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Scorpions Strike Gold With Yamaha CL5s

Scorpions Strike Gold With Yamaha CL5s

Worldwide – After half a century, German hard rockers the Scorpions are still playing live all over the world and showing no signs of slowing down. Ticket demand for the 60 shows of the band’s 50th Anniversary world tour in 2015 was so great that more than 30 extra dates have (so far) been added for 2016. With Yamaha CL5 digital consoles available to rent wherever they go – even in the Faeroe Islands – the cost and logistics of touring are kept down and the band can continue taking their music to their fans, in even in the most remote territories!

Achim Schulze and Glen Schmeling – respectively the band’s front of house and monitor engineers – first used the CL5 in 2013, when the band played three MTV Unplugged shows at the open air Lycabettus Theatre in Athens. Supplied by Hamburg-based Blue Noise and supported by the company’s chief audio technician Michi Gerhards, three CL5s and three Rio3224-D i/o units were used, a system replicated for four more Unplugged shows in Germany the following year.

“We needed that set-up because there were a lot of guest musicians,” says Glen. “An acoustic set can be more challenging than a rock show and we were very pleased with the result. I really liked the open, clear sound of the CL5 in combination with the Rio3224-D – it makes in-ear monitor mixes sound great. The ability to handle complex mix set-ups using facilities like the rich recall safe features also gives the CL series an almost analogue, tactile feel, which totally convinced me.”

Glen and Achim both need a console with a small footprint but the performance of a big desk so, thanks to the success of these shows, they looked at using CL5s for the band’s 50th Anniversary world tour. They settled on a rig of a CL5 each and two Rio3224-Ds connected via Dante, meaning there was no analogue splitter involved.

“Our first priority was fail-safe, trouble-free operation, which the CLs had already proved on the acoustic shows,” Glen continues. “The second factor was that we didn’t want to change model or brand of console during the tour and CLs are easily available worldwide. This significantly cut touring costs because we didn’t have to take them with us.

“We carried guitars, some special keyboards and service gear, but all PA, video and lighting equipment was rented in 60 locations right across the globe, including China, Korea, Russia, Ukraine, USA, Canada, South America, Germany, France, Belgium, the UK, Finland and the Baltic states. The Scorpions are known to play at the craziest places; we were even able to rent CL5s and Rio3224-Ds in the Faroe Islands!”

The result has been Glen and Achim only had to take their show files on USB sticks. “We loaded the show along with the network files and were ready for virtual soundcheck within 15 minutes, using an ordinary Macbook laptop and Dante Virtual Sound Card,” says Glen.

“Achim also used the Virtual Sound Card feature to make multitrack recordings of many of the shows, a great feature of Yamaha’s deep Dante network integration.”

Having toured like this for much of 2015, both Glen and Achim are very happy with the CL5 and will be using them again in 2016.

“Choosing CLs was definitely the right decision,” says Glen. “Of course there were some minor issues with things like malfunctioning network cables and underperforming switches supplied by rental companies, but anything like this was promptly fixed by phone support from Yamaha Europe. Arthur Koll at Yamaha suggested I carry a set of four CISCO SG300/10 switches, which was easily done and solved any issues.

“Of course for the 2016 dates I will carry Yamaha’s new SWP1 range of Dante switches!”

Both engineers are looking forward to mixing shows on the new Yamaha RIVAGE PM10, but are more than happy to continue with the CL5, thanks to its exceptional facilities and global availability.

“In the beginning, to us the CL5 looked small, even a little toy-like, but we completely misjudged it. I now consider it such a great all-rounder that it ranks even higher than PM5D,” Glen concludes.

photo: Achim Schulze

3rd February 2016

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