Yamaha's QL digital consoles have become favourites with education
UK - Since launching earlier this year, Yamaha's QL digital consoles have become favourites with education, the flexible facilities and familiar ease of use ensuring that students are given the best training for a job in the entertainment industry. One of the highest profile installations is at Tonbridge School in Kent.

Established in 1553, Tonbridge is an independent day and boarding school for boys aged 13-18. The school still occupies its original site, albeit with many new buildings constructed over the centuries. One of the more recent is the EM Forster Theatre, built in 2000 and named after the famed novelist and Old Tonbridgian. When another former pupil, James Mitchell, took up the post of chief technician last year, one of his first priorities was to upgrade the 370-capacity theatre's audio system.

Drama, theatre and technical live production are key parts of the school curriculum, with a big musical staged every year alongside a Shakespeare or straight play, an annual school band competition and other productions. The theatre also acts as a receiving house for a range of external theatre groups and other live entertainment.

All technical production and stage management duties for school productions is carried out by the boys, under the supervision of James and his staff colleagues, so he was keen to give them a system which would be of genuine benefit to their education.

"We had an old analogue console with no outboard and the PA system wasn't very good, so I wanted to do a full overhaul," he says. "It was really limiting what we could do and, most importantly, what we could teach. I felt that digital was the only way forward."

Having looked at a lot of mixing consoles, James had chosen Yamaha and was ideally looking at a point somewhere between the LS9 and CL system. As luck would have it, while he was looking, the QL system was launched in precisely that place.

"I had decided on Yamaha because the consoles are an industry standard. From the teaching perspective we needed one that would set the boys up in the best possible place for a career in the real world, but it also had to meet the needs of visiting theatre groups," he says. "QL came along at exactly the right time. It was within our budget and, overall, was the best solution for what we needed."

Installed by Kent-based Lighting Logic, another reason that the QL5 was ideally suited to the school was its local i/o, meaning it could slot seamlessly into the theatre's existing infrastructure, until the funds are available to add R-series i/o units on a Dante network.

(Jim Evans)

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