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Yamaha RIVAGE PM7 Highlights Niavac’s Commitment to Excellence
UK – Established over 60 years ago, Belfast-based Niavac has grown steadily to become one of Northern Ireland’s most successful systems integrators, covering the corporate, healthcare, hospitality and education sectors. The acquisition of audio company Loft Sound in 2016 expanded Niavac’s portfolio into the live event industry, a business which is proving every bit as successful. The company has invested in a Yamaha RIVAGE PM7 digital mixing system to continue its commitment to high quality service and it has already been out on tour.
“We used Yamaha digital mixers from the beginning,” says Loft Sound’s Steve Corr, who became Niavac events manager at the time of the acquisition. “Our first mixer was an LS9 and our inventory went on to include M7CL, PM5D, all three CL series mixers and smaller analogue boards for conference work.”
The company’s flagship mixing console had been by a different manufacturer but it was becoming, as Steve says: “… a bit dated. As we expanded the live event side of the business, we also knew it was time to invest in a more rider-friendly board.”
He continues: “We looked at a number of options and RIVAGE PM7 was the obvious choice. All of our engineers indeed, most engineers, are familiar with the Yamaha control surface, so the PM7 was also the easiest transition up to a premium mixing system. The sheer amount of buses and the way they can be used, the sound quality, the amount of EQs, the Premium Rack and the way that we can insert effects and send them any way we want were also huge points in its favour.”
Yamaha’s Tom Rundle and Reece Stead spent an hour showing Steve the RIVAGE PM system at PLASA Show 2019. Niavac then purchased the system from their regular supplier, Liverpool-based Adlib Audio. The purchase included a follow-up training session for the Niavac audio team and the company’s regular freelance sound engineers, which took place in December.
“From our previous experience with Yamaha, we knew the backup would be good,” says Niavac managing director James Conlon. “We held an open day in the warehouse, where we put the RIVAGE PM7 system, a CL5 and a CL1 on a Dante network. Tom could start the training at the CL5 level and we were able to go on and have some quite advanced Dante network training.
“Both Tom and Reece were very complimentary about our facility, I think they were a little surprised at how good it is!”
One of Steve’s biggest challenges is mixing an annual tour with the Cross Border Orchestra Ireland (CBOI), a not-for-profit orchestra for 12-24-year-olds which provides performance opportunities and high quality musical training. The annual Peace Proms tour is an arena-sized production featuring the orchestra and a choir of up to 5,000 members.
The 2020 tour kicked off in January with a sell-out show at the M&S Bank Arena Liverpool, where Steve was pleased that RIVAGE PM7 allowed him to mix all the production on one surface.
“With drums, bass, guitar and keyboards in the middle of the orchestra as well as pipers, drum corps and Irish dancers, it’s a difficult show to mix, with 30-40 open microphones for the choir alone,” he says. “Previously I mixed it on a pair of CL5s, using one for the orchestra and routing a stem to the second board, where I mixed everything else. With RIVAGE PM7 and its massive buss count, I can mix multiple orchestra stems on one surface and its features makes it the ideal system for this production.
He continues: “My normal process for any big show like this is first to group all the orchestra into subsections, bounce those down into the four main sections, add gain and rough levels, then I go back and apply EQ. One thing that immediately struck me about the PM7 system was that I had to do a lot less corrective EQ, because it sounds so good out of the box. Vocals are also cutting through extremely well, it means there is very little work to make it sound the way I want, which is a big time saver as well as improving the audience mix. The client was immediately very pleased with the sound of the orchestra, even before any real sound checks got under way.”
The Peace Proms tour continues into February and March with shows in Galway, Dublin, Belfast and Waterford. Prior to the tour, the system had earned its keep mixing a range of concerts, its versatility highlighted by also being sub-hired to broadcaster RTÉ for outside broadcast work.
“We even had it on a couple of five-piece wedding bands,” smiles Steve. “Complete overkill, but it was useful for the team to use the system as much as possible. It is working incredibly well on everything we’ve put it to work on.”
He concludes: “We’re very happy with it. Everyone who has used it loves the functionality and the sound quality is outstanding. We now have a flagship system that has become an industry standard and we look forward to it having the longevity of the PM5D.”
29th January 2020
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