When the profits from a 1400-capacity, multi-room venue are used to provide opportunities for young people, it needs to maximise revenue by attracting the highest possible calibre of performers and clients. This is the case at the OPEN Youth Trust in Norwich, where a new investment in Yamaha digital mixers has ensured it has the technical specification to match its ambitions.
Founded in 2005, OPEN aims to make a difference to seven to 25 year olds through support and a wide range of free activities. Money for delivering these is raised through its multipurpose venue, based in a 50,000 ft2 former bank building, which hosts live music, conferences and other events.
The venue first opened its doors in 2009, with the original audio system based around Yamaha M7CL and LS9 digital consoles.
“It was important for us to have mixers that were flexible and visiting engineers would be happy to use if they weren’t using their own,” says OPEN technical manager David Royse. “From the beginning, we loved their usability and there were very few visiting engineers who didn’t use them.”
By late 2016 OPEN wanted to update the mixing facilities, although the M7CL and LS9 still had plenty of years’ life left in them.
“As a busy venue, it was very important to us that any new equipment would be as familiar and user-friendly as the existing system,” says David. “Being a charity, we had to explore all options and be sure that we were getting the maximum value for money. After a lot of deliberation and demos of different products, we felt that sticking with Yamaha offered the best solution.”
OPEN invested in CL5 and QL5 mixing consoles with two Rio3224-D and one Rio1608-D I/O units, plus two Dante-MY16-AUD interface cards to integrate the existing M7CL into a new Dante network. The LS9 was also retained for use on smaller events.
“None of the staff here had any previous experience using networked digital audio, but the combination of demonstrations from our supplier Rock Tech and hands-on learning meant that, within a day of testing, we felt we knew the consoles and the Dante system inside out,” says David.
“As a venue, we pride ourselves on superb acoustics and sound quality, so it was paramount that the new system lived up to our expectations. As well as the sound quality, the usability of the equipment was a major selling point. The CL5 and QL5 are equally as easy to use when running a large conference in our main hall or a multi-band gig in our club room. We are all incredibly happy with the investment and look forward to it lasting us long into the future.”