The owning city council has always kept the venue's facilities as up-to-date as possible
UK - With its neo-Classical architecture, 6000 pipe concert organ and performances by hundreds of high profile artists since its 1913 completion, Leicester's De Montfort Hall has always been one of the Midlands most iconic concert venues. But, as well as preserving its history, the owning city council has always kept the venue's facilities as up-to-date as possible. This has included the recent installation of a Yamaha CL5 digital mixing system.

The centrepiece of De Montfort Hall is its flexible 400-2200 capacity auditorium, which can be laid out in several different ways. For a number of years the main mixing console has been a 48 channel Yamaha M7CL, but a recent major audio refit saw the installation of Dante network and a CL5 console, plus three Rio3224-D i/o units. Two are in a movable patch rack, the third fixed on stage. The equipment was supplied by SSE Audio Group.

"We had the M7CL for a long time and found that a lot of people can use it really easily," says the venue's lead technician Joel Bright. "De Montfort Hall has always been an essential stop off for rock bands and so we have a lot of the old 'analogue boys' coming through. It's always been very easy to plonk them down in front of the M7CL and get them to use it.

"Above and beyond the enhanced facilities and flexibility of the CL system, upgrading to it offered us two more major advantages. Firstly, the CL5 is also really easy to learn, so it still doesn't take long to teach it to visiting engineers, whatever type of console they are used to.

"Secondly, we have got the best return from the investment we made in the M7CL, because we haven't had to ship it out. We have added three Dante interface cards and it has slotted seamlessly into the system, where we will be using it principally as a monitor console. It means that we can enjoy many more years of use from it yet."

The venue also has a Yamaha LS9 which - again with the addition of a Dante interface card - will see it continue to play a role at De Montfort Hall for a long time to come.

"The only major challenge was integrating our existing analogue infrastructure with the Dante system to deliver the most flexible solution. But, once that was overcome, the system has been excellent," says Joel.

(Jim Evans)

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