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Yamaha’s ‘Mini’ CL1 Delivers Maxi Sound For Dutch Variety Duo

Yamaha’s ‘Mini’ CL1 Delivers Maxi Sound For Dutch Variety Duo
Yamaha’s ‘Mini’ CL1 Delivers Maxi Sound For Dutch Variety Duo

More than a decade after much-loved Dutch duo Karel de Rooij and Peter de Jong stopped performing their comedy act Mini en Maxi, public demand for their unique brand of humour was so great that they agreed to perform as Mini en Maxi again at Koningklijke Schouwburg (Royal Theatre) in Den Haag for a run of shows from April through to June. A Yamaha CL1 digital mixing system has helped to bring the act right up to date.

Established in 1969, de Rooij and de Jong enjoyed huge success with Mini en Maxi, a Silver Rose of Montreux-winning variety act of non-speaking, visual humour. However, music was always a major part of the performances, both men being accomplished musicians, as well as having extra players in the shows for musical accompaniment.

Despite having put the act aside for over ten years, the two men continued to perform together in speaking plays like Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot and The Sunshine Boys, a tragi-comedy about a quarrelling vaudeville duo trying rekindle their career. Both also coached and mentored a number of new Dutch variety performers.

Having worked with de Rooij and de Jong for over 20 years, sound designer Marc Schrader was asked to return for Now, the new Mini en Maxi production that embraces all parts of the duo’s long career, including speaking parts such as Samuel Beckett readings.

Supplied by Amsterdam-based Peak Audio, Marc chose a Yamaha CL1-based mixing system because of its compact size, exceptional sound, reliability and the onboard processing giving him all the sonic tools he needs.

“It was an interesting challenge to return to the Mini en Maxi act after so long,” says Marc. “There is a lot of improvisation within each scene and they play a wide variety of instruments, including violin, trombone, pan pipes, piano, harmonica, harmonium, ukulele, even a ‘singing’ saw.”

Complementing the CL1 is a Rio3224D i/o unit, linked via AES/EBU to the amp rack that powers several small wedge monitors on stage. Inputs are from six wireless microphone systems for the performers and various instruments, plus 24 track playback from a Macbook Pro, which is routed directly into the CL1 via Dante and triggered via MIDI.

“The CL1’s dynamic EQ is vitally important for Karel’s lip microphone, because it’s also used for the violins he plays. It’s absolutely great to have a tool like that onboard the console,” says Marc.

“We don’t have any extra musicians on these shows, so I have a small MIDI keyboard next to the CL1, on which I play some bass lines. As there is a lot of improvisation it isn’t practical to use set backing tracks, so I have had to also effectively be a ‘virtual’ off stage musician, with music software to play back audio stings, loops and samples, triggered from the console via MIDI.”

He continues: “Of course we didn’t have these kind of facilities when they last performed as Mini en Maxi, so it has been a learning process for all of us. But the show sounds really nice – the CL1 has added high quality, natural-sounding dimension that perfectly complements the performance. And the small footprint is so important for theatre productions.”

With the run at Koningklijke Schouwburg proving highly successful, Mini en Maxi are heading out on a major tour of Dutch theatres from September through to April 2016.

9th June 2015

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