Northwest University Expands with Yamaha CL5 Mixing Console
From managing the audio production for weekly chapel services throughout the school year, to mixing multiple live bands to educating aspiring engineers training for careers in live sound, Greg Hearns has his hands full at the Chapel Auditorium at Northwest University.
With such a heavy and diverse workload, Hearns, the director of media services and adjunct faculty for live sound at the private Christian liberal arts college, realized the need for an audio workflow upgrade and found the right fit in the Yamaha CL5 digital mixing console.
"Our university has experienced a lot of recent growth and we're anticipating even more, so we needed to update our console," said Hearns. "We were simply running out of channels."
Hearns worked with Morgan Sound, an authorized Yamaha dealer, on the new console upgrade. In the few months since installation, the Yamaha CL5 has already risen to multiple occasions.
With multiple services daily and throughout the week, the Chapel's 500-seat auditorium is often filled with students and faculty on any given day. Chapel attendance is required for undergraduate students and faculty as part of the Assemblies of God Division of Higher Education endorsement.
In addition, up to five worship bands rotate through weekly services, with different bands performing during each service. During the Chapel's 90-minute Monday Pursuit Night, Hearns and his team may mic up and mix two electric guitars, sometimes while running two stereo amps, a full drum set, a click track, backing tracks, bass guitar, keyboard, synth, wireless mics and speaking mics. On other days, such as their Wednesday service, the team will only need to mic and mix only a few sources.
"With this console, we now have more flexibility with 72 channels, and we plan on using every single one, every week," added Hearns. "We can add more reverbs and DCA's to ramp up our overall sound. In the past, our team had to constantly re-patch due to lack of channels and that became real time consuming."
Additionally, the Chapel plans on using Dante networking technology with the CL5 to further streamline their audio workflow. The team uses a Yamaha rack-based mixing system (TF-RACK) on stage to teach students how to run on-stage and in-ear monitors, and in the past had to convert everything from Ethersound to Dante and then run it into the console. With Dante integrated in the CL5 console, Hearns and his crew can tie all the consoles together and save even more time and energy.
The University audio team previously mixed with a Yamaha M7 console, and Hearns had no intention of moving away from that. While the CL5 has found its new home in the Chapel, Hearns now uses the M7 while touring with a group called the Northwest Choralons, which consists of a 137-voice gospel choir and 6-piece live band. In addition, Hearns mixes five bands with multiple TF-RACK consoles that travel in the summer to camps.
"I like the consistency of having these added channels and this will make our workflow process more effective," said Hearns. "We also wanted to give our students the opportunity to learn and work on a console that's widely used by industry professionals and the Yamaha CL5 is easy to learn and intuitive. This will be a very smooth transition since our students have already learned on the Yamaha M7."
With the CL5 and Dante, Hearns and his crew of live sound students, interns and volunteers anticipate saving a lot of time during pre-production and can focus more on the energy of each chapel service.
"I am really excited to use the Dante technology to its fullest potential," Hearns said. "Combined with this console, our audio process will run more smoothly and efficiently."