It’s an old truism that ‘if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it’. It’s also true that Yamaha digital consoles very rarely go wrong, which is one reason why Steve Weall, monitor engineer for Jungle and Crystal Fighters, has stuck with Yamaha throughout his career. He has spent much of 2015 touring the world with Jungle, a journey which included stepping up to the CL5.
It’s an old truism that ‘if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it’. It’s also true that Yamaha digital consoles very rarely go wrong, which is one reason why Steve Weall, monitor engineer for Jungle and Crystal Fighters, has stuck with Yamaha throughout his career. He has spent much of 2015 touring the world with Jungle, a journey which included stepping up to the CL5. Steve has enjoyed a progressive journey through virtually the whole range of Yamaha digital consoles, starting in 2007 when he manned an 01v96 mixing small shows and events for a local PA company.
This was followed by mixing monitors for alt-rock duo Blood Red Shoes on an LS9-16. “I used the LS9 on well over 100 shows, pushing the console’s i/o and capabilities to their limits,” he says. In 2013 Steve moved to the M7CL for monitor duties with Crystal Fighters and has also frequently used PM5Ds at fly-in shows and festivals. “The PM5D is still a very welcomed, industry-standard monitor console,” he says.
“The 24 auxes, flexibility of additional stereo inputs and cue/monitor/stereo outputs beyond the 48 inputs and 24 outputs, and its widespread availability, makes it a solid choice for shows where the bands I work with aren’t carrying production.” This year’s hectic touring schedule with Jungle has seen Steve again manning PM5Ds at festivals, but he specced the CL5 for the band’s US and European tours.
Jungle comprises seven band members using 45 inputs, with monitoring via a mixture of wired and wireless stereo IEMs, wedges, drum sub and side fills… and that’s all before the addition of the brass section for selected larger shows. “With the mix and output count surpassing the standard 16 auxes/outputs offered on many consoles with local i/o, I used PM5Ds on shows across Singapore, New Zealand and Australia.
The band were very happy with the audio quality and consistency, giving them the confidence to perform at their best despite the lack of sleep, extreme heat and the variety of hired backline that festival season throws at us,” says Stave. After the success of that run and the band’s confidence in the PM5D, Steve looked into the options of which console he could easily hire to carry that consistency through into the US tour, which included a variety of headline shows, radio promos, the two Coachella weekends and some support shows with Alt-J. “I was looking for a console that had a minimum of 48 in/24 outs, 64 channels of input processing and 24 Aux sends, was compact; quick and easy to set up; affordable to hire through reputable companies and allowed me to take a fully programmed show file straight into the first show without a rehearsal,” he says.
“We asked RAT Sound in California to provide a CL5 and two x Rio 3224-D i/o units. Despite only having used a CL5 a handful of times before, it was a no brainer.” As well as the CL5’s physical and i/o attributes, the ease of programming, Premium Rack, onboard USB recorder and recall safe are all features that Steve loves. “I use recall safe to help me achieve the kind of multiple changes in one button press that wouldn’t be possible manually. It is very simple to use and it’s easy to see exactly what you have and haven’t protected,” he says. “The channel dynamics metering on the LCD scribble strips also means I can see exactly what is going on across multiple channels at the same time while, having a fairly high channel count, I like being able to colour code the channel strips."
“Having two separate cue/monitor outputs, a feature inherited from the PM5D, is also invaluable when mixing monitors for bands who perform on a mixture of IEMs and wedges, especially as some other consoles can’t easily accommodate this,” he adds. “The amount of features and processing packed into a small, lightweight console, is also a huge bargaining tool when some festival production managers aren’t too keen on non-headline bands bringing their own consoles. We were able to use the CL5 at every show and usually made our changeover even quicker than when using house production. It also takes pressure off the house audio crew to try and deliver our complex, custom set up.” Steve and the band and were so pleased with the performance of the CL5 in America that they wanted to take one out for all of their European festival dates. David Shepherd, owner/manager of the band’s UK audio supplier BCS Audio was happy invest in a CL5 and two Rio3224-Ds to meet their needs, a commitment that Steve says he and the band were very grateful for.
Now a seasoned CL5 user, he is happy to continue using it and the PM5D as situations dictate, but he is already looking to the future. “Yamaha digital consoles were an integral part of my early career when I was learning my trade and I have relied on them ever since,” he says. “I couldn’t be more happy having chosen the CL5 console for the US tour, an opinion the band also shares. It includes many features that appeal to monitor engineers and is a solid choice for the most demanding of requirements.
“Yamaha is famous for its reliability and I have not had any hardware or software issues, which only reinforces my confidence. It’s definitely on my preferred console list for tech riders. Now I am looking forward to the opportunity of getting my hands on a RIVAGE PM10!”