIVAGE PM10 while I was in Colorado mixing the Winter Wonder Grass Festival. I spent a few hours prepping a scene in our shop the day before the show; it was very easy to find my way around the desk once I got on it and started punching around. I felt pretty comfortable in about 20 minutes. As for features, I would say those that really stand out are the Rupert Neve Designs SILK, Yamaha plug-ins, ease of use, and of course, sound quality. The combo of the NEXO system and the PM10 sounded great, and made for an easy mixing gig.”

Hume said he had a dozen or so engineers at the Waterloo Stage over the week of SXSW, and all of them seemed to like the PM10. “The main comment I heard was that the PM10 sounds really good. It was easy to mix on because all you had to do to get in the ballpark was push the faders up.”

Brazos Hall events featured a NEXO STM ground stacked, and a Yamaha PM10 was brought in and used at the monitor position for the Austin Music Awards. The band Weezer performed as part of the hall’s events. “Brazos Hall was seamless, states Nomad engineer, Matt Trevino. Weezer production was able to achieve the fidelity they've become known for with little or no effort. The STM performed wonderfully, and the Yamaha PM10 used at The Austin Music Awards was welcomed with open arms. Just about every artist on the bill was built on an analog foundation. Not only does the Yamaha name hold high praise with the analog enthusiasts, and the Rupert Neve Designs signature on every channel, sealed the deal. For a first time user, I pushed the desk hard; the show structure revolved around an entirely new artist for each song performed, so Snapshots were key, and they never failed me. The desk was extremely familiar at first glance; perfect combination of the CL’s user interface and PM5D's surface. Truly, the best of both worlds!”

The lineup at Eno’s (formerly Emo’s Downtown and named for Jeff Eno of Spoon, curator for the showcase, included Spoon, Hamilton Leithauser, and !!! (Chk Chk Chk) just to name a few. The theater consisted of a house system including a NEXO GEO S1210 x 3 over one LS18, two GEO M620s used for front fill, three RS18 Ray Subs (LCR under stage), NUAR, and a Yamaha CL5 Digital Audio Console with a Rio3224-D Input/output box. Monitors consisted of six 45N12 line monitors, a LS18/PS15 for drum fill, NUAR, and Yamaha CL5 with a second Rio3224-D.

“GEO S12s were an easy choice for the room because of the power they offer within a relatively small physical footprint, states Stefan Bouts, Nomad Sound. Space was very tight at Eno’s, with a minimum of six acts every day, so being able to deploy a capable system without cramping the stage was the biggest hurdle. There were also some acoustic challenges in a space like that, so it's kind of a tricky deployment. The GEO boxes were a natural choice, and proved to be an excellent one. Despite the venue selling to capacity on several nights, I always had headroom, and coverage was great. I had a great time mixing, and it was awesome to be able to take such good care of our guest engineers as well. Engineers never know what kind of system they are walking into at SXSW, and it was mentioned to me more than once that our stage was a breath of fresh air in the midst of a sometimes chaotic run of shows. That’s a good feeling.”

Bouts said the Yamaha CL5 Digital Console was a natural choice as well for its versatility. “We initially loaded that desk in for a SXSW Interactive corporate activation immediately prior to Eno's. The CL5's role was to distribute a broadcast feed and house audio throughout the venue, and zone matrices over analog and digital sends. We actually used Yamaha DSR112 boxes for those zones, and they sounded great. When you have one desk that can run broadcast, a corporate event, and then flip to a rock show, never skipping a beat, it’s a no-brainer.”

Nomad’s Michael Hunter mixed five days of unofficial SXSW events in the "live room" at Arlyn Studios, a well-known South Austin recording studio that has played host to many artists since opening in 1984. The rig consisted of two flown NEXO PS15s as mains with two SoundBridge dual-18" subs and a NEXO ID24 for fill. Eight NEXO PS10s served as stage monitors, with a PS15 handling drum fill duties. Amplification was provided by one NXAMP4x4 and two NXAMP4x1s, all equipped with Dante interface cards. The front of house console was a Yamaha CL3 with networking via Dante, including all I/O between the console, stage racks (Rio3224 and Rio1608), NXAMP amplifiers, and laptops used for multi-tracking and system control/monitoring.

“I'm constantly impressed by the NEXO PS15 speaker, says Hunter. It's an extremely versatile loudspeaker with a surprising amount of headroom that performs equally well as a stage monitor or, in this case, as a main in smaller setups. This particular room was relatively small (approximately 150 capacity), so while there wasn't a ton of area to cover, getting a clear mix to blend with the very close (and often loud!) backline can be difficult to say the least. Despite these challenges, the setup performed beautifully. I was able to achieve clear and balanced mixes without having to overwhelm the room or mix at excessive levels, something that is a treat to accomplish in such a small space. A new experience I had with this event was using the NEXO PS10 for monitors. Despite their diminutive size, they provided a serious amount of SPL and performed admirably, with many positive reviews from the artists who used them. They were especially helpful for providing a higher mix count than would have been possible with a larger cabinet, given the small space available. The PS10 will be my new go-to for smaller stages!”

Having been a regular user of Yamaha digital consoles since the days of the 01V, Hunter said he feels extremely comfortable and "at home" with the familiar and efficient workflow of the Yamaha CL Series. “I spend far more time actually mixing instead of staring at a screen, Hunter adds. The premium plug-ins are great (I love the dynamic EQ), the Dante networking is solid, and the interface is uncluttered and intuitive. Most importantly, though, is that they just sound great right out of the box. With the CL and QL, I find myself using considerably less EQ and processing to get the same result that would take non-stop tweaking on other consoles. With quick changeovers and short sets, it was very important that I get a coherent mix as quickly as possible, and the CL3 made it easy.”

Nomad supported three other stages with NEXO GEO S speakers (two per side) and Yamaha QL5 Digital Console show packages that floated and used on several gigs.  “It was a pretty busy week, says owner Damon Lange, with nearly 50 shows and 150 show "days" of work over the 10-day period.”

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