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Yamaha console sextet in full effect with key Edinburgh Fringe operator

Pleasance made use of six Yamaha QL series consoles during the characteristically busy month of August.

David Davies

A small footprint, durability and Dante networking capability were among the features that endeared Yamaha’s QL series digital consoles to Edinburgh Fringe Festival multi-venue operator Pleasance, with no fewer than six of the consoles on duty throughout August.

Supplied by Orbital Sound, Pleasance is a long-term user of Yamaha mixing consoles. This year, QL1s were installed in the Queen Dome, Ace Dome, Pleasance Forth and the Cabaret Bar, QL5s in Pleasance Two and Pleasance Beyond, as well as a Yamaha CL5 in Pleasance Grand and some LS9s and 01Vs in smaller venues.

“At Pleasance we strive to provide the highest quality equipment, even in the smallest venues, which is why we put Yamaha digital consoles in all the spaces we can,” says Matthew Ferrie, Pleasance head of sound. “The mix position in some of the venues is tiny or awkward to get to, so the footprint of the console is really important. There are a lot of funny-shaped rooms where we can’t just do proscenium left/right and a couple of delays. There will maybe a L/R of some sort, then a fill here and a fill there, some delays there, other delays over there.

“Even for things like stand-up comedy, where all they need is an offstage mic, an onstage mic and a few channels of playback, the sound reinforcement is quite complex. So the fact that we can do all the time alignment and EQ within a package as small as a QL console is fantastic.”

Pleasance stages a broad spectrum of shows, including some complex theatre productions and live bands, which is where the versatility of the QL consoles comes into its own.

“We are using Dante and R-series i/o units with three of the QL consoles and the CL5; the rest of the QLs are using the desks’ local i/o. But even on those shows, the fact that I can add more i/o channels via MY series interface cards means we can have a complex show running on a very small console,” says Ferrie. “We have a live band in Ace Dome at 1am, for which we have to move a load of loudspeakers around every night, but it’s all mixed on the QL1.”

The ability to get to grips with the QL series desks quickly and easily was another crucial advantage of their selection. “To be honest I hadn’t seen one before they arrived. But the user interface was very familiar and I literally learned the consoles as we put them into each venue, set them up and trained the crews in the four days between them arriving and the first shows,” says Ferrie, who also paid tribute to the “zero problems”, rock solid reliability of the Yamaha desks.